Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Serena's Gone; Brace-Wearing Williams Limps through Loss to Petrova in Quarterfinals

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Serena's Gone; Brace-Wearing Williams Limps through Loss to Petrova in Quarterfinals

Article excerpt

Byline: ALEX ABRAMS, The Times-Union

Serena Williams walked to center court with a black brace covering her surgically repaired left knee.

She left 90 minutes later with a noticeable limp and an exit from the quarterfinals of the Bausch & Lomb Championships.

Williams, the tournament's No. 2 seed, battled knee problems while never being able to establish her dominance Friday night in a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Russia's Nadia Petrova.

"I blew out one of my wheels today," Williams said. "I was only working with three wheels, so to say, as opposed to four."

It was Williams' first loss since returning from an eight-month layoff following surgery in August to repair a partial tear of the quadriceps in her left knee. Prior to Friday, she had only dropped one set in her comeback.

Williams didn't show any signs that the knee was causing her any problems while overpowering Karolina Sprem 6-1, 7-5 in Thursday's third round.

But Williams admitted she felt a slight pain while stretching before Friday's quarterfinal match. And she appeared to be losing a step throughout the first set as her shots went wayward and she repeatedly came up short while chasing after Petrova's crushing forehand winners.

"I don't think I really had too much movement. I was walking fairly fast," Williams said jokingly.

It was Petrova's first win over Williams in four matches, and earned the 21-year-old Russian a meeting with No. 4-ranked Lindsay Davenport at approximately 2 p.m. today.

"I knew I was going to have a tough match, and I really focused on my serve because I knew I could get free points with it," said Petrova, who consistently flustered the hampered Williams with 100-plus mph serves.

Williams started walking with a slight limp and fell to the court when her knee buckled early in the second set.

After losing the first game of the set, she called for a trainer to look at her left knee. A medical timeout soon followed as the trainer massaged and taped Williams' knee. …

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