WIMBLEDON, England - It was noisy out there yesterday. Venus Williams and Karolina Sprem were playing with their arms, legs and heart - but most of all, their lungs.
They were playing with all their screeching, grunting, growling might, hitting forehands so hard they expelled air in yelps. Sometimes the play was exhilarating, sometimes sloppy, but it was fast and frantic and, all of a sudden, too confusing for chair umpire Ted Watts.
Sprem's raucous 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) second-round upset of Williams - a two-time Wimbledon champion and the No. 3 seed - was punctuated by a rookie mistake by Watts. During the fourth point in the second-set tiebreaker, he apparently quit paying attention.
With Williams leading 2-1, Sprem served a ball out and a linesman yelled, "fault!" Williams took a whack and returned the ball. Sprem hit it back as Williams walked to the service line. The crowd applauded and Watts announced "Two-all."
Sprem seemed confused and served from the same court. Williams hit a winning return and Watts announced, "3-2, Williams."
Williams and Sprem looked at Watts and at each other. Neither complained, though.
"Sometimes I do lose track of the score," Williams said. "I don't question a lot of calls. I just play and do my best at that point."
Sprem said, "I was confused. I was 100 percent in the match. I just want to go to the next side. I didn't think about the rest."
It had been a breathtaking day of nonstop tennis. After losing Wednesday's entire schedule to rain, there were only two brief interruptions, and one of them saved a sentimental favorite.
With his shoulder aching and his temper bubbling, Goran Ivanisevic summoned up magic with his serve and conquered Italy's Filippo Volandri, 4-6, 7-6 (8), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, and moved into a third-round match against another former Wimbledon champion, Lleyton Hewitt.
Ivanisevic, 32, who hasn't played here since winning the title in 2001, was down two sets to one when rain brought him into the locker room.
"A little rain came at the right time," Ivanisevic said. " ... After I came back, that was a different me, I think, on the court. Sun was shining. I started to play much better."
Defending champion Roger Federer swept into the third round without breathing hard, defeating Alejandro Falla of Colombia, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0, and second-seeded Andy Roddick finally won his first-round match, beating Wang Yeu-tzuoo of Taiwan, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. Third-seeded Guillermo Coria also won his first-round match, on his fourth day of trying, hitting only two balls yesterday to finally send home Wesley Moodie, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3.
So much was happening - Lindsay Davenport sneaking off with a 6-0, 1-0 victory over injured opponent Kristina Brandi on one court; Jennifer Capriati looking snappy in a 6-2, 6-2 win over Claudine Schaul on another; second-seeded Anastasia Myskina barely avoiding defeat with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 win over Aniko Kapros - it was nearly impossible to keep up with the action, even with a scorecard.
Overshadowed was the fact that Williams hasn't won a Grand Slam title since the 2001 U.S. Open and that this was her earliest dismissal from Wimbledon in seven years.
"It's not a whole barrel of laughs," Williams said. "But I've had some great results in this tournament since 2000. I would have loved to have done better. But it's impossible to be a winner or finalist every year. She played some good tennis."
NOTE: Martina Navratilova was aggressive to the end. The last point of her Wimbledon singles career was a charging forehand volley. She yelped in dismay when the ball landed in the net instead of over it.
But when she walked off Court 3 at dusk, a second-round loser, Navratilova bowed all around and smiled. Navratilova, 47 and playing Wimbledon singles for the first time in a decade, lost to 19-year-old Gisela Dulko of Argentina, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Dulko eliminated Navratilova in straight sets in the first round of the French Open.
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