Out of sorts and out of answers, defending champion Serena Williams is out of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Shanking shots of all sorts, including five — yes, five! — double-faults in one game alone, Williams lost to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, 6-4, 6-3, in the third round in a real shocker Tuesday, ending the No. 1-seeded American’s bid to become the first tennis player to collect a pair of singles golds.
Against an unheralded opponent who at times couldn’t seem to miss, Williams had problems right from the start, when she got broken to fall behind 2-1 with a badly missed overhead into the net.
That set a pattern.
By match’s end, Svitolina had won 63 points, but merely nine came via clean winners of her own doing. The others came thanks to Williams’ 37 unforced errors and 17 forced errors.
After winning golds in singles and doubles at the 2012 London Olympics, Williams heads home from Brazil with nothing. She and her older sister Venus, who sat in the stands Tuesday, lost in the first round of doubles — their first defeat in the Olympics after going 15-0 with three golds.
The 20th-ranked Svitolina, meanwhile, never before played in the Olympics and only once has been to a major quarterfinal. She also entered the night 0-4 against Williams, the owner of 22 Grand Slam singles championships.