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Venus and Roddick both dumped out

Olympic champion Venus Williams is dumped out by Mary Pierce of France
• Olympics 2004: Special report 

ATHENS, Greece -- France's Mary Pierce knocked defending Olympic champion Venus Williams out of the women's singles in Athens with a 6-4 6-4 upset victory in the third round.

Sixth seed Williams, already out of the doubles which she also won four years ago in Sydney with sister Serena, had no answer to her unseeded but revitalised French opponent.

Williams's shock defeat meant the United States had no players left in the women's singles after Lisa Raymond and Chanda Rubin also lost.

"She played well, served well," was all Williams would say a day after her defeat. "That's sport. Obviously I would have liked to do better."

Pierce, the 29-year-old 2000 French Open champion, will play Belgian top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne after she beat Australian Nicole Pratt 6-1 6-0 to reach the quarter-finals.

On a bad day for the U.S. Andy Roddick's hopes of Olympic gold disappeared when he lost 6-4 6-4 to Fernando Gonzalez in a third round upset.

Gonzalez outplayed the second seed, who was the hot favourite for gold following the shock defeat of Swiss world number one Roger Federer.

The Chilean 16th seed quickly broke Roddick's usually fearsome serve on centre court to take the first set and broke again for 5-4 in second before holding his nerve to seal a superb victory.

Gonzalez now plays French eighth seed Sebastien Grosjean, who recovered to defeat Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-7 6-4 6-0

"You have to tip your hat to Gonzalez first of all. Normally when you play Fernando there's more valleys along with those peaks. You know he's going to hit some amazing shots but sometimes it will get away from him a little bit.

"Today he just played great all the way through."

Roddick denied he put defending his US Open title above winning an Olympic gold medal. "I'm gutted right now," he said. "Some guys don't care very much. I care a lot. It's not the biggest thing in tennis but the biggest in sports."

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