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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
Williams title defence over
American Venus Williams is defeated in Athens
American Venus Williams' hopes of defending her Olympic tennis title were ended by Mary Pierce as she served up a shock defeat in the third round.

The unseeded Pierce wrapped up a comfortable 6-4 6-4 victory over the world number 12 in the Athens heat.

Williams, who is already out of the doubles competition, could find no answer to the determined Pierce.

"Obviously I would have liked to have done better," said Williams. "But she played well and served great."

Pierce's victory means the United States will not be represented in the women's singles in Greece.

Now, veteran Martina Navratilova and Lisa Raymond carry American hopes as they advanced to the last eight of the women's doubles.

Navratilova, who is playing in her first Olympics, and Raymond advanced after Amelie Mauresmo and Pierce withdrew because Mauresmo said she had a skin allergy.

Pierce will face world number one Justine Henin-Hardenne in the quarter-finals of the singles.

The Belgian, who has spent most of the year struggling because of a virus, took just 45 minutes to beat Australian Nicole Pratt 6-1 6-0.

American 16th seed Chanda Rubin also fell to a French opponent as she was defeated by second seed Mauresmo.

Mauresmo saw off Rubin 6-3 6-1 and now plays Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarter-finals.

The fifth seed advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Switzerland's Patty Schnyder.

Australia's Alicia Molik also ended Raymond's challenge with an efficient 6-4 6-4 victory.

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