CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Serena Williams was eliminated from the Family Circle Cup on Tuesday, stunned 6-4, 6-4 by Jana Cepelova of Slovakia in the second round.
“I’m really just dead. I need some weeks off where I don’t think about tennis and kind of regroup,” Williams said after the match. “I’ve had a long couple of years, and I’m really a little fatigued.”
Williams, the top seed and defending champion in Charleston, was looking for her second straight title and her third this year after winning a record seventh Sony Open last weekend.
But with only 18 minutes gone in the match, she was down 0-5 on the green clay at the Family Circle Tennis Center. Williams rallied, winning four straight games surrendering only six points and it looked like Cepelova’s lead would be short-lived. But the 20-year-old Cepelova came back and, holding serve in the final game, was able to win the set.
Williams said later she feels emotionally and physically spent.
“Definitely a little bit of both. But again, I think Jana played really well for her today,” she said. “The good thing is I know I can play a lot better. So it’s always really positive for me.”
Cepelova’s run out to a quick lead silenced the crowd, which was in the defending champion’s corner
Williams’ sister, Venus, also struggled on Tuesday, but edged Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-3, 0-6, 7-5.
“I’ve actually been pretty sick lately — I’ve been having like a bug,” Venus Williams she said after the match that lasted 2 hours, 15 minutes. “You just have to play your way into the week and just continue to feel better.”
Venus Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion has battled injuries and Sjogren’s syndrome, a fatigue-causing autoimmune disease, during the past two years.
Also Tuesday, No 9. seed Lucie Safarova of Czechoslovakia defeated Virginie Razzano of France 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
American Vania King beat Julia Glushko 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, and Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia defeated American wild card Shelby Rogers 7-5, 7-5. No. 13 Elena Vesnina of Russia cruised past Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia, 6-2, 6-1, and Shuai Zhang of China outlasted Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (0).
In other matches, No. 14 seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany eliminated Lesia Tsurenko of the Ukraine, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-1, and Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino defeated countrywoman Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-2. Peng Shuai of China defeated Caroline Garcia of France 6-2, 6-3.
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, seeded No. 6, dispatched qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia, 6-2, 6-0 while No. 7 seed Samantha Stosur of Australia eliminated Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 5-7, 6-1. Teliana Pereira of Brazil ousted eighth-seeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (0). Marina Erakovic of New Zealand defeated Nadia Petrova of Russia, who received a wild card for the tournament, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.