July 1, 2013

Serena loses to Lisicki in Wimbledon stunner

The Associated Press

LONDON — Serena Williams joined a growing list of marquee names eliminated early at this wild and unpredictable Wimbledon.

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Sabine Lisicki of Germany celebrates after beating Serena Williams of the United States in a Women's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Monday, July 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

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Serena Williams of the United States reacts during her Women's singles match against Sabine Lisicki of Germany at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Monday, July 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

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The defending champion and five-time Wimbledon winner failed to close out a see-saw third set Monday, dropping the last four games to Sabine Lisicki of Germany and losing 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 in the fourth round. The result ended Williams' career-best 34-match winning streak.

It was the latest in a string of improbable exits to jolt the tournament, with defending champion Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal knocked out in the first three days along with Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka.

"I probably couldn't be more disappointed," Williams said. "I think I may have backed off of a success. I was playing something successful. I didn't continue that path. The result didn't go the way it could have gone had I continued to play the way I did in the second set."

Her loss left top-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Andy Murray as the only pre-tournament favorites still standing.

Those two stayed on course for a meeting in the final by winning in straight sets on Centre Court. Djokovic ousted German veteran Tommy Haas after Murray beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia. Neither player has dropped a set en route to the quarters.

Williams hadn't either before this match. But after dropping the first against Lisicki, she won nine straight games to lead 3-0 in the third. The players then traded breaks to give Williams a 4-2 lead, but the American couldn't win another game despite having four break points at 4-3.

Lisicki converted her second match point with a forehand winner.

"I'm still shaking," Lisicki said in a post-match interview, covering her face with her hands to wipe away tears. "I'm just so happy."

Williams said her serve — usually her main weapon — let her down in the third set.

"I felt that I was on the verge of winning," she said. "At that point I just was physically unable to hold serve. ... You have to be ready and willing to hold your serve. I wasn't willing or able, probably didn't even want to hold my serve today."

Lisicki reached the semifinals at the All England Club in 2011 but this will rank as her biggest victory at the grass-court Grand Slam. She has eliminated the reigning French Open champion the last four times she played Wimbledon, having missed the tournament in 2010. She ousted Sharapova in the fourth round last year.

Djokovic reached his 17th straight Grand Slam quarterfinal by beating Haas 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4). He failed to serve out the match at 5-3 in the third and wasted a match point in the next game before closing out the tiebreaker with a forehand winner on his fourth match point.

"I think that I'm playing really, really good tennis at this moment," Djokovic said. "Maybe even better than back in 2011 when I won this tournament."

Djokovic moved on to No. 7 Tomas Berdych, who reached his first Wimbledon quarterfinal since he was the runner-up in 2010 by beating Bernard Tomic 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4. Berdych beat Djokovic in the semifinals that year.

Djokovic's quarterfinal streak is the third longest behind Roger Federer's 36 and Jimmy Connors' 27. Federer's string ended with last week's loss in the second round.

Murray, facing the ever-increasing pressure to become the first British man since 1936 to win Wimbledon, was in trouble in the second set. He trailed 5-2 against Youzhny, who was a 2012 Wimbledon quarterfinalist, but broke back when the Russian served for the set at 5-4. Then, down 5-3 in the tiebreaker, Murray took the set's last four points. He broke immediately in the third, and cruised from there to set up a match with Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Serena Williams returns to Sabine Lisicki of Germany during a women's singles match at Wimbledon on Monday. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

AP

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at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Monday, July 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

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Sabine Lisicki of Germany after beating Serena Williams of the United States in a Women's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Monday, July 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)



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