- Wimbledon, Day Seven
Serena stunned by brilliant Lisicki
Defending champion Serena Williams was knocked out of Wimbledon by Sabine Lisicki on Monday, after an outstanding fourth round meeting between the pair on Centre Court.
Williams, the defending champion, dropped the first set against the German grass court specialist - Lisicki's best grand slam performances have all come at the All England Club - but appeared to have righted the ship when she broke at the start of the third to continue a run of eight games won in a row.
Lisicki, however, would not be demoralised - coming from behind twice in a dramatic conclusion to eventually serve out a richly deserved 6-2 1-6 6-4 victory.
"I'm so happy," Lisicki, struggling to hold back tears, said as she left Centre Court. "Serena played a fantastic match, she's such a touch opponent and it was just such an amazing feeling.
"The crowd were just amazing. I love this court so much."
Lisicki will face Kaia Kanepi for a place in the semi-finals, after the Estonian defeated home favourite Laura Robson in two hard-fought sets to progress.
Coming in on a 34-match unbeaten streak, few expected Williams to have many difficulties overcoming Lisicki, despite the German's affinity for both grass and Centre Court at SW19. But it was clear almost from the outset that Lisicki was going to be no pushover, breaking her American opponent twice in succession to claim the first set with remarkable ease.
In truth Williams was not at her best during that passage of play, showing the same combination of frustration and slight lethargy that clouded the start of her third round match with Kimiko Date-Krumm. She upped her level in the second set, however, finding her range a bit more with her groundstrokes and so turning the tables - running away with the stanza to set up a deciding set.
From there most observers could have been forgiven for only anticipating one winner, especially after two ludicrous net cords (both shots barely clambering over the net) handed her an almost undeserved break of serve having been 0-40 down.
It felt like the turning point in the contest, instead it only served to inspire a truly dramatic final phase. Lisicki - seeing that luck redistributed in her favour with a similar net cord at 1-3 - quickly broke back, before Williams steered the momentum in her favour with another reverse.
Her nose was in front, but suddenly Lisicki found an extra gear. Serving like a demon - mixing second serve aces with booming deliveries out wide - she nullified Williams' famously dominant returns, and moved her around the court with such deftness with her groundstrokes that she engineered numerous openings.
In barely believable circumstances, the 23-year-old broke Williams twice in succession, before serving out from deuce to clinch the biggest victory of her career.
"She played unbelievable tennis," Lisicki concluded. "I gave her everything I had. I just hung in there and tried to win it somehow."
Lisicki will now face Laura Robson's conqueror Kaia Kanepi in the quarter-finals.
Elsewhere, former champion Petra Kvitova - perhaps the standout name still in the bottom half of the draw - is into the last eight after seeing off Carla Suarez Navarro. 7-6 6-3.
The eighth seed had the edge on her Spanish opponent early but a late break of serve forced her to go through a tiebreak to claim the first set - although the second set went more smoothly for the Czech.
She will now play Kirsten Flipkens, who reached the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the first time in her career with an impressive 7-6(2) 6-3 victory over Flavia Pennetta.
One American is into the last eight - Sloane Stephens coming from behind to beat Monica Puig 4-6 7-5 6-1. She will face 15th seed Marion Bartoli, who brushed aside Karin Knapp 6-2 6-3.
Na Li is also through, the Chinese demolished Roberta Vinci 6-2 6-0 and will now meet fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who came from a set down to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 4-6 6-3 6-3.