Top seed Serena Williams has been knocked out of 2013 Wimbledon championship by Germany’s Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round.
The American saw her career-best winning run of 34 matches and hopes of a sixth Wimbledon title come to a shock end as the 23rd seed Lisicki won the last 16 encounter 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.
The women’s singles defending champion now joins the list of leading names like Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer who had lost out early in the tournament.
Lisicki now moves on to the quarter-finals for the fourth time and in each of those Wimbledon campaigns she has beaten the French Open champion.
The 23-year-old from Troisdorf fought off four break points and took advantage of a rash of Williams unforced errors as she broke twice to win the opening set.
Williams, 31, was not about to give up the contest on a silver platter and she roared back in the second, winning 14 points in a row at one stage and not making a single unforced error as she levelled, winning the set 6-1.
Two net cords helped the American to an early break in the decider and it was turning into a procession for her when she racked up her ninth straight game to move 3-0 clear.
Lisicki’s record on grass, based around the second-biggest serve in women’s tennis meant she had always looked among the biggest challenge for Williams and she didn’t yield.
The German got the better of three breaks in a row as she fought back from 4-2 down.
Williams had played well for over an hour, but at 4-4 in the final set she found herself facing break points and, stretched to the limit, the champion could not control a smash, which flew over the baseline.
One more serve game was required by Lisicki but was pecked back to 30-30, blasted long on her first match point and double-faulted to offer up a break point for Williams.
When a second chance to clinch the win of her life resurfaced, Lisicki could only rely on her serve. She played a fearless rally, pounding away from the baseline until Williams could no longer cover the gaps and had to watch as a forehand flew past her.