Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams dipped from winning the opening set to losing her third round clash with sixth seed Petra Kvitova in Centre Court on Friday.
The 264th ranked Czech dealt with the American’s serves to seal a 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 win, through to the fourth round, where she has booked a duel with China’s Shuai Peng.
The 24-year-old struck 48 winners to Williams’ 25, after his serves troubled the five-time champion.
“It was a tough battle,” said 2011 champion, Kvitova. “I know that Venus can play unbelievably on the grass. I am just happy that I am through.
“When I lost the first set I was down mentally but I knew I could come back and then anything can happen in the third. I am feeling well, I love to play on grass. I have great memories of Wimbledon, but every match is tough.”
Williams clinched the first set after Kvitova gave up three break and set points, fluffing a backhand wide to concede the set.
But after forcing the second set into a tie-break, Kvitova raced ahead of Venus, who at set point double-faulted on her own serves to surrender the set.
The Czech looked more and more terrific on her service games and after racing ahead early into the decider she avoided the dangers of offering another break point at 4-4, slipping a fine top-spinning angled winner past Williams.
She then turned her anger on Venus’ serves to close out the contest which lasted for two-and-a-half hour.