World No. 1 Serena Williams, thought unstoppable at this year’s Wimbledon, joined the large number of upset statistics Monday when she was improbably excused from the All England Club 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 by No. 23 seed Sabine Lisicki.
Cloaking herself in a calm yet angry demeanor after losing the first set, the world No. 1 won nine of the next 10 games before Lisicki upped her game trailing 0-3 in the third, and Serena became a little more defensive. Lisicki closed it out on her second match point to end the American’s 34-match winning streak in 2013.
“I went out on the court to win the match,” Lisicki said. “That’s my goal. That’s what I do every time I go out on the court. Of course it gave me a little more energy knowing she won the French Open and I’ve beaten the French Open champion three times in a row in my last three appearances. “It was a good omen. They always happen to be on the side of the draw I’m on.”
Serena rued getting conservative in the third set rather than finishing the match up 3-0.
“I didn’t play the big points well enough,” Williams said. “I definitely feel like I could have gone for it a little more on some of the shots. I didn’t do what I do best. I think I had a little hesitation today.”
Top 10 winners through to the quarterfinals Monday were No. 4 Aggie Radwanska coming from a set down to beat grasscourt specialist Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; No. 6 Li Na strumming No. 11 Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-0; and No. 8 Petra Kvitova handling No. 19-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6(5), 6-3.
Radwanska and Na, the highest seeded players left in the draw, will next meet each other.
“Before the match my husband was trying to hit a lot of slice to me,” Li said after her blowout of Vinci. “It’s just totally different. I wasn’t feeling very good. And I knew the match would be tough today because I knew how good her slice would be on grass. But I was surprised how I was hitting the ball today — it was totally different than my last match. Last match I was so tired; today went really well on the court.”
The former champ Kvitova will next meet Flipkens.
“I lost to her the last time we played in Miami, so I hope I can play better tennis than I did in that match,” Kvitova said. “We’ve never played on grass, which will be quite difficult against her, as she’s playing quite well. Otherwise she wouldn’t be in the quarterfinals. I have to be prepared for it.”
Other seeded winners into the quarters were No. 15 Marion Bartoli who routed unseeded Italian Karin Knapp 6-2, 6-3; No. 17 Sloane Stephens who became the last American standing when she ground down unseeded Puerto Rican Monica Puig 4-6, 7-5, 6-1; and No. 20 Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium who defeated unseeded Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta 7-6(2), 6-3.
“Monica was playing really well,” Stephens said. “She was going for all of her shots. It’s tough when you’re playing someone who is just going for everything. It’s kind of hard to get into a rhythm. But I just hung in there and tried to do my best. Once I got my opportunity in the third set, I just went for it…I’m just really learning how to compete better out there.”
The lone unseeded player into the quarters Monday was Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, who ended British women’s hopes with a 7-6(6), 7-5 victory over Laura Robson.
Kanepi will next meet Lisicki.
“I think my serve and attacking game are working well for me, which is important on grass, and I feel comfortable on the return too,” Kanepi said. “If I’m playing well and I’m on a roll, I enjoy the surface but overall I have to say it’s my third favorite after clay and hardcourts.”
Among the Top 8 seeds in action on the men’s side Monday, all prevailed over lower or unseeded players as No. 1 Novak Djokovic had a relatively easy time with No. 13 Tommy Haas 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4); No. 2 Andy Murray handled No. 20 Mikhail Youzhny in straights 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-1; No. 4 David Ferrer came from a set down to break the will of unseeded Ivan Dodig 6-7(3) 7-6(6), 6-1, 6-1; No. 7 Tomas Berdych powered past unseeded Bernard Tomic 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, and No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro rolled past No. 23 Andreas Seppi 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-3.
The No. 1 Djokovic will next meet Berdych.
“I lost to him the only time we played on grass back in 2010,” Djokovic said. “I think that I am playing really, really good tennis at this moment. Maybe even better than 2011, when I won this tournament. I am confident on the court and trying to maintain this level. I hope I will succeed.”
Del Potro continues to navigate the draw despite knee and ankle problems.
“My knee is almost fine,” Delpo said. “Two days ago, I twisted my ankle and hyper-extended my knee, but I’ve been icing it and relaxing and the doctors are helping me to recover…The ankle is good and the knee is not good. But I’m allowed to play. It still bothers me in the left outside of the knee. But the doctor says it�s nothing too dangerous, and that’s positive. I couldn’t extend the knee 100 percent. And the tapes for today helped me to be careful in some movements. But it is not enough. I have one day and a half until my next match, and I will do all the treatments to see if I can be better.”
A Polish man will reach the semifinals at a Grand Slam for the first time ever as No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz and unseeded Lukas Kubot both advanced Monday, and will meet each other in the quarterfinals.
Janowicz defeated Austrian Jurgen Melzer in five sets 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, while Kubot likewise outlasted Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in five 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Another unseeded player into the quarters was Spaniard Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, who defeated Dutchman “They Killed” Kenny de Schepper 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Murray will next have to deal with Hot Sauce.
“Verdasco is a very, very good tennis player,” Murray said. “He’s extremely dangerous when he’s on his game. I haven’t played a left-hander the whole year, which I think is pretty amazing six months into the year. So I’ll try and get a lefty in to serve at me tomorrow.”
Scheduled for Tuesday at Wimbledon are (4) Agnieszka Radwanska vs. (6) Na Li, (8) Petra Kvitova vs. (20) Kirsten Flipkens, (23) Sabine Lisicki vs. Kaia Kanepi, and (17) Sloane Stephens vs. (15) Marion Bartoli.
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