SABINE Lisicki collapsed to her knees in disbelief, a stunned Centre Court crowd gasped in shock and Wimbledon ushered another big-name through the exit door – yet vanquished Serena Williams was the least surprised.
More used to mowing down opponents on the All-England club’s manicured lawns with five singles titles to her name, the dominant player in women’s tennis was left to explain how she was ambushed by German Sabine Lisicki.
The 23rd seed took the biggest scalp of her career when she edged a gripping fourth-round encounter 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals. With second and third seeds Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova heading home in the first week, talk that Williams, the American top seed, had another grand slam title at her mercy proved wide of the mark.
“I’ve said this, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but she’s a great grasscourt player,” Williams told a news conference.
“You know, c’mon, guys, let’s get with it. She’s excellent. She’s not a pushover. She’s a great player.”
Lisicki enjoyed a run to the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2011 before losing to runner-up Maria Sharapova and her powerful serve put Williams under the kind of pressure she rarely gets in the early rounds of a tournament.
“It’s not a shock. Her ranking has no effect on what she should be,” Williams added. “She should be ranked higher. Especially on grass she just has, you know, a super, super game to play well. I’ll just have to go back to the drawing boards and figure out a way how to win this match the next time.”
Williams’ exit leaves fourth seed Agnieska Radwanska as the highest ranked player left in the last eight.