Serena Williams upset, knocked out of Wimbledon by Sabine Lisicki

WIMBLEDON, Britain -- Sabine Lisicki of Germany pulled the greatest upset in a tournament filled with surprises, rallying to defeat top-ranked defending champion Serena Williams on Monday in the round of 16 at Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

Lisicki, ranked 23rdin the world, rallied in the third set to pull out a 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 victory that ended Williams' 34-match winning streak.


When it was over and she had capitalized on her second match point, Lisicki lay face-down on the famed grass court, the magnitude of her accomplishment just beginning to sink in. She had not beaten Williams in their two previous meetings.

“I’m still shaking,” Lisicki told the BBC in a post-match interview.

Williams’ loss meant that there will be no repeat winner in the men’s or women’s singles. Defending men’s champion Roger Federer last week lost in the second round.

Williams had been the strong favorite to win here as she pursued a 17th Grand Slam title, but she got into many long rallies and long games with Lisicki, whose aggressiveness and shot placement seemed to catch Williams by surprise.

Williams committed many unforced errors at crucial times, but she did have some good stretches, including winning the final six games of the second set and the first three games of the third set.

Lisicki, 23, didn't fall apart despite Williams' apparent return to good form. Lisicki held service in the fourth game and broke Williams in the fifth. Williams broke back, but Lisicki broke her again for a 4-3 lead and for a 5-4 lead.

The crowd gave both players a standing ovation as they left the court.

Lisicki now heads for a quarterfinal match against Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, who eliminated British darling Laura Robson, 7-6, 7-5.

[Updated at 8:16 a.m.: Afterward, Williams said she had gotten the toughest draw in the round of 16, crediting Lisicki's strong serving and overall grass-court skills. But she also found room for improvement in her own game.

"I think that I didn't play the big points good enough," Williams said. "I didn't do what I do best. I had a little hesitation."

That was particularly true in the final set.

"I definitely feel I could have went for it a little more. I could have made some shots," she said. "Sabine played very well. She always plays well at Wimbledon."

Her tightness on the big points was something she couldn't explain.

"I don't know. I definitely had my opportunities and I didn't take them. Maybe I backed off a little bit at some points. If I'm going to be successful, I'm never going to do it backing off."

Williams also insisted her loss wasn't a cataclysmic event in tennis.

"It's not a shock. She plays really good on grass. She has a massive, massive serve," Williams said of Lisicki, who lives in Bradenton, Fla. "It's not a shock. I just need to do better."]

[Updated at 10:11 a.m.:

"I just was fighting for every single point no matter what was happening out there," Lisicki said after defeating the reigning French Open champion for the fourth time in five years.

"Serena is a very good player. That's why she's No. 1 in the world. I'm just glad I could pull off the win today."

Lisicki also said she never doubted herself even though Williams was heavily favored.

"I just feel very comfortable here," Lisicki said. "I went on the court to win the match."]