Venus Williams knocked out of Wimbledon

Venus Williams' bid for a sixth Wimbledon title came to a crashing halt in the quarter-finals today as Tsvetana Pironkova registered a major upset on Court One.

The unseeded Bulgarian crushed one of the pre-tournament favourites as she forced four breaks of the Williams serve to run out a comfortable 6-2 6-3 winner in one hour and 25 minutes.



The result continues the best ever performance by 22-year-old Pironkova at a grand slam, and she now progresses to Thursday's semi-finals.

Less than 24 hours after the men's world number 82, Yen-Hsun Lu, stunned last year's beaten finalist Andy Roddick, today it was the turn of the 82nd-ranked player in the women's game to create waves.

And like Lu, Pironkova admitted her run at SW19 was beyond her wildest expectations.



"Honestly it seems like a dream," she said.



"Coming here I never thought I would play that well and reach that part of the tournament.



"I'm extremely happy.



"I think I played pretty well today, I'm very happy with my game and she also did well, but I have one win over her and I actually thought that I could win."



Williams, the second seed, has been painfully aware of the threat posed by the young Bulgarian since Pironkova stunned her in the first round of the Australian Open in 2006.



And Pironkova, who has yet to win a title on the WTA Tour, again underlined her prowess by forcing two breaks of service on her way to taking the opener.



Pironkova, who beat 2007 finalist Marion Bartoli in the fourth round, won a remarkable point at 3-2 to prevent Williams holding serve, firing back a smash she had no right to get to before forcing the American into an error as the pair traded blows at the net.



A rattled Williams followed that by serving a double fault to concede break point, which Pironkova secured as her opponent fired wide.



It was difficult to tell which player was ranked 80 places above the other at the start of the seventh game, with Pironkova's precise groundstrokes working Williams around the court.



Two double faults at the start of the next game underlined the extent to which Williams' cage had been rattled, and when she slammed an easy forehand well wide, Pironkova had three set points.



A narrow Hawk-Eye call saved the first of those, while a second went begging when Pironkova returned long before deuce came up when the Bulgarian netted wastefully.



A fourth break point soon arrived though and this time Pironkova made no mistake with a firm winner down the line.



Errors were flowing from Williams at the start of the second set - the 30-year-old twice plunging the ball into the net with easy-looking volleys - although she did just enough to hold.



Williams' capitulation in the opener marked the first time she had conceded a set at this year's Championships, and she appeared determined to avoid a repeat as she managed an early break.



But Pironkova responded with a break-back point in the next, the 22-year-old again showing first-class agility as she chased down a drop shot before aiming a precise lob to the back of the court.



And she got the set back on serve when Williams netted, much to the delight of a Court One crowd who braced themselves for an upset.



Unforced errors remained a feature of Williams' performance as she hit her fourth and fifth double faults early in the sixth game.



A 10th break point soon followed for Pironkova and the writing was on the wall for Williams when she fired wide to fall 4-2 behind.



A lucky net cord secured a 5-2 lead in the next as the gods began to smile on Pironkova, and although Williams saved two match points in the next, the Bulgarian closed it out on her service game before dropping to the ground and soaking up the adulation of the appreciative Court One crowd.



BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen