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.



Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
news
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick