Wimbledon 2013: Serena Williams tips Sloane Stephens to replace her as All England Club champion

 

Serena Williams dressed it up as a perfectly predictable result but her Wimbledon exit today caused huge shockwaves at the All England Club and left the title up for grabs.

The world number one has backed Sloane Stephens to replace her as All England Club champion but all eight women left in the draw will now fancy their chances of glory on Saturday.

After winning 34 matches on the trot, few predicted the defending champion's exit at the hands of Sabine Lisicki this afternoon.

Priced by several bookmakers as a 10/1 long shot to win the last-16 clash, the German world number 24 won a thrilling Centre Court duel 6-2 1-6 6-4.

"Wow - blown away by Lisicki," nine-time champion Martina Navratilova wrote on Twitter.

It was the first time Williams had tasted defeat since playing Marion Bartoli in Dubai in February.

But the 31-year-old said: "It's not a shock. She plays really good on grass.

"She has a massive, massive serve so going in there you have to know that it's definitely not going to be an easy match playing her at Wimbledon, especially on Centre Court.

"It's definitely not a shock. I just need to do better."

Lisicki's reaction - she shed a tear in her post-match interview - would have showed Williams, had she been watching, how unexpected the result was.

For the 31-year-old five-time winner of the Wimbledon singles title, this was a day where she flunked her lines, and that was her assessment of the job too.

"I think I had opportunities in the first set. I mean, I had so many opportunities. I made so many errors. I hit so many balls in the net," Williams said.

"She definitely played a super aggressive game. When you're playing and you have absolutely nothing to lose, it's like you can really play with so much freedom and so loose. That's how she played today."

During a terrific career, there have also been a few rough years for Williams and she became frustrated when asked if this was her toughest exit to date.

"No," Williams responded sharply. "I feel like I had an extremely tough draw today.

"I feel like of all the round-of-16 matches, I probably had the toughest one. I don't know if you've heard, but she's a great grass-court player.

"You know, c'mon guys, let's get with it. She's excellent. She's not a pushover. She's a great player.

"To play this match in any Wimbledon on the fourth round, it's not an easy draw. So it's definitely difficult."

Williams' exit would have been privately welcomed by every other player with an eye on the Venus Rosewater Dish.

Lisicki, Petra Kvitova and Li Na are now among the favourites to take the crown, although Williams' choice is compatriot Stephens.

The only American left in the Wimbledon singles draw, the 20-year-old overcame Monica Puig 4-6 7-5 6-1 today and has been tipped for a big future.

"I think Sloane has a really good chance of winning," Williams said. "She has a great draw."

There has been suggestion of some needle between the pair, but it was not apparent as Williams threw her support behind the Floridian.

"I think she can take it," Williams said. "It would be really nice to see her win."

PA

News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence