Wimbledon 2014: Serena Williams close to tears as she exits SW19 in astonishing scenes on Court One

The American was barely able to bounce the ball before she and her sister retired from their doubles match

Wimbledon

The ever-controversial Williams sisters left Wimbledon for another year last night after some of the most astonishing scenes witnessed here this or any other year.

Serena Williams, who was clearly in no fit state to start their doubles match on Court One, recorded eight successive faults in her only service game, of which six barely reached the net and two were lobbed way beyond the baseline.

At one stage the umpire came down from his chair to ask if she felt able to continue and at the end of the game, which left the sisters – five times Wimbledon doubles champions – trailing 3-0 to Kristina Barrois of Germany and Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele, they retired. Serena had barely touched the ball in the two previous games and seemed to be having difficulty in even bouncing it.

Video: Serena Williams retires from match

She had appeared shaky in the warm-up and had lengthy treatment before the start of the match, having her blood pressure taken and looking close to tears. She clearly did not wish to let her sister down, but the outcome was farcical. Ironically, the younger sister had said after losing her singles match to Alizé Cornet on Saturday: “I suck right now at doubles. I told Venus the other day I don’t even want to play because I’m so bad right now.” As it turned out, that would have been a wiser decision.

Serena Williams fails to find the answers as she crashes out of Wimbledon on Saturday Serena Williams fails to find the answers as she crashes out of Wimbledon on Saturday In a statement later, Serena said she was “heartbroken”, adding: “I really wanted to compete, but this bug just got the best of me.”

Serena’s elimination from the singles, soon after Li Na’s, left Simona Halep the highest remaining seed, and her match yesterday was as easy as anyone has the right to expect in the fourth round of a Grand Slam. The women’s singles have had more bagels than a New York deli and Halep recorded another in her demolition of Zarina Diyas  6-3, 6-0 in only 57 minutes.

Diyas, the world No 72, had done well in putting out the 15th seed Carla Suarez Navarro in three sets and then Vera Zvonareva. The 20-year-old has a decent forehand  but lacked the all-round game to trouble Halep, who broke her early in both sets.

 

Lucie Safarova, seeded only 23rd, became the first into the last four, winning an equally one-sided encounter – that might have delivered another bagel – as the Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who had knocked out Agnieszka Radwanska, lost 6-3, 6-1.

Sabine Lisicki had Yaroslava Shvedova to thank for the gift of surrender courtesy of a dumped backhand into the net, sealing a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory. This was a match that conformed to the old paradigm: it doesn’t matter how you get there, only that you do. The relentless unloading of bazookas from the baseline is no advert for the game.

Indeed, this heavy-hitting almost cost Lisicki the match. Controversially, she called a medical time-out at break-point down in the third game. Her love affair with Wimbledon now rests in the healing hands of medical staff working to deliver her to the line in one piece against Halep. “We’ll see what the physios say. Hopefully, they will do some miracles,” Lisicki  said. “I hit a ball and it just went in my back.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
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.

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible