Serena Williams joined a growing list of marquee names eliminated early this year at Wimbledon. The defending champion and five-time Wimbledon winner failed to close out a see-saw third set Monday, dropping the last four games to Sabine Lisicki of Germany.
"I probably couldn't be more disappointed," Williams said. "I think I may have backed off of a success. I was playing something successful. I didn't continue that path. The result didn't go the way it could have gone had I continued to play the way I did in the second set."
After dropping the first set, Williams looked to be cruising, winning nine straight games to take a 3-0 lead in the third. The players then traded breaks to give Williams a 4-2 lead, but the American couldn't win another game despite having four break points at 4-3. Those would have given her a chance to serve for the match. Instead, Lisicki held, broke again, and converted her second match point with a forehand winner.
"I'm still shaking," Lisicki said in a post-match interview, covering her face with her hands to wipe away tears. "I'm just so happy."
Williams said her serve let her down in the third set. "I felt that I was on the verge of winning," she said. "At that point I just was physically unable to hold serve. ... You have to be ready and willing to hold your serve. I wasn't willing or able, probably didn't even want to hold my serve today."
The lost ended Williams’ career-best 34-match winning streak.