No All-Williams final after Venus upset at Wimbledon

Published 1:54 am Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WIMBLEDON, England — Venus Williams would shank a shot — and she shanked many on this day — then turn toward the Court 1 player guest box where her parents were seated and put her palms up or shrug her shoulders, as if to indicate, “I don’t know what’s happening here.”

The five-time Wimbledon champion was out of sorts, out of answers and out of the tournament in the quarterfinals, stunned 6-2, 6-3 Tuesday by the lowest-ranked woman left, No. 82 Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, meaning there won’t be an all-Williams title match at the All England Club this year.

Williams double-faulted five times and totaled 29 unforced errors, 23 more than her solid-if-not-spectacular opponent.

“Didn’t do myself any favors,” said the No. 2-seeded Williams, whose younger sister, No. 1 Serena, won Tuesday to reach the semifinals. “I missed all shots today: forehand, volley, backhand. You know, if there was a shot to miss, I think I missed it.”

It was the older Williams’ 77th career singles match at the All England Club — she participated in eight of the past 10 finals, losing to her sister three times, including in 2009 — and never had she won so few games. The only time she’s been beaten at Wimbledon by someone ranked lower than Pironkova was all the way back on June 28, 1997, when the American lost her tournament debut to No. 91 Magdalena Grzybowska.

Really, the only factor preventing this result from truly being considered one of the biggest upsets in tennis history is that Pironkova actually managed to do this before: She defeated Williams at the 2006 Australian Open.