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Serena Williams faces up to shocking truth

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USA's Serena Williams during her match against Germany's Sabine Lisicki during day seven of the Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 1, 2013.

USA's Serena Williams during her match against Germany's Sabine Lisicki during day seven of the Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 1, 2013.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 01:  Sabine Lisicki of Germany celebrates match point during her Ladies' Singles fourth round match against Serena Williams of United States of America on day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 1, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 01: Sabine Lisicki of Germany celebrates match point during her Ladies' Singles fourth round match against Serena Williams of United States of America on day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 1, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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USA's Serena Williams during her match against Germany's Sabine Lisicki during day seven of the Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 1, 2013.

Serena Williams said this defeat was "not a shock", but her conqueror knew better. Having sent a forehand past the defending champion to secure the biggest win of her life Sabine Lisicki fell to the floor and lay prostrate and overwhelmed.

As she climbed to her feet the tears welled up while a smile the width of the Rhine lit up her face.

This was the fourth Wimbledon at which Lisicki has downed the newly crowned champion of the French Open, but defeating Li Na, Svetlana Kuznetsova and even Maria Sharapova is one thing; beating the Queen of SW19 is another level and she knew it.

Lisicki is seeded 23 but, as Williams noted, on grass she should be ranked far higher.

The 23-year-old reached the semi-finals here in 2011, also reaching the women's doubles final, and indicated after this win she felt she was capable of going all the way.

"I went into the match believing I could win," she said, adding this was not just because she viewed the French Open link as a "good omen". "I've played four very good matches and I think I play better each match," she said.

Estonia's unseeded Kaia Kanepi, who dispatched Laura Robson yesterday, is Lisicki's quarter-final opponent, with either Agnieszka Radwanska or Li, the two highest seeds remaining in the women's draw at four and six respectively, waiting in the semi.

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German-born of Polish parents, Lisicki lives in Florida, training at Nick Bollettieri's academy.

With a serve as fast as Williams' (both averaged 109mph on their first serve) and a similarly powerful groun–strokes Lisicki traded blows and winners with the American.

Taking the champion by surprise, Lisicki won the first set 6-2 on the back of eight successive points on Williams' serve that secured back-to-back breaks.

The champion's response was to blow Lisicki away to take the second set 6-1 in 27 cyclonic minutes.

Normal service seemed to have been resumed, especially when Williams (below) marched to a 4-2 third-set lead, but Lisicki stunned her and an enraptured Centre Court crowd by winning the next four games. On her first match point she overhit a forehand.

Lisicki then served a double-fault to hand Williams a break point for 5-5.

It seemed the pressure had got to her, but the German sent down an ace, then served out for a notable victory. In the immediate aftermath Lisicki could barely control herself.

"It is an amazing feeling to win this match," she said. "I love this court so much. It is such a special place. I gave it everything. I fought for every single point."

Later she admitted "I am very emotional, on and off the court." The challenge now is controlling that emotion."

Kim Clisters tweeted yesterday, echoing similar comments by Ivan Lendl about Sergiy Stakhovsky, who lost the round after putting out Roger Federer: "So many players think tournament is done when beating top player! #refocus #no celebrations yet."

Told of this Lisicki said: "I'm already focused for tomorrow."

To emphasise that, Lisicki and her mixed doubles partner, Bahamian Mark Knowles, pulled out of their match last night, conceding a walkover.

For Williams, there is not even the consolation of another ladies' doubles title – with sister Venus absent she is not competing.

This was her first defeat in 35 matches and she said: "For me any loss is extremely tough to overcome. I didn't play what I usually do best, I had opportunities and didn't take them.

"I didn't play the big points good enough. She played a super-aggressive game."


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