Venus Williams reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the 11th time this afternoon but she did not have things all her own way against Australian Jarmila Groth.
The five-time champion broke once to take the first set, then had to break twice to stay in the second before coming through a close tie-break to win 6-4 7-6 (7/5).
In the last eight the second seed will face Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, who beat Marion Bartoli today to prevent a rematch of the 2007 final.
Williams was 10 minutes late arriving at Court Two and it quickly became apparent she would not be making a swift getaway either.
Groth is ranked 92nd in the world but has impressed in her run at the All England Club, with scalps including rising American star Melanie Oudin in round two.
The 23-year-old’s serve was proving particularly effective early on, while her forehand was also causing trouble for Williams.
Groth came under real pressure for the first time when serving to stay in the set at 5-4, as a double fault and a lucky net cord helped Williams to deuce.
A thumping forehand took her to set point and, although the Australian got a second chance when a line call was over-ruled, she promptly dumped a volley in the net.
Groth was warned at the start of the second set for swearing after a line judge alerted the umpire but she quickly put that behind her by breaking Williams for the first time in the opening game.
The five-time champion’s serve began to miss its mark and Groth took full advantage, claiming the crucial point with a pinpoint forehand that Williams could only dump into the net.
The 23-year-old was born in Slovakia but moved Down Under to be with partner Sam Groth before being awarded Australian citizenship after their marriage last year.
Williams battled to try to retrieve her break but Groth was simply too solid, hitting winners off both wings and continuing to keep her opponent at arm’s length with her serve.
But serving to level the match was always going to be a big test and in the end it was one Groth could not pass as she sent a backhand long.
That brought Williams back to 5-5 but she found herself a break down again straight away as Groth took her second chance. Again the Australian could not serve it out, though, and the set went into a tie-break.
Williams raced into a 4-0 lead, but Groth was not finished, battling back to 4-4.
However, the American set up a match point, and it was another error from Groth that proved her undoing at the vital moment as a netted forehand gave the world number two victory.