Five-time champion Venus Williams of the United States has lost 6-2 6-3 to Bulgarian 32nd seed Tsvetana Pironkova in the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Williams struggled to find her range on the way to being broken twice in a one-sided opening set on Centre Court, losing it 6-2.
Moments earlier Serena crashed out of Wimbledon with a straight-sets defeat to Marion Bartoli, and Venus needed a significant improvement to avoid a similar fate against Bulgarian 32nd seed Pironkova.
Williams’ serve came under sustained attack in the sixth game and she crumbled after conceding a second break point.
Poor stroke selection from the American, making her 15th appearance at Wimbledon, allowed Pironkova to produce a stinging passing shot that was returned into the net.
Pironkova was trading on equal terms from the baseline and made light work of her next service game to move 5-2 ahead.
Hoping to find refuge on her own serve, Williams instead fell to pieces as she conceded three break points, the third of which she directed into the net.
2 WIMBLEDON V Williams
The problems continued to mount early in the second set for Williams, who was being cheered on by all-time great Billie Jean King, as Pironkova broke once more.
The net emerged as the American’s chief tormentor as it came to Pironkova’s rescue on two occasions, and the Wimbledon exit beckoned for the 23rd seed.
Athletic and composed, Pironkova looked in complete control until a glimmer of hope appeared for Williams in the fifth with a vicious backhand establishing break point.
The game was proving a key battleground in the set and Williams rose to the occasion, wasting the first chance to break but capitalising on a second by outgunning her opponent from the baseline.
The respite was short-lived, however, and Williams only had herself to blame as she made a series of errors to enable Pironkova to break back immediately.
Two big serves and a sensational backhand passing shot dug Pironkova out of trouble in the seventh.
Three match points followed in the ninth and Pironkova excelled during the second, firing a lightning serve and forehand winner to close out the set 6-3 and the match.