Former champions Venus Williams and Nadia Petrova and last year’s runner-up Vera Zvonareva were ousted in the third round of the Family Circle Cup on Thursday.
No. 5-ranked Williams, who won the title the first time she entered in 2004, was outplayed 6-4, 7-6 (5) on the green clay by 63rd-ranked Sabine Lisicki, the lowest-ranked woman Williams has lost to in 13 months.
“I wasn’t expecting that and, you know, I’ll try to come back next year and win,” Williams said. “I made a few errors at the wrong time and she played some great shots.”
Sixth-ranked Zvonareva retired after injuring her ankle two games into her match with Virginie Razzano of France.
Petrova, ranked 10th, fell to Melinda Czink of Hungary 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. The 2006 champion served 13 aces but was broken four times in Czink’s best win.
The other seeds were safe, as top-seed Elena Dementieva reached the quarter-finals along with fifth-seed Caroline Wozniacki, sixth-seed Marion Bartoli and seventh-seed Dominika Cibulkova.
Lisicki broke Williams when the American was serving for the second set at 5-4, then won on her third match point in the tiebreaker.
At the end of the match, Lisicki buried her face in her towel and was asked later whether she was laughing, crying or simply wiping her face.
“Everything together. It was just pure emotions,” she said, calling it one of the biggest wins of her career.
Razzano and Zvonareva were 1-1 in the first set when Zvonareva tumbled while chasing down a ball along the baseline.
She cried in pain and lay on the court for about five minutes while clutching her right ankle. She was helped to her seat on court where the ankle was wrapped and ice applied. A golf cart then took her out of the stadium.
Dementieva put away Varvara Lepchenko of the US 6-1, 6-1, and Wozniacki, coming off her first title of the year at Ponte Vedra Beach last week, beat 10th-seeded Peng Shuai of China 6-3, 6-4..
Bartoli dispatched American qualifier Melanie Oudin 6-4, 6-1 to line up Czink next, and Cibulkova was a 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-3 winner over Anastasia Rodionova for the second time in two weeks.
Elena Vesnina of Russia edged Viktoriya Kutuzova of Ukraine 7-6 (4), 7-5.
AP, BARCELONA, SPAIN
Fifth-seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain advanced to the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open on Thursday by beating France’s Emilie Loit 6-2, 7-5.
Suarez Navarro is one of only two seeds remaining in the outdoor clay competition. Sixth-seeded Maria Kirilenko of Russia, the defending champion, reached the last eight on Wednesday.
No. 7 Sara Errani of Italy was eliminated by the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-3 on a rain-affected day.
Italy’s Francesca Schiavone also advanced by beating Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3.
■MONTE CARLO MASTERS
AFP, MONTE CARLO
Roger Federer was free to enjoy the rest of his honeymoon on Thursday after being knocked out of the rain-lashed Monte Carlo Masters by compatriot, and Olympic gold medal-winning partner, Stanislas Wawrinka.
World No. 2 Federer, without a title this year and desperately short of form and confidence, went down 6-4, 7-5 to the 13th seed in the third round.
It was Wawrinka’s first victory in three attempts over the 13-time Grand Slam title winner who had lost the last three finals here to Rafael Nadal.
“My forehand was hurting me in the beginning. I was making a few too many errors,” said a subdued Federer after a day when start of play had been delayed by five hours because of heavy rain.