German Sabine Lisicki sent another seismic shockwave through Wimbledon yesterday when she dumped five-time champion Serena Williams out of the tournament with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 fourth-round upset.
Top seed Williams, the overwhelming favourite for the title with her chief rivals already out, appeared to have turned the match around when she led 3-0 in the decider but Lisicki, the 2011 semi-finalist, rallied with a gripping fightback on Centre Court.
Lisicki refused to capitulate and after breaking to lead 5-4, the resilient 23rd seed secured victory on her second match point to set up a last-eight meeting with Estonian Kaia Kanepi.
"I am still shaking, I am so happy," Lisicki told the BBC as Williams followed second and third seeds Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova out of a championship that is confounding expectations.
"Serena played a fantastic match, she is such a tough opponent. It is an amazing feeling to win this match. This is such a special place for me and the crowd were brilliant to me. I gave it everything I had, I fought for every single point to try to win it somehow. I'm not thinking about the next match yet."
Lisicki's win ended Williams' win streak at 34 matches.
"She played a super aggressive game. When you're playing and you have absolutely nothing to lose, it's like you can really play with so much freedom and so loose. That's how she played today," Williams said. "I didn't play the big points good enough. I didn't do what I do best. I think I had a little hesitation, and that explains it."
Chinese sixth seed Li Na raced into the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 6-0 demolition of Italian 11th seed Roberta Vinci.
In contrast to her roller-coaster two previous matches, which both went to three sets, the 2011 French Open champion took just 55 minutes to get past her fourth-round opponent.
In reaching the last eight, Li has matched her Wimbledon best, having made the quarter-finals in 2006 and 2010.
The 31-year-old will face Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 winner over Bulgarian world number 72 Tsvetana Pironkova, today for a place in the semi-finals.
Li said she had been practising returning slices with Jiang Shan, her husband and hitting partner, with her coach Carlos Rodriguez - who mentored former world number one Justine Henin - taking it all in.
"I was so nervous really because in the warm-up, my husband, he tried to hit slice. It's totally different men and women. I was feeling so bad," Li said.
"Before I came to the court, Carlos was talking to me because he already saw what happened. I was like, 'I can't catch the ball, he was hitting so much slice, I couldn't catch it at the right time'. But I think he was happy.
"For his job, he makes me unhappy; I think it's his job. I thought the match would be so tough because I knew how good she would slice on the grass court.
"I was surprised how was I hitting on the court," said Li.
"It was totally different from the last match. The last match I was feeling like it's not terrible, but I was feeling so tired.
"I was ready for running for another three hours again."
Britain's dreams of a first woman in the quarter-finals for 29 years were shattered when Laura Robson bowed out in tears after falling to Estonia's Kaia Kanepi. Though roared on in a closely fought match in the 11,000-seater Court One bowl, Kanepi just had the edge in the crucial points to win their fourth round clash 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.
Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer reached the quarter-finals for the second successive year on Monday while Jerzy Janowicz and Lukasz Kubot set-up an all-Polish showdown for a place in the last four.
Reuters, Agence France-Presse