Shocked Serena Williams vows to reassert power
World No 1 shrugs off third round defeat at hands of Frenchwoman Cornet in earliest Wimbledon exit since 2005, insisting it's not the end
Defiant Serena Williams insists her shock Wimbledon exit will not herald the end of her reign as the dominant force in the women's game.
Williams crashed to her earliest exit at Wimbledon for nine years as the world No 1 suffered a shock 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss against French 25th seed Alize Cornet in the third round.
Top seed Williams, a five-time Wimbledon champion, had reached at least the last 16 in each of her previous seven visits to the All England Club, but Cornet fought back from a set down to end that sequence in two hours and four minutes of gripping drama on Court One.
It was the shell-shocked 32-year-old's earliest Wimbledon exit since her loss to Jill Craybas at the same stage in 2005.
Serena could have no complaints about an embarrassing defeat, which continued a disappointing campaign for the 17-time grand slam champion, who has failed to get beyond the fourth round at any of the three majors so far this year.
Serena arrived in south-west London desperate to make amends for her shock first round exit against Garbine Muguruza at the French Open last month, a result which followed her Australian Open fourth round defeat against Ana Ivanovic.
But she is convinced her poor form in 2014 is not a sign that she is finally on the way down after over a decade as the sport's pre-eminent power.
"In Australia, I just couldn't play. And Paris I played really bad. Here I actually thought I played better. I came into the tournament in better form," Serena said.
"I thought I was doing pretty decent. I'm going to have to watch this film and see what I can do better and what went wrong.
"It's OK. Sometimes it happens. You work hard, maybe it's not for today, maybe it's for tomorrow. I just got to keep going.
"It's happened a few times. But it's fun. It kind of gives you a mission to work on, gives you goals to work towards to kind of see what you can do to do better."
Serena started the tournament in fine form, brushing aside Anna Tatishvili and Chanelle Scheepers in dominant style.
But she faced an inspired Cornet, who played the match of her life to reach the last 16 at a grand slam for the second time, buoyed by having defeated the American in Dubai earlier this year.
And, rather than point the finger at her own failings in the latest in a growing list of curiously lethargic displays, Williams claimed her problems are due to facing a series of once in a lifetime performances.
"Everyone in general plays the match of their lives against me," Serena said. "So I just have to always, every time I step on the court, be a hundred times better. If I'm not, then I'm in trouble.
"Just because you lose a match doesn't mean you stop. You just got to keep going. It's never easy being in my shoes. But you got to be ready. I know that I can do better."
While Williams tries to regroup, Cornet was trying to come back down to earth before she faces Canada's Eugenie Bouchard in the fourth round today.
"I'm just calming down," said Cornet, who sealed her win by kissing the grass court. "It's very symbolic because it means now I love the grass and I didn't before.
"If somebody would have told me a couple years ago that I would be in second week here in Wimbledon, beating Serena, I wouldn't have believed it."