Bartoli puts out holder Serena; Wozniacki felled

Bartoli puts out holder Serena; Wozniacki felled

Venus too loses on day of huge upsets

The 29-year-old, bidding to defy sporting logic by retaining her title after returning just before the tournament from 11 months out, lost 6-3, 7-6 to Bartoli but Andy Murray crushed Richard Gasquet to keep alive hopes of a first British men's singles champion for 75 years.

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki remains a world number one without a grand slam title after she was beaten 6-1, 7-6, 7-5 by Dominika Cibulkova in a gripping fourth-round match
Five-time champion Venus Williams followed her sister Serena out when she was outplayed by Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova for the second year in a row.

The American, seeded only 23rd after spending most of the year out injured, failed to fire in the fourth-round clash and was hammered 6-2, 6-3 on Centre Court.

Pironkova, the 32nd seed, will now face Petra Kvitova with both players bidding for semifinal places again after their surprise runs last year.

Tomic on fire

Australia's Bernard Tomic became the youngest man to reach the quarterfinals since Boris Becker in 1986 as he followed up his thumping of fifth seed Robin Soderling with an equally straightforward win over Belgium's Xavier Malisse.

With all eight men's and women's last-16 matches slated on the schedule, unique in the grand slams, the All England Club was abuzz from the moments the gates swung open on a sweltering day in leafy south west London.

Those without Centre Court tickets dashed straight for a prime spot next to the giant screen on Henman Hill to cheer home favourite Murray to a comprehensive 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 defeat of unpredictable Frenchman Gasquet.

The recently married Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge did have the best seats in the house and would have given their royal seal of approval to the world number four's most impressive display this year.

Like the planes stacking up to land at nearby Heathrow Airport, seven grand slam champions were looking for clearance into the quarterfinals on day seven of the tournament.

Maria Sharapova was the first of that elite bunch to venture out as the mercury shot into the high 80s Fahrenheit on the cauldron-like Court Two. After early problems against unorthodox Chinese 20th seed Pen Shari she prevailed 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarters of the tournament that launched her career into orbit seven years ago for the first time since 2006.

Two players hoping to cash in on Serena's defeat and claim a first grand slam title, Czech Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka, also impressed.

Eighth seed Kvitova, a semifinalist last year, crushed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-0, 6-2 and fourth seed Azarenka, whose wailing again drowned out the rumble of low flying jets, overwhelmed Russia's Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-2 to seal a clash with Tamira Paszek.

Germany's Sabine Lisicki is still on course to become the first wildcard to win the women's singles after a 7-6, 6-1 defeat of Petra Cetkovska and will next face Bartoli.

With her fidgety dad and coach Walter watching on Court One, after Bartoli banished him during her third-round win, the 2007 runner-up produced a high-energy performance to end Serena's hopes of a third consecutive title.

There was enough nervous tension on court to string a racket though 26-year-old Bartoli continually carved out chances but failed to take them. Williams, the 13-time Grand Slam champion, was moved around relentlessly but still saved five set points before ceding the opener.

Bartoli, bouncing around on the baseline and neurotically practising her swings between points, broke serve to lead 6-5 in the second set as the 29-year-old Williams made a clumsy attempt at a backhand smash.

An ace brought up two match points in the next game. Scrapping like an alley-cat Williams saved those and then a third after a sensational rally in which she pounded away at her French opponent.

With close friend and soul diva Beyonce watching on, it seemed Williams would turn the match around in the tie-break but Bartoli was having none of it. She earned another match point at 6-5 which Williams saved with an ace but when she had her fifth chance on her own serve she held her nerve to send down an unplayable delivery. "Beating Serena is a dream come true, she is one of the greatest champions of the open era," Bartoli said.

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