Fourth-seed Serena Williams was blasted out of Wimbledon on Saturday by a little-known American in the biggest shock of the tennis tournament so far…
Sulky and erratic, an out-of-sorts Williams struggled with her fitness and seemed on the verge of tears as she racked up 34 unforced errors and converted only a third of her break point opportunities as she battled for focus and control of her emotions.
Williams, who on Thursday nominated herself the woman with the best chance of winning the tournament because of her mental toughness, looked as though she would rather be somewhere else as American Jill Craybas took apart her game.
Craybas, the unseeded outsider, won the game 6-3, 7-6, 7-4 and booked herself a place in round four for the first time.
Williams was in tears at her post-match media conference, saying she felt "horrible".
"I’m just used to winning these kind of matches and it’s hard when you go out there and you can’t make a shot when you’re so used to doing it.
"I just didn’t do anything right … I think I was better off staying home, to be honest," added Williams.
The result means the highly anticipated fourth-round clash between the Williams sisters will now be played out between Venus Williams and Craybas.
Relegated to show court two because of British hope Andrew Murray’s marathon centre-court clash with David Nalbandian, Williams found it difficult at first to settle into the low-key surroundings.
Craybas, who was contemptuously swept aside in the opening round here in 2003 by Williams on her way to a second Wimbledon trophy, found herself leading by 4-2 after just 20 minutes.
A frustrated Williams grew increasingly agitated, shouting at herself to "come on, it’s not that hard" when she racked up her 13th unforced error in the seventh game.
Grunting angrily with each shot, she managed to break Craybas back in the same game however, when her attacking shot from the net was followed by an unforced error from her opponent.
But Williams could do little to salvage the set, as Craybas held on grimly to take it in 42 minutes.
Within another hour, Craybas, who had before this tournament just a solitary third-round appearance to show for almost a decade of grand slam competition, had beaten the woman who would not yield even a set in their previous meetings.
The 30-year-old broke the Australian Open champion in the first game of the second, much to the disgust of an erratic Williams, who reacted by flinging her racket to the ground.
Williams, who is playing with a fractured bone in her ankle, was clearly below her best and appeared to struggle with her fitness.
She broke back immediately however and held her serve but berated herself loudly for her poor performance and appeared on the verge of tears as she sipped her water at the break.
The pair traded breaks again and the set was eventually forced into a tie-break, where Craybas leapt to a 2-5 lead.
Although Williams clawed back two more points, the unfashionable Craybas held her nerve to serve out the match, ended on another unforced error from the 23-year-old.