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Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 14:39 UK

Wimbledon 2010: Tsvetana Pironkova stuns Venus Williams

Wimbledon Championships
Venue: All England Club, London Date: 21 June - 4 July
Live on BBC One and Two, HD, Red Button, BBC Sport website (UK only), Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra; live text commentary online and on mobile phones. Full details of BBC coverage

Tsvetana Pironkova

Venus Williams crashes out to world number 82 Tsvetana Pironkova

By Ian Westbrook
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Tsvetana Pironkova produced a brilliant display to shock second seed Venus Williams in the quarter-finals.

The unseeded Bulgarian returned almost everything her American opponent threw at her and won 6-2 6-3.

The five-time champion was out of sorts and although she had two break points in the fifth game, Pironkova saved them and broke twice to win the first set.

The players swapped breaks early in the second but Pironkova broke again in the sixth game and closed out the match.

The 22-year-old played well but Williams, 30, had problems with her serve, twice serving consecutive double faults and several times throwing the ball up and then delaying before starting her service action again. She also made 29 unforced errors during the match.

Tsvetana Pironkova

Pironkova delight at shock Venus win

"It seems like a dream," Pironkova told BBC Sport. "Coming here, I never thought I'd play this well and reach this part of the tournament. I'm very happy. I think I played pretty well. I'm happy with my game. She also did well, but I have one win over her and I actually thought I could win and I was going for it.

"I love this tournament. Every time I come here I enjoy it, the atmosphere and everything. I can imagine people are really happy in Bulgaria and maybe I'll be on the news there!"

Court One was disappointingly only two-thirds full when the match started under grey skies.

Pironkova started confidently and wrapped up her first service game with a 111mph ace but Williams also had little trouble in her first service game, although she was hesitant before delivering her opening serve.

The Bulgarian produced a 114mph ace in her next service game which she held to 15 but as the sun briefly came out Williams also held - although a couple of rallies showed how fiercely Pironkova was returning.

The pivotal moments of the match arrived in the next two games.

In the fifth the world number 82 started with a double fault and although Williams went long in the next rally, she dinked the ball over the net to win the next point and Pironkova netted in the next rally to give the American two break points.


As spots of rain started to fall, Pironkova held her nerve in two more rallies which saw Williams go long and then net - and her chance of an advantage had vanished.

The underdog held serve and in the next game produced some brilliant tennis from 40-15 down to level at deuce. An advantage came and went for Williams, who then served a double fault before putting a shot into the tramlines to hand her opponent the break.

Pironkova held again to lead 5-2 and Williams was then in all sorts of trouble on her serve - amazingly putting five consecutive deliveries into the net before getting a second serve in but still losing the point.

That gave the Bulgarian three set points but Williams showed why she has won this title so many times by winning the next three points, surviving a challenge on the first, to take it to deuce.

However Pironkova was not to be denied and after Venus put a forehand out, the unseeded player hit a brilliant passing shot to take the set in 38 minutes.

She held serve at the start of the second set despite falling 15-30 behind to Williams, who had a chance to stage a comeback when breaking to lead 2-1.

But Pironkova broke straight back and then held her serve to lead 3-2 before Williams's serving let her down again.

Two consecutive double faults in game six handed the initiative to the Bulgarian and although the second seed went on to save a break point she could not repeat the trick to leave Pironkova two games from victory.

Venus Williams

Dejected Venus blames missed shots

Both women held their next service games, Williams after saving two match points, but in the next game Pironkova kept calm and wrapped up a famous victory in an hour and 25 minutes.

Pironkova revealed there had already been a great reaction to her victory in Bulgaria, saying: "I received a few phone calls saying everyone was happy and excited as nobody expected me to play a semi-final at Wimbledon and beat Venus like that.

"If I have to be honest, on coming here I really just wanted to play a good game and maybe win one or two rounds. The semi-final looked to me very far away.

"I didn't have a particular strategy against Venus, I just tried to play my game, move her as much as possible and try to put my first serve as much as I could in the court.

"Wimbledon has always been like a religion to me and I don't think it's just for me, I think it's for all of the players."

Williams rued her missed chances to get back into the match but was quick to head off any thoughts that the defeat would hasten her retirement.

"I didn't get enough balls in today," she said. "I had a lot of opportunities and a lot of short balls and seemed to hit each one out and I don't think I did anything right today.

"I work hard every day and I hate losing. Any time you accept losing is definitely a good time to walk away but at this time feel like I am playing great tennis - but obviously I have to avoid days like this.

"She played solid but to not be able to bring my best tennis and to make that many errors is disappointing in a match where I wasn't hit off the court or anything."

Tsvetana Pironkova

Pironkova too quick for Venus

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see also
Live - Wimbledon 2010
29 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Wimbledon 2010 - day eight photos
29 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Venus Williams through to last 16
25 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Venus eases by Makarova challenge
23 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Makarova v Venus as it happened
23 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Venus claims comfortable victory
21 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Williams sisters set to dominate
17 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Venus slumps to shock early exit
16 Jan 06 |  Tennis

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