WIMBLEDON, England — Venus and Serena Williams were eliminated in the fourth round of Wimbledon on Monday, the first time in five years neither sister will play in the quarterfinals at the All England Club.
Defending champion and four-time winner Serena was the first to go, beaten 6-3, 7-6 (6) by Marion Bartoli of France, cutting short the American’s return to Grand Slam tennis after nearly a year out with serious health problems.
Older sister and five-time champion Venus was ousted 6-2, 6-3 by Tsvetana Pironkova — the same score of the Bulgarian’s win in last year’s quarterfinals.
“Definitely not our best day,” Venus said. “I think we both envisioned seeing this day going a little bit different.”
Also knocked out was top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who fell 1-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5 to No. 24 Dominika Cibulkova in the Dane’s latest failed attempt to win her first Grand Slam title.
Six-time men’s champion Roger Federer survived a scare, dropping his first set of the tournament before coming back to down Mikhail Youzhny 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to reach his 29th successive Grand Slam quarterfinal. Extending his career record against the Russian to 11-0, Federer had 54 winners, including 14 aces, and broke five times.
“I forgot completely (the 29th quarterfinal) was on the line to be quite honest, especially once you’re in the heat of the moment, of the battle,” said Federer, who also won his 100th match on grass. “I thought I played a good match overall.”
Federer will next face No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, who beat No. 7 David Ferrer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (1).
Top-seeded defending champion Rafael Nadal overcame a foot injury and outlasted Juan Martin del Potro 7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 in a Centre Court duel that ended in fading light shortly after 9 p.m.
A grimacing Nadal took a medical timeout after hurting his left foot in the game before the first-set tiebreaker. A trainer sprayed and taped the foot. Nadal fell behind 3-0 in the tiebreaker and was limping between points, but saved a set point at 6-5 down and took the tiebreaker on his fourth set point when Del Potro double-faulted.
After winning the second set, Del Potro needed his own medical timeout after slipping and falling at the baseline at 2-2 in the third. He stayed on the ground for several seconds, grabbing his left hip. After treatment in the locker room, Del Potro came back and didn’t seem bothered by the injury.
Nadal broke for the first time to go up 3-2 in the fourth set with a forehand winner down the line. He maintained the advantage and served out the match at love after nearly four hours. Nadal finished with 61 winners to just 16 errors.
Venus and Serena have won nine of the last 11 titles at Wimbledon and have faced each other in four finals.
In 2006, Venus lost in the third round and Serena missed the tournament. This is the first year that, when both sisters were in the draw, both lost before the quarterfinals. The last time the sisters lost on the same day at a Grand Slam was in 2008, the third round at the French Open.
“Obviously it’s not something planned,” Venus said. “We rarely lose on the same day.”
With 2004 champion Maria Sharapova of Russia among those advancing Monday, this marks the first time since 1913 that all eight women’s Wimbledon quarterfinalists are from Europe. And all eight come from different countries.
In men’s play, second-seeded Novak Djokovic kept up his bid for a first Wimbledon title by beating Michael Llodra of France 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. The two-time Australian Open champion, who can replace Rafael Nadal as the top-ranked man by reaching the final, lost in the semifinals last year.
Djokovic will next face 18-year-old Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic, who downed Xavier Malisse 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 to become the youngest man to make the Wimbledon quarterfinals since Boris Becker in 1986.
Fourth-seeded Andy Murray swept Richard Gasquet of France 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 — then took a deep bow to the Royal Box, where Prince Wiliam and bride Kate joined the rest of the crowd in giving the British winner a standing ovation.
“I was obviously very happy after the match,” Murray said. “I think that was the right thing to do.”
Murray, who has made the semifinals the last two years, is trying to become the first British man to win the title at the All England Club since Fred Perry in 1936. He met with the royal couple after the match.
“If I’d known they were coming, I would have shaved,” the Scot said with a smile. “I was thinking to myself as I came off I was sweaty and very hairy. I said to them, ‘I’m sorry, I’m a bit sweaty.’ But it was really nice.”
Murray’s next opponent is unseeded Feliciano Lopez, who came from two sets down and saved two match points in the third set tiebreaker to overcome Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot 3-6, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7), 7-5, 7-5. Lopez served 28 aces.
With no American women left in the draw, 10th-seeded Mardy Fish made it to his first Wimbledon quarters by serving 23 aces and beating 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4. Fish saved both break points he faced and finished with 42 winners and only 12 unforced errors. The sixth-seeded Czech hadn’t lost a set in three matches.
After winning last year’s Wimbledon, Serena missed nearly a year after foot surgery and subsequent blood clots in her lungs. She returned two weeks ago at Eastbourne for the first time since then. Venus also returned at Eastbourne after a five-month layoff with a hip injury.
Venus was clearly off the top of her game Monday, committing 16 unforced errors and converting only one of four break points. She was broken four times.
“I didn’t seem to get the ball in,” Venus said. “She took her opportunities. I just didn’t put the ball in the court, simple as that. Unfortunately, I seem not to have my good days against her. But she played well.”
The 33rd-seeded Pironkova, who lost in the semifinals here last year to eventual runner-up Vera Zvonareva, played steady tennis against Venus and never cracked.
“I beat her two times, two consecutive years — it feels amazing to play such a champion on this legendary court,” the Bulgarian said after holding serve and stroking a backhand winner down the line on her second match point. “When I come here I just feel so relaxed.”
Serena saved four match points before the ninth-seeded Bartoli closed the match by hitting a service winner into the corner. It was Serena’s earliest exit at Wimbledon since a third-round loss in 2005.
“I never came here thinking I would lose,” she said. “That’s my attitude. You win some and you lose some. Today just happened to be the one that slipped under me.”
But Serena said she was satisfied getting as far as she did after such a long layoff.
“I lost but I was able to kind of hang in there and play tough,” she said. “And I can only get better. That can potentially be really scary because I can only go up from here and I can just do so much more.”
Bartoli made the Wimbledon final in 2007, losing to Venus. It was the first time Bartoli has beaten the American after straight-set defeats in their previous two matches.
“Beating Serena is almost like a dream come true,” Bartoli said. “Even though she didn’t play for almost one year, she’s probably one of the greatest champions in women’s tennis. For me to be able come back after having three match points and losing this game at 6-5, and still be able to bounce back, it’s really huge.”
Wozniacki, who has never reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, went up a break against Cibulkova in the third set but couldn’t capitalize, losing serve three times the rest of the way. Cibulkova dictated play most of the last two sets.
Wozniacki has played in only one major final, losing to Kim Clijsters at the 2009 U.S. Open. Despite the lack of a major title, she will remain No. 1.
“I don’t really care what people think or say or do,” she said. “I cannot really do anything now. I did my best and it wasn’t good enough.”
Cibulkova earned a quarterfinal with Sharapova, who made it to the last eight for the first time in five years, beating Peng Shuai 6-4, 6-2 on a sweltering day.
Sharapova started slowly before winning seven straight games to take command against the 20th-seeded Chinese player on Court 2.
The match was played with on-court temperatures of 93 degrees, and Sharapova covered her legs with ice wrapped in towels during changeovers.
“Last year I lost in the fourth round to Serena and this year I find myself in the quarterfinals and I’m giving myself an opportunity to go even in further so I’m quite happy about that,” Sharapova said.
In other women’s play, fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka beat Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-2; German wild card Sabine Lisicki reached the quarters for the second time, downing Petra Cetkovska 7-6 (3), 6-1; No. 8 Petra Kvitova, a semifinalist last year, needed just 45 minutes to defeat No. 19 Yanina Wickmayer 6-0, 6-2; and 80th-ranked Austrian Tamira Paszek topped Ksenia Pervak of Russia 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 for her first Grand Slam quarterfinal berth.