Defending champ Williams loses in three sets

Updated: July 1, 2006, 3:43 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

WIMBLEDON, England -- Defending women's champion Venus Williams departed Wimbledon on Saturday, upset in three sets by Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-4.

Three-time champion Williams was eliminated by the 26th-ranked Jankovic amid a flood of unforced errors and double-faults.

With sister Serena injured, there will be no Williams in the Wimbledon final for the first time since 1999. The sisters have won five of the last six titles.

"It definitely feels really weird," Venus said.

Williams lost on Court 2, known as the "Graveyard of Champions" for its history of major upsets. Others who have lost on that court include Serena Williams, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.

Venus Williams had 50 winners, but hurt her chances with 12 double faults and 54 errors. The 21-year-old Jankovic, who reached the final of a Grand Slam for the first time, had 27 winners and 21 errors.

The match slipped away from Williams when she double-faulted three times in a row and was broken at love to go down 5-3. With Jankovic serving for the match, Williams broke back for 5-4. But Williams couldn't hold in the next game, saving three match points before double-faulting again to set up a fourth. She ended the match with a forehand into the net.

"At the end I was just so nervous," Jankovic said. "The racket felt like [it weighed] 30 pounds."

Williams said she had pain in her left wrist, but didn't blame that for the defeat.

"I had some opportunities out there, but unfortunately she played some good tennis," she said. "I think against a player like me she feels maybe she has nothing to lose."

Unseeded Shenay Perry is the only American to advance to the second week of Wimbledon.

Perry beat Austria's Sybille Bammer earlier in the day in straight sets to advance to the fourth round of a Grand Slam event for the first time in her career.

Top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo beat Australia's Nicole Pratt 6-1, 6-2. No. 4 Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion, swept into the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Amy Frazier, playing in her 18th Wimbledon.

The 2004 champion was one of seven Russian women to reach the third round here and following the exit of fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anna Chakvetadze on Friday, Sharapova produced a dazzling display on Centre Court.

Seeking to win her second Grand Slam title, Sharapova has now reached the last 16 or better in every one of her four visits to the All England Club.

The long-limbed teenager closed out the 74-minute win after Frazier sent a forehand wide.

Joining fourth seed Sharapova were Anastasia Myskina and Elena Dementieva.

Myskina outwitted Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-4, while seventh seed Elena Dementieva won a Russian duel with Elena Likhovtseva 7-5, 6-3.

Dinara Safina, who reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open last month, was not as fortunate.

Maria Sharapova
Clive Brunskill/Getty ImagesSharapova leads the Russian contingent into Wimbledon's fourth round.

The younger sister of former men's No. 1 Marat Safin lost out on a possible meeting with top seed Amelie Mauresmo when she let a set and 4-1 advantage slip during a 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1 defeat by Serb Ana Ivanovic.

Likhovtseva was troubled by a right ankle injury and had to take a three-minute time out after being broken in the first set to trail 5-6.

After getting her ankle heavily strapped, she was unable to prevent Dementieva from bagging the set.

But Likhovtseva refused to surrender without a fight and broke to lead 3-1 in the second set before Dementieva rallied and booked her place in the next round against Shenay Perry.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.