Venus and Serena Williams were eliminated in the fourth round of Wimbledon on Monday, the first time in five years that neither sister will play in the quarter-finals 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 exact same score of the Bulgarian's win in last year's quarter-finals.
"Definitely not our best day," Venus said. "I think we both envisioned seeing this day going a little bit different."
A year after the Queen made a rare visit to the All England Club, Prince William and Kate were among the crowd at Wimbledon on Monday.
The royal couple, who were married on April 29, watched from the front row of the Royal Box on Centre Court as Andy Murray beat Richard Gasquet to reach the quarter-finals.
They met the British player afterward.
"If I'd known they were coming, I would have shaved," Murray said, smiling.
"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."'
At least Murray had a well-practised bow ready. Last year, he was watched by the Queen on her first visit to the tournament in 33 years and bowed low with one arm bent behind his back and one in front.
The players weren't obliged to bow for William and Kate, but after shaking hands with Gasquet, Murray waved to three sides of the Centre Court crowd before turning to the Royal Box and repeating his very proper bow as the couple stood and applauded.
"I hadn't planned on doing it before," Murray said after beating Gasquet 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2. "When the Queen came to our match last year we were told she was coming and that we would bow when we went on and off the court.
"But today, we weren't told anything. It was just sort of off the cuff."
Murray said it was "very nice" to meet the couple, who he said told him: "Well done on the match. Asked me how it was out there.
"That was it. Wasn't a long conversation."
William and Kate later returned to Centre Court and saw Venus Williams and Rafael Nadal in action.
The visit wasn't announced in advance and wasn't part of their official royal duties. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at about 12:30 p.m. local time and were given a warm ovation by the Centre Court crowd when they took their seats in the Royal Box 25 minutes later.
In keeping with Wimbledon's all-white dress theme, Kate wore an off-white, knee-length dress with tiered layers and embroidered straps. William wore a blue suit on a warm day in London, with temperatures about 30 degrees C.
Security was noticeably tighter at the All England Club, and a police helicopter circled the grounds early on during the Royals' visit.
There seemed to be a royal theme at Wimbledon on Monday. Six-time Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King was sitting behind Prince William and Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, was also on the invitation list.
St. James's Palace said Kate is a tennis fan and has been to Wimbledon "quite a number of times." William visited Wimbledon several times as a child with his mother, Princess Diana.
William and Kate will begin their first overseas state visit as a married couple in Ottawa on Thursday.
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 quarter-final. Extending his career record against the Russian to 11-0, Federer had 54 winners, including 14 aces, and broke six times.
"I forgot completely [the 29th quarter-final] 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).
Nadal plays through pain
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 battle that ended in fading light shortly after 9 p.m. local time.
Grimacing in pain, the Spaniard took a medical timeout after hurting his left foot while hitting a forehand in the game before the first-set tiebreaker. A trainer sprayed the foot and taped it up. 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.
Nadal said he initially thought he might have broken his foot and would have to retire from the match.
"I felt something that like crushed there in the back of the foot outside," he said, adding that the tape helped stabilize the foot for the rest of the match.
Nadal said he would undergo an MRI and was "worried" whether he would be fit for Wednesday's quarter-final match against Mardy Fish.
"I don't know," he said. "I cannot predict the future. … Let's see what's going on and let's see how the MRI looks.
"And after, let's see if we have the chance to recover for Wednesday."
After winning the second set, Del Potro took his own medical timeout after slipping and falling at the baseline at 2-2 in the third, laying on the ground for several seconds and grabbing his left hip. After treatment in the locker-room, Del Potro came back and didn't seem to be affected.
Nadal broke for the first time in the match 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 of play. Nadal finished with 61 winners to just 16 errors.
Williams sisters fall short
In second-round doubles play, Adil Shamasdin of Pickering, Ont., and Australia's Chris Guccione dropped a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6), 6-4 decision to Carsten Ball of Australia and Mexico's Santiago Gonzalez.
In first-round girls' singles play, Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., defeated Megane Bianco of Switzerland 6-4, 6-2. 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 quarter-finals.
The last time the sisters lost on the same day at a Grand Slam was in 2008, when they fell in 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, it marks the first time since 1913 that all eight women's Wimbledon quarter-finalists are from Europe. On top of that, 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 Nadal as the top-ranked man in the world 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 quarter-finals 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 his new 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, the 10th-seeded 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. I really like the atmosphere here."
Serena saved four match points before the ninth-seeded Bartoli closed out the contest 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 time away from the game.
"I think I did really well just being able to come back and play and win some matches, and just really play tough," she said. "Even today I lost, but I was able to kind of hang in there and play tough. 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.
Serena had 20 unforced errors Monday to go with 29 winners, and managed to convert only one of five break points. Bartoli served 10 aces, two more than Williams, and kept down her errors to 17.
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 falls but stays on top
Wozniacki, who has never reached the quarter-finals 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 and finished 44 winners, 11 more than Wozniacki.
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 in the rankings.
"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 quarter-final matchup 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 big-hitting Russian had 27 winners and 10 unforced errors.
The match was played with on-court temperatures at 34 degrees Celsius, 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 quarter-finals 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 here last year, needed just 45 minutes to defeat No. 19 Yanina Wickmayer 6-0, 6-2; and 80th-ranked Austrian Tamira Paszek beat Ksenia Pervak of Russia 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 to secure her first Grand Slam quarter-final berth.