TOP seed Ana Ivanovic crashed out of Wimbledon today in the biggest shock of the tournament so far.
The world number one, who looked close to tears on court, told us later: “Obviously it’s tough. It’s never easy to lose.”
But she vowed to return and learn the lessons of defeat after China’s Zheng Jie tormented the troubled Serb to triumph 6-1 6-4 on a stunned Court One.
Just 24 hours after the exit of Maria Sharapova, French Open champion Ivanovic, 20, was always in trouble with an error-strewn display.
Jie, 24, took full advantage, having put on a similar tough performance in the previous round to defeat Britain’s Elena Baltacha.
There are no grass courts in China but the player ranked 133 in the world has made herself at home on the lawns of the All England Club.
“I’m so happy,” said Jie, who thanked her husband after her win. “He is my singles coach. Very thanks for him because before my serve is no good.”
She said she believed she could beat Ivanovic but was surprised to do it in two sets. “I think maybe tough, maybe three sets and close.”
Jie, who will play both singles and doubles for her country at the Beijing Olympics in August, added: “I feel the match is good for the Chinese because I know my parents and friends can see the TV in China for this match.”
Ivanovic had won through to the third round via the luckiest of net cords when France’s Nathalie Dechy was at match point.
Her luck ran out against a flat hitting Chinese doubles specialist, who showed few signs of nerves in closing out the match.
Those tears no doubt eventually flowed once off court, but Ivanovic was her usual smiling self in the press conference room, despite her exit.
“I’m definitely disappointed with my loss. But still I look at it as a learning experience,” she explained.
“You also have to realise that the world won’t end . I’m still so young and have many tournaments in front of me.”
There was praise for an opponent who was always likely to pull off a surprise. “I think she played really well today. It was a tough match for me.
“She plays very well on grass. She has a very powerful shot.
“She stays very low, so the balls are coming much faster through the air – I found it hard to get good timing.”
Ivanovic admitted she did not practice as much on grass as she might have done after her French Open win earlier this month on the clay in Paris and becoming the world No 1.
“I had some time off, so I didn’t have too much time to practice – it was a very emotional time the past couple of weeks.”
Her coaches decided to give her some time off to recover from that Grand Slam victory at Roland Garros.
“We going to change that maybe next time and spend more time on court and trying to adjust to grass.”
The departure of Ivanovic and Sharapova leaves the women’s draw wide open.
Will there be more shocks tomorrow?
I’ll be here to find out.