19-year-old American Sloane Stephens knocked out five-time tournament winner Serena Williams from the Australian Open at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.
Stephens won 3-6 7-5 6-4, finishing off the world No.3 after she injured her back and ankle during a disastrous third set.
A medical timeout and private treatment away from prying eyes enabled Williams to stay on the court to finish off the match, but she wasn’t able to fight back thereafter from a set and a break down.
A second set ankle turned caused Williams to scream out in pain and she didn’t look anywhere near her best for a period that stretched between the end of the second set into the early stages of the third.
The win was Stephen’s first appearance at a Grand Slam quarter-final and she is now on the cusp of breaking in the world’s top 20.
Williams was caught by court microphones describing her back and ankle issues as the “worst two weeks”, clarifying her remark post-match.
"For a Grand Slam, absolutely. Absolutely," Williams said.
"I'm almost relieved that it's over because there's only so much I felt I could do. I was unaware the microphones picked that up.
"But, it's been a little difficult. I've been thrown a lot of balls these two weeks."
Williams didn’t want to put too much emphasis on the injury saying, "I think everyone at this stage in the locker room has something wrong with them, so it's fine. There's no excuse there."
On Tuesday night, World No.2 Maria Sharapova booked a spot in the Australian Open semi-finals Ekaterina Makarova 6-2 6-2.
Sharapova has dropped just nine games at the tournament, an Aussie Open record and has played just five hours and 15 minutes on court through five rounds.
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