WIMBLEDON, England - A visor pulled down tightly over her forehead to hide her eyes, Serena Williams sat at an interview table after the worst loss of her career yesterday, dabbing at her face with a borrowed handkerchief.
The tears were flowing. Her game was not.
In fact, her game had not been flowing since she arrived here over a week ago and, in her first two matches - both against players not in the top 100 - she had to fight from a set down to win.
There would be no comebacks, however, against 10-year veteran Jill Craybas, who continually made the erratic Williams hit just one more ball until she knocked down the two-time former Wimbledon champion, 6-3, 7-6 (4), to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.
"Horrible," Williams muttered when asked how she was feeling. "I guess I had a lot of rust. I just didn't play well today. I mean, the other days I kind of played through it and got better in the second and third sets. Today, I just didn't do anything right."
It was the first time Williams had been knocked out of a Slam event before the fourth round since the 1999 French Open and Craybas, at No. 85, is the lowest-ranked player to beat her since her ascent to the top 10.
There was a lot more to talk about than Williams' loss, which was a surprise but hardly a shock because of her lack of match fitness.
Top-seeded Lindsay Davenport and No. 15 Kim Clijsters, two of the tournament's favorites, won to set up a face-to-face clash tomorrow. It's a match Clijsters is eager to play after Davenport knocked her out in the fourth round of the French Open.
"I'm definitely looking forward to it. After Paris, this definitely motivates me. Lindsay is a great grass court player. Her strokes ... she hits the ball so precisely. But, you know, it motivates me because I know I have to play a really good match if I want to be able to beat her," Clijsters said.
Davenport swept past Russia's Dinara Safina, 6-2, 6-1, without being broken while Clijsters defeated Roberta Vinci of Italy, 6-3, 6-4. She was broken in the opening game - the only time in the tournament she has not held serve.
Davenport has lost only eight games in her first three matches. "It's probably going to be just a little tougher from here on out," she said. "Hopefully, the grass gives me an advantage," she said of the Clijsters match.
It will match two big servers. Davenport has the more penetrating ground strokes, but Clijsters plays much better defense and there's no lack of power in her ground game, either.
It's now left to older sister Venus to carry the Williams banner into the second week after she beat Daniela Hantuchova, 7-5, 6-3.
Craybas will turn 31 on July 4, and she was bubbling over about this win. In 10 years on tour, she has reached only one final, winning in Tokyo in 2002. She's a conservative player -not many outright winners but not many unforced errors, either.
In men's play, Andrew Murray, an 18-year-old Scotsman who was Britain's last remaining hope here, saw his improbable run ended in the third round by 2002 finalist David Nalbandian, 6-7 (4), 1-6, 6-0, 6-4, 6-1.
It was Nalbandian's first career comeback from two sets down, and it was Murray's first five-set match in his first Grand Slam event.
Britain remains without a Wimbledon men's champion since 1936.
Defending champion Roger Federer and second seed Andy Roddick also advanced to the fourth round. Other winners included Juan Carlos Ferrero, Max Mirnyi, Thomas Johansson and two Frenchmen, Sebastien Grosjean and 19-year-old Richard Gasquet.
The Associated Press contributed to this article. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.
J.C. Ferrero (23) def. F. Mayer, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-1.
M. Youzhny (31) def. J. Bjorkman, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (9).
R. Federer (1) def. N. Kiefer (25), 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 7-5.
M. Mirnyi def. J. Novak (28), 5-7, 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
D. Tursunov def. A. Popp, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-2.
S. Grosjean (9) def. N. Djokovic, 7-5, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.
T. Johansson (12) def. J. Tipsarevic, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.
A. Roddick (2) def. I. Andreev, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
R. Gasquet (27) def. G. Muller, 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-3.
G. Coria (15) def. J. Melzer, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.
D. Nalbandian (18) def. A. Murray, 6-7 (4), 1-6, 6-0, 6-4, 6-1.
M. Pierce (12) def. A. Ivanovic (19), 6-1, 6-4.
N. Petrova (8) def. C. Black, 6-4, 6-3.
K. Peschke def. C. Martinez, 6-4, 6-1.
M. Sharapova (2) def. K. Srebotnik, 6-2, 6-4.
L. Davenport (1) def. D. Safina (30), 6-2, 6-1.
V. Williams (14) def. D. Hantuchova (20), 7-5, 6-3.
N. Dechy (16) def. A. Bondarenko, 6-1, 6-4.
K. Clijsters (15) def. R. Vinci, 6-3, 6-4.
F. Pennetta (26) def. E. Daniilidou, 6-4, 6-3.
J. Craybas def. S. Williams (4), 6-3, 7-6 (4).