Venus Williams struggled at times at the baseline. (LEON NEAL / AFP / GETTY IMAGEs)

Updated at 11:53 a.m.

Venus Williams joined her sister Serena in making a quick exit Monday at Wimbledon, losing in straight sets to Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.

For the first time since 2006, neither Williams sister has reached the quarterfinals. They’ve won nine of the last 11 titles.

Pironkova won 6-2, 6-3 as Williams, looking for her sixth single title, struggled on a hot day. Like Serena, Venus also was playing in a Grand Slam after a significant injury that forced her out of the Australian Open last winter.

Shortly before Venus Williams’ match was complete, Caroline Wozniacki, Wimbledon’s No. 1 seed, was bounced from the tournament. by Dominika Cibulkova.

Updated at 11:15 a.m. EDT

First, Serena. Now, Venus?

A little over an hour after her sister was bounced from Wimbledon, Venus Williams was fighting for survival in the tournament and trailing Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 2-3 in the second set after Pironkova won the first 6-2.

Filed at 10:10 a.m. EDT

On a blisteringly hot Monday, with temperatures in the 90s at the All England Club, Serena Williams’s return to Wimbledon tennis came to an end at the hands of Marion Bartoli.

Bartoli, the ninth-seed from France, beat Williams in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) — but not before Williams put together a tenacious bid for a third set in the tiebreaker.

Williams missed 11 months of tennis as she recovered from foot injuries and blood clots in her lung. Although she looked strong over her first emotional week at Wimbledon — saying of her chances of defending her championship, “Um, I wouldn’t bet against me.” — Bartoli kept her pinned to the baseline and Williams struggled there before getting her bearings late in the second set. But Bartoli was too strong in the tiebreaker.

“Beating Serena is a dream come true,” Bartoli said. “For me to be able to come back after having three match points is pretty amazing. It was not easy mentally to hang on, but I did it. If you look too much at Serena, she’s a huge opponent over the net. She will intimidate you. I was trying to stay in my own bubble.”


Maria Sharapova (Alastair Grant / AP)

In an earlier match, Maria Sharapova, the fifth seed, advanced with a straight-sets (6-4, 6-2), grunt-filled victory over Shuai Peng, the 20th seed from China. Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004 but her game has suffered since she had shoulder surgery in 2008. She will play Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia next.

Sharapova, who has not lost a set this year, served well and moved into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2006.

“It's great. Last year I lost in the fourth round to Serena [Williams] and this year I find myself in the quarterfinals and giving myself an opportunity to go further,” Sharapova said.

Although Sharapova was the second favorite by bookmakers before the match began, she said she had “to be realistic.” “I hadn't got past the fourth round in several years, but this is a step forward. I just have to take care of business in my next match.”

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