WIMBLEDON, England — Before Venus Williams started her quarterfinal here, the ranking of her opponent, Tsvetana Pironkova, seemed inconsequential.
Then Yen-Hsun Lu knocked Andy Roddick from the tournament late Monday, and he shared two important things with Pironkova — a high-profile American opponent and a world ranking of 82. From this strange coincidence, sprang another upset.
Before this tournament, Pironkova had won all of one match at Wimbledon in her career. On Tuesday, she captured her fifth victory this fortnight, a 6-2, 6-3 dismantling of Williams, the second-ranked player in the world.
Her anticipated semifinal with Kim Clijsters, the No. 8 seed, failed to materialize on either end. Shortly after Pironkova toppled Williams, Clijsters also lost, to Vera Zvonareva, the No. 21 seed from Russia, who lost the first five times that she met Clijsters, yet prevailed in their latest match, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.