Centre Court in the late evening provided the setting for the biggest upset of this year's Championships, when the third seed and former champion Venus Williams was dramatically defeated by the 19 year-old Croatian, Karolina Sprem 7-6 (7-5 ), 7-6 (8-6) in one hour 42 minutes of high drama.
Sprem, who had come close to defeating Venus in the Berlin final last month, showed she is a star in the making by the skilful and determined way she overcame the woman who won Wimbledon in 2000 and 2001, as well as reaching the final for the past two years.
Ranked 30th in the world, Sprem was not in the least fazed by the star quality across the net from her. Venus, elegantly attired, had her game reduced to tatters eventually by the Croatian's belief that she would prevail in a match brimming with brilliant tennis, agonising errors and glorious winners.
Sprem was in the driver's seat almost from the start, breaking for a 3-2 lead in a match which produced eight breaks of serve. Venus broke back, Sprem immediately captured the Williams serve again and when the Croatian served for the set, she was broken once more.
Sprem captured the first set in 53 minutes, winning the tiebreak by seven points to five on a couple of Venus netted errors, and when she led 3-1 in the second set the excitement was intense on Centre Court. Venus fought back from 1-4 down to 3-4, only for Sprem to break again and serve for the match at 5-3. This brought out the fight of a true champion as Williams, getting everything back at full stretch, broke back once more to take it into a second tiebreak.
When Williams moved into a 6-3 lead it seemed odds-on a third set, but she missed all three set points. Sprem saved the first with a glorious forehand pass, Venus then double-faulted and another error opened the door for Sprem, who seized the chance. A Venus shot hit the tape and fell back into her court. Match point to Sprem. One of them was all she needed as a Williams forehand sailed over the baseline.