Australian Open: Title favorite Serena Williams shocked by Ana Ivanovic

Serena Williams had been tipped to win all four grand slams in the 2014 season but falls at the first of them in Australia.

Story highlights

  • Serena Williams out of the Australian Open after fourth round defeat
  • Serbian Ana Ivanovic beats American world No.1 4-6 6-3 6-3
  • Williams blames her loss on a "tremendous amount of errors"
  • In the men's draw, Novak Djokovic sets up quarterfinal against old foe Stanislas Wawrinka

The heatwave may have passed at the Australian Open but in its place came shockwaves as women's title favourite Serena Williams crashed out.

The American world No.1 melted under pressure from resurgent Serbian Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round Sunday.

Williams, who was chasing a sixth Australian Open crown and an 18th career grand slam, blamed the shock 6-4 3-6 3-6 defeat on an error-strewn display.

"I made a tremendous amount of errors, shots I missed I normally don't miss, I haven't missed since the Eighties," Williams told reporters. "I'm just not used to missing those shots.

"I just made way, way, a lot of unforced errors.

"I know for a fact I can play so much better than what I did today, so with that, knowing that, I'm not disappointed or anything. I just know that I can play ten times better."

Williams refused to blame a back injury for her defeat although the 32-year-old did reveal that she had considered quitting the opening grand slam of the year before her match against Ivanovic.

"I almost pulled out," explained Williams, who last lost a match in August. "I'm such a competitor. I mean, I probably should have.

Serena Williams' inner circle
Serena Williams' inner circle


    Serena Williams' inner circle


Serena Williams' inner circle 06:55
Ivanovic targets more French titles
Ivanovic targets more French titles


    Ivanovic targets more French titles


Ivanovic targets more French titles 00:50
Who will be the tennis ace of 2014?
Who will be the tennis ace of 2014?


    Who will be the tennis ace of 2014?


Who will be the tennis ace of 2014? 04:52

"Maybe I wasn't the best physically, but that had nothing to do with it. I don't want to blame anything.

"I feel like Ana deserves all the credit. I feel she played unbelievable today. "

Victory for Ivanovic is a major boost for the 2008 French Open champion who is trying to get her career back on track after several seasons plagued by big-match nerves, serving troubles and a series of injuries.

The 26-year-old told CNN's Open Court last month that she had effectively pressed the re-set button ahead of the 2014 season, swapping British coach Nigel Sears for new coach and hitting partner Nemanja Kontic.

"I've been working really hard," said Ivanovic, who last reached a grand slam quarterfinal at the 2012 U.S Open. "I have a new team with me since Wimbledon and it's a Serbian team for me for the first time."

The restructure appears to be working as Ivanovic won a warm-up tournament in Auckland -- incidentally beating Venus Williams -- before notching up her first-ever win over Williams' younger sister Serena.

Asked by reporters in Melbourne what the difference was between this match and her previous encounters with Williams, she said: "Well, I actually believed. I had some confidence coming into today's match.

"This victory means so much to me. All the hard work, it's paying off.

"I had very tough fourth round matches in a grand slam, and this was probably the toughest of tough. I just went out there to play. I had nothing to lose.

"To have that victory, you know, it's amazing. We all know what kind of champion she is."

Ivanovic goes on to meet Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals and, after her giant-slaying performance against Williams, the Serbian 14th seed might just feel she has a chance of going all the way.

In the men's draw, Ivanovic's childhood friend Novak Djovkovic eased into the quarterfinals with a straightforward 6-3 6-0 6-2 win over another close pal Italian Fabio Fognini.

Novak Djokovic wins the ATP World Tour final
Novak Djokovic wins the ATP World Tour final


    Novak Djokovic wins the ATP World Tour final


Novak Djokovic wins the ATP World Tour final 03:44
A workout with David Ferrer
A workout with David Ferrer


    A workout with David Ferrer


A workout with David Ferrer 03:59

Djokovic, who said he had managed to watch two sets of Ivanovic's match before taking to the court, faces Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka next, who took him to five sets in the fourth round of last year's Aussie Open.

"I have to be ready to play another 12-10 in the fifth like last year," Djokovic said. "I know that he's playing the tennis of his life in the last 15 months.

"You cannot expect a clear favorite in that match."

In the same half of the draw, Czech Tomas Berdych also advanced to the quarterfinals where he meets Spanish third seed David Ferrer.

Read: Ana Ivanovic searches for winning formula

Read: The man who saved Serena


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena savors U.S. Open win

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      The amazing life of Althea Gibson

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • Courting couple at match point

      "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

      Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.