London - Defending champion Serena Williams was dumped out of Wimbledon here Monday, losing to French ninth seed Marion Bartoli in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (8/6).
Four-time winner Williams, who has only recently returned to tennis after a year-long lay-off because of health and injury problems, was always struggling to impose herself against her determined French opponent on Court One.
Bartoli was ecstatic after a fourth round win which puts her into a quarter-final against German wildcard Sabine Lisicki in Tuesday's last eight.
"Beating Serena here is like a dream come true," Bartoli said. "She's been out for a year but she is still one of the greatest champions in the history of women's tennis."
Bartoli was made to battle every inch of the way however as the typically dogged Williams saved three match points in the 12th game of the second set to force a tie-break.
Williams saved a fourth match point in the tiebreak but Bartoli conjured up a booming serve to convert her fifth and advance.
"It was not easy mentally to hang on after she managed to save the match points but I did so I'm very happy," Bartoli said.
The first set went with serve until the sixth game, when Bartoli grabbed the all-important break to edge ahead 4-2, which swiftly became 5-2 after the Frenchwoman held to love.
Williams fought off three set points in her next service game before holding to narrow the gap to 5-3. The American was then gifted a break point in the ninth game when Bartoli double-faulted.
Bartoli showed great composure to fight back however, holding off two more break points from Williams before converting her sixth set point with an ace.
The second set went with serve until the 11th game when Williams was broken to give Bartoli a 6-5 lead.
Bartoli's supporters were then put through the wringer as she squandered three match points as Williams broke back to force a tiebreak.
But Bartoli, who had banished her parents from the viewing box during her third round match on Saturday, held her nerve in the tie-break, wrapping up victory when Williams could only return a booming serve into the net.