WORLD No1 Serena Williams has conceded defeat in her quest to become the first woman since Steffi Graf to win all four tennis grand slams in a calendar year.
Williams, tipped by her coach to repeat Graf’s 1988 feat this year, saw those hopes end yesterday with defeat at the Australian Open to 14th seed Ana Ivanovic.
“I gave up on that a long time ago,” she said. “Maybe I can win four in a row, but it seems like in the one year it’s kind of difficult for me for whatever reason.
“I have won this tournament five times. I think I’ve done pretty well here. I feel like I’ll win it again, obviously not this year but maybe next year.”
Former French Open champion Ivanovic continued her resurgence with a first career win over Williams at her fifth attempt, coming from behind in the last-16 tie 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
“I had to break a spell,” said the Serb, who had reached the quarter-finals of a slam just once since 2008. “And what better place to do it than here?”
Williams, 32, revealed she had been hampered by a back injury suffered preparing for the previous round. “I almost pulled out,” she said. “I’m such a competitor. I probably should have.”
Ivanovic faces Canadian teenager Genie Bouchard in the last eight, while Chinese fourth seed Li Na also progressed to a meeting with Italy’s Flavia Pennetta.
Men’s second seed Novak Djokovic eased through against the unseeded Fabio Fognini, and will meet fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, who battled past Spain’s Tommy Robredo.
Third seed David Ferrer needed four sets to see off German Florian Meyer and set up a clash with Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych, who beat South African Kevin Anderson.
Britain’s Andy Murray was due to face Frenchman Stephane Robert, handed a place in the draw despite losing in qualifying, in his last-16 match this morning at around 6am British time.