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Lisicki uses big serve to send Venus packing

FORMER champions Venus Williams and Nadia Petrova and last year's runner-up Vera Zvonareva were knocked out in the third round of the Family Circle Cup on Thursday in Charleston, South Carolina.

No. 5-ranked Williams, who won the title the first time she entered in 2004, was outplayed 6-4, 7-6 (5) on the green clay by 63rd-ranked Sabine Lisicki, the lowest-ranked woman Williams has lost to in 13 months.

"I wasn't expecting that and, you know, I'll try to come back next year and win," Williams said. "I made a few errors at the wrong time and she played some great shots."

Sixth-ranked Zvonareva, who lost last year's final to Serena Williams, retired after injuring her ankle two games into her match with Virginie Razzano of France.

Petrova, ranked 10th, fell to Melinda Czink of Hungary 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

The other seeds were safe, as top-seeded Elena Dementieva reached the quarterfinals along with fifth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, sixth-seeded Marion Bartoli and seventh-seeded Dominika Cibulkova.

Wozniacki beat 10th-seeded Peng Shuai of China 6-3, 6-4.

It was the first time Williams had faced Lisicki, 19, who consistently hit serves of more than 177 kph. Her serve of 198 kph at the Australian Open is the second-fastest on the women's tour this year.

"I'm confident with my serve," Lisicki said. "Sometimes I'm struggling, but you know, in the important points I could really count on my serve, which was very good."


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