The difference between good tennis players and great tennis players is that the great ones can survive an off day in a big tournament. For as great as she is, even Serena Williams couldn't get through this.
The 13-time Grand Slam champion was sent packing from the Australian Open on Monday, courtesy a listless performance in a 6-2, 6-3 fourth-round loss to world No. 56 Ekaterina Makarova. It was Serena's first loss in Melbourne since 2008 and only the seventh time in the past 12 years that she's failed to advance to a Slam quarterfinal.
[ Slideshow: Serena Williams knocked out in fourth round ]
Everything looked wrong with Serena in the afternoon match at Rod Laver Arena. Chris Evert said it was the worst she had ever seen her play.
Serena's serve was off. Her forehand was off. Her backhand was off. Her return of serve was off. Her footwork was off. Her energy was off. She missed an overhead at 15-30, 3-4 on Makarova's serve that sailed long by five feet. She blew an easy net point at deuce in the same game. She double faulted four times in a single service game.
Not to take anything away from Makarova. She didn't wilt in the Melbourne heat and stayed aggressive, even after losing multiple match points at 5-3 in the second.
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