CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Second-seeded Venus Williams was upset in the third round of the Family Circle Cup on Thursday, falling to 63rd-ranked Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 7-6 (5) in a startling early exit that took even Williams by surprise.

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

It was the first time Williams had faced Lisicki, the German with the big serve seeded 16th this week. Lisicki consistently sent serves of over 110 mph toward Williams on the green clay of stadium court at Family Circle Tennis Center. Her serve of 123.1 mph 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.”

At the end of the match, Lisicki buried her face in her towel and was asked later whether she was laughing, crying or simply wiping her face.

“Everything together. It was just pure emotions,” she said, calling it one of the biggest wins of her career.

A day earlier, it took Williams almost 21/2 hours to eliminate Sania Mirza, ranked No. 100. But Williams said she didn’t feel tired going into the third round.

“It was a long match, but that’s tennis. You come back and play the next day. So I am prepared to do that,” she said.

Another American also fell in the third round. Qualifier Melanie Oudin gamely battled third-seeded Marion Bartoli, ranked No. 13, before falling 6-4, 6-1. The 17-year-old from Marietta, Ga., led 4-2 in the first set but could win only one more game in the match.

“I had a lead and then the whole thing was ‘Oh my gosh, I’m actually beating someone who’s 13 in the world,’ and that got in my head a little bit,” said Oudin, ranked No. 172. “It was a good match. I fought hard and I made her work for it and that was my goal out there.”

Top-seed Elena Dementieva, ranked No. 3, defeated Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 6-1 and faces seventh-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, a 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-3 winner Thursday over Anastasia Rodionova, in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Dementieva was asked later about Williams’ loss.

“What can I say? The competition is pretty rough,” she said. “You have to be ready from the first round because it’s not going to be easy now, especially playing on clay court.”

Fifth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki defeated Shuai Peng 6-3, 6-4 and meets the winner of the Thursday evening match between third-seeded Vera Zvonareva and 13th-seeded Virginie Razzano.

On the other side of the draw, Lisicki faces the winner of Thursday’s match between Elena Vesnina and Viktoriya Kutuzova in the quarterfinals. Bartoli meets the winner of the match between Melinda Czink and Nadia Petrova.

AP-ES-04-16-09 1654EDT

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