Melbourne, Jan 22: Sixth seed Venus Williams crashed out of the Australian Open Thursday, losing in the second round to Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 2-6, 6-3 , 7-5 in the upset of the tournament so far.
The loss to the world number 46 continued the seven-time Grand Slam champion's jinx at the season-opening Grand Slam, which she has failed to win in 10 attempts.
It is only the fifth time the American has been dumped out of a Grand Slam before the third round in her illustrious career and it is her earliest exit since Melbourne in 2006.
She looked in control early in the match but could not overcome the 20-year-old Suarez Navarro, who was making her Australian Open debut, squandering match point in the third set.
The reigning Wimbledon champion is by far the biggest scalp in the career of Suarez Navarro, who was a surprise quarter-finalist at last year's French Open.
The Spaniard was at a loss to explain the upset.
"I don't know, I only play, I don't know what to say," she said before a roaring crowd at the Rod Laver Arena.
Venus broke Suarez Navarro in the opening game, using a height advantage of almost 25 centimetres (10 inches) to attack the net.
She also overpowered the Spaniard with her serve, with Suarez Navarro showing early signs of nerves during her debut appearance on Melbourne's centre court, going down another break in the fifth game.
Venus served out the first set after 29 minutes looking poised for a rout.
But Suarez Navarro settled in the second set, snatching a break in the second game off a Venus double fault then holding to go up 3-0.
The American lifted her intensity, taking off her earrings in a sign she wanted no distractions, and broke back in the seventh.
Suarez Navarro refused to wilt, successfully drawing Venus into a baseline slugfest to regain the advantage in the next game with a backhand down the line that left the Wimbledon champion with no chance.
She was rewarded with three set points, Venus hitting a forehand long in the final one to give Suarez Navarro the set after 42 minutes.
The Spaniard went toe-to-toe with Venus early in the third, fending off a break point for the American in the second game.
Venus finally achieved a break in the fourth as Suarez Navarro double faulted in windy conditions, only to come within a point of surrendering the advantage in the next.
She held on with an ace to go 3-1 up but struggled to maintain control of the match and Suarez Navarro broke back in the ninth to make it 5-4.
Venus reached match point with the Spaniard serving in the next but hit her return long and her opponent evened the score at 5-5.
Suarez Navarro turned the tables to earn two match points at 6-5, netting the first but winning after Venus' return went long.