Ana Ivanovic upsets Serena Williams

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MELBOURNE, Australia -- The powerful serve that carried Serena Williams to 25 consecutive wins suddenly became the target of Ana Ivanovic's attack in a major fourth-round upset at the Australian Open.

Williams had a back complaint she'd tried to keep secret before Sunday but Ivanovic noticed almost immediately that her serve wasn't as fast as she'd expected, and she started taking big swipes at it.

The No. 14-seeded Ivanovic ended Williams' bid for a sixth Australian and 18th Grand Slam title with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory that took the hottest of favorites out of contention at Melbourne Park and opened up one side of the women's draw.

"It's not easy playing such a champion ... but she is also just a human," said Ivanovic, who beat Venus Williams in the final at Auckland, New Zealand, earlier this month. "I just went out there swinging."

Williams hadn't lost a match since August, and went 78-4 in 2013. She came into the fourth round with those 25 straight wins, the second-longest streak of her career, and it was her 70th match at Melbourne Park, a record in the Open era. Williams had just set the mark for most match wins (61) ever at the Australian Open with her third-round victory.

The No. 1-ranked Williams didn't move her feet well, and was lunging for balls. When she tried to step up the intensity in the third set, her grunts becoming louder and more frequent until she toned it down after spraying a wild backhand wide in the next-to-last game, Ivanovic matched her stroke for stroke.

"It wasn't the best," Williams told a news conference, after being told that her coach had leaked news of a back problem.

"Again, I don't want to blame anything. I feel like Ana deserves all the credit," Williams added. "I feel she played unbelievable today. I think she went for her shots. It's not like I gave her the match."

In the 52 previous matches here where she'd won the first set, Williams had only ever lost one match -- against fellow American Sloane Stephens in last year's quarterfinals.

The crowd was evenly divided at first but, sensing an upset, started backing Ivanovic, the former girlfriend of Australian golferĀ  Adam Scott, as the match progressed.

After dropping serve twice in the first set, Ivanovic didn't face another break point in the second or third sets. She broke Williams three times, frequently standing well inside the baseline to receive.

She had 33 winners, including 20 on her forehand side. She also had a little bit of luck, when she drove a backhand into the top of the net, and it looped over and caught the line at an important stage of the third set.

"I had to remind myself all the time just to stay in the moment, because there were moments in the match where it could have gone either way," Ivanovic said. "But I really just believed in my game and stepped up when I needed to."

Ivanovic won her only major at the French Open in 2008, giving her the No. 1 ranking for a total of 12 weeks. But then she only advanced past the fourth round once at 22 Grand Slams.

"I had to break a spell, fourth round," Ivanovic said, "and what's the better place to do it than here against such a champion?"

Williams hit 22 winners but made 31 unforced errors, mostly on her backhand.

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