*The return of both Williams sisters at Wimbledon ended within hours of each other this morning in the fourth round of Wimbledon.

Venus’ attempt to win a sixth title at the All England Club was thwarted by a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, who also beat Williams at Wimbledon last year by the same score to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal.

Her defeat came shortly after defending champion Serena was eliminated by Marion Bartoli 6-3, 7-6 (6), cutting short her return to Grand Slam tennis after nearly a year out with serious health problems.


Marion Bartoli of France (R) shakes hands with Serena Williams of the United States after winning her fourth round match on Day Seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 27, 2011 in London, England.

Williams, a four-time winner at the All England Club, saved four match points before the ninth-seeded Frenchwoman closed out the contest by hitting a service winner into the corner. It was Williams’ earliest exit at Wimbledon since a third-round loss in 2005.

It is the first time since 2006 that neither sister has reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals.