Screaming with fury and crying over disputed line calls, Venus Williams' bid for the Wimbledon title ended today with a quarterfinal loss to Jana Novotna.
The 18-year-old American lost her composure and the match, 7-5, 7-6 (7-2)."I had a firm belief that those balls were out and the linespeople should have called them out," she said. "Of course, you have to get over those things."
Williams said her tantrums no doubt made the match more entertaining.
"The crowd probably enjoyed my emotional outburst," she said. "It brightened up someone's day."
Williams played aggressive, serve-and-volley tennis, trying to beat Novotna at her own game. But she failed to win the key points as Novotna, a two-time Wimbledon finalist, showed her experience on grass.
Novotna advanced to a semifinal against defending champion Martina Hingis, who overcame Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in three sets to set up a rematch of last year's final.
Reaching the other semifinal were Nathalie Tauziat and Natsha Zvereva. Tauziat upset No. 2 Lindsay Davenport while Zvereva ousted Monica Seles, both in straight sets.
In men's play, defending champion Pete Sampras, closing in on his fifth title in six years, swept Mark Philippoussis 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4.
Sampras, who hasn't dropped a set in five matches, was out-aced 14-10 in a contest between two of the fastest servers in the game. But he never lost serve, saving three break points against him while breaking the Australian twice.
Sampras will play Tim Henman or Petr Korda in the semifinals. Richard Krajicek and Goran Ivanisevic advanced to the other semifinal with straight-set wins.
Krajicek, the 1996 champion, cruised to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win over 65th-ranked Davide Sanguinetti of Italy. Ivanisevic, a former two-time finalist, beat Jan Siemerink in three tiebreakers.
Williams twice became enraged at chair umpire Mike Morrissey after shots by Novotna were not called out.
"That was so far out," she shouted in the first game of the second set, then went up to the lineswoman and continued arguing.
Even more dramatic was her reaction to a non-call in the seventh game.
"I know it's out, she knows it's out, everyone knows it's out. But you don't know it's out," Williams, her face contorted in anger and tears, screamed at Morrissey.
After double faulting on the next point to go down 4-3, Williams cried during the changeover.
Williams lost her temper again in the 11th game, standing indignantly with her hands on her hips and complaining about a ball that wasn't called long. When the next shot was called out, Williams clapped her racket, mocking the lineswoman.
Williams said she didn't regret her outbursts and that she played better afterward.
"I feel I needed to do that probably because I really wanted to win those points," she said. "The ball was really out."
Williams seemed to regain control but, in the tiebreaker, she played carelessly and made a series of unforced errors as Novotna closed the match.
Williams had raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set but lost three straight games. Novotna broke for a 6-5 lead and served out the set in the next game.
Seles, the No. 6 seed, fell behind quickly and never recovered as the unseeded Zvereva, a doubles specialist, moved her around the court and won 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.