Serena Williams’s chances of winning an eighth Wimbledon and 24th Grand Slam title were boosted Friday when Madison Keys became the seventh top 10 seed to be eliminated.
Tenth seed Keys, who had made at least the quarter-finals of her last three majors, lost in the third round 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 to Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina, ranked 120th in the world.
She joins defending champion Garbine Muguruza, world number two Caroline Wozniacki, two-time champion Petra Kvitova and US Open winner Sloane Stephens in falling in the first week.
Serena, seeded 25 this year after taking time away from the tour to give birth to her daughter, faces Kristina Mladenovic of France for a place in the last 16 later Friday.
The 36-year-old American now cannot meet a top 32 player until the semi-finals after the scattering of the seeds this week.
Keys lost nine games on the trot from 5-2 up in the first set to 0-4 down in the second.
She rallied to level the third-round match before Rodina sealed a maiden place in the last 16 of a major.
Keys fired 15 aces in the match but also committed 48 unforced errors.
Later Friday, eight-time champion Roger Federer takes on German comeback specialist Jan-Lennard Struff.
The world number 64 has had to fight back from two sets to love down in his first two matches to beat Leonardo Mayer and 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic.
Defending champion and top seed Federer, by contrast, has made the third round without breaking sweat.
The 36-year-old Swiss has won 26 consecutive sets at the All England Club.
Federer beat Struff in the second round of the Australian Open in January in straight sets.
German fourth seed Alexander Zverev made the third round, seeing off Taylor Fritz of the United States 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (0/7), 6-1, 6-2 and faces Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis for a spot in the last 16. -AFP