World No 1 Maria Sharapova is out of Wimbledon. And the pretty Russian’s fans can blame Germany’s Sabine Lisicki, who exacted revenge for her loss to Sharapova in the semi-finals here last year.
Lisicki beat Sharapova in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 23 minutes. Her composure and commitment was outstanding. “I went for my shots in the match and never looked back,” said the jubilant Lisicki.
Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, came into this year’s Championships confident after her French Open title.
“She did many things better than I did and you have to hand it to her. She played very well. I could have done things differently but not on this particular day. I had my chances but couldn’t hold on,” rued Sharapova.
A delighted Lisicki added: “My plans paid off. I wanted to go hard at her and take my chances and it ended with a positive result. She is a great fighter and if I let it slip, then it would be sad for me.”
Before this year’s Championships, Lisicki exited her last four tournaments in the first round. She now meets compatriot and eighth seed Angelique Kerber.
Serena, Kvitova survive
Adding from agencies: American sixth seed Serena Williams narrowly avoided the same fate as Sharapova as she dug deep to defeat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 on Court Two. Serena looked set to cruise through as she took the first set in emphatic fashion, but Kazakh wildcard Shvedova responded impressively to force the American to a final set.
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova had cause for concern in a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Italian 24th seed Francesca Schiavone.
Schiavone, a former French Open champion, was in control after taking the first set, but lost her cool when the match was allowed to continue despite rain causing both players to slip.
Clijsters bids farewell
Four-time Grand Slam title winner Kim Clijsters, who had already announced she will retire for good after the US Open, bade farewell to Wimbledon for the final time, losing 6-1, 6-1 in the fourth round to German eighth seed Kerber. The 29-year-old former world number one triumphed at the US Open in 2005, 2009 and 2010, as well as at the 2011 Australian Open, but Wimbledon always presented its own particular problems.
Ivanovic knocked out
Second seed Victoria Azarenka reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a 6-1, 6-0 mauling of Serb 14th seed Ana Ivanovic. Azarenka plays Tamira Paszek for a place in semis.