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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sharapova crashes as rain batters Wimbledon


LONDON: Maria Sharapova was blasted out of Wimbledon on Monday, wilting under a barrage of powerful shot-making by Germany’s Sabine Lisicki as torrential rain brought chaos to the men’s fourth round.

Sharapova, the top seed, lost 6-4, 6-3 to Lisicki, the girl nicknamed ‘Doris Becker’ because of her big-hitting game, with the blonde German avenging last year’s semifinal defeat.

Sharapova will now lose the world top ranking having only retaken it in the aftermath of her maiden French Open triumph last month.

“I certainly had chances. I didn’t take them, but I think a lot of the credit goes to my opponent,” said 2004 champion Sharapova.

Lisicki will face fellow German Angelique Kerber, who ended Kim Clijsters’s Wimbledon career, in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

Four-time champion Serena Williams will face defending champion Petra Kvitova, Polish third seed Ag-nieszka Radwanska plays Maria Kirilenko while unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek tackles Victoria Azarenka.

The men’s tournament was disrupted when rain brought a halt just before 5 p.m. (1600GMT) on all courts except the covered Center Court, leaving five last-16 matches to be completed on Tuesday.

Six-time champion Roger Federer overcame a back injury scare to complete a 7-6 (7/1), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win over Belgium’s Xavier Malisse and will face Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny, the 26th seed, in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

“I was in a lot of pain,” said 30-year-old Federer, who took a medical time-out at 4-3 in the first set.

“The treatment and the pain-killers worked. I started to feel better as the match went on.”

Youzhny defeated Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5 on Court 18 before the rains came and he will attempt to beat Federer for the first time in 14 meetings.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic played under the roof for the third time in this tournament and eased past fellow Serb Viktor Troicki, winning at a canter 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

The heavy rain, which is forecast to continue on Tuesday and Wednesday, meant that Andy Murray was unable to complete his last 16 tie.

The fourth seed was 7-5, 3-1 up against Croatia’s Marin Cilic on Court One when play was halted.

French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was trailing 6-4, 1-1 against US 10th seed Mardy Fish while Germany’s number 31 seed Florian Mayer was 6-3, 2-1 up against French 18th seed Richard Gasquet. The winner faces Djokovic.

German 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber was about to get started against US qualifier Brian Baker on Court 12 when the covers went on.

The victor takes on either Tsonga or Fish in the last eight.

Spanish seventh seed David Ferrer and Argentinian ninth seed Juan Martin del Potro will open the action on Center Court on Tuesday, with the winner to meet either Murray or Cilic.

Lisicki, 22, had lost in the first round of her last four tournaments, but she hit form at the right time on Monday against Sharapova.

“It’s just unbelievable. I had lost the last three meetings with her, so it’s nice to finally win one,” Lisicki said.

Kerber demolished Clijsters 6-1, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.

Such a humbling defeat was a cruel way for Clijsters to bid her Wimbledon farewell as the four-time Grand Slam winner prepares to retire after the US Open.

“I won’t be sorry about anything,” Clijsters said. “I know that every time I’ve played here I’ve given my best.”

Williams dug deep to defeat Yaroslava Shve-dova 6-1, 2-6, 7-5.

“I love the drama.” Serena said. “I knew the whole time I could play better, but I feel fine. I’m not tired.”

Kvitova enjoyed a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Italian 24th seed Fran-cesca Schiavone.

Unseeded Paszek beat Italy’s Roberto Vinci, the 23rd seed, 6-2, 6-2 to book her place in the quarter-finals for the second successive year.

Paszek will play Azarenka, a beaten semi-finalist last year, after the reigning Australian Open champion crushed 14th seed Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 6-0.

Radwanska cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 win over qualifier Camila Giorgi and faces 17th seed Kirilenko, who beat China’s Peng Shuai 6-1, 6-7 (8/6).


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