Friday, November 16, 2018 06:13:39 AM
Maria Sharapova suffered more Wimbledon heartache as the French Open champion crashed to a shock 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-4 defeat against Germany's Angelique Kerber in the fourth round, while Serena Williams quit her doubles match after a health scare.
Sharapova famously won Wimbledon aged 17 in 2004, but she has struggled to emulate that feat for much of the last decade and this was another dispiriting experience for the Russian as the ninth seed sealed a stunning Centre Court triumph on her seventh match point.
The world number five arrived at the All England Club fresh from her second Roland Garros title, but she has now failed to make it past the last 16 in seven of her last eight appearances at Wimbledon.
"Today could have gone either way, and it didn't go my way," Sharapova said.
"Despite the results and the fact that I've lost here and haven't had good results, I still love playing on grass."
Kerber, who reached the last four in 2012, will face
Canadian 13th seed Eugenie Bouchard, a winner against the German
in the French Open fourth round recently, on Wednesday for a
place in the semi-finals.
"Every single set was so close so I'm just happy that I won against Maria. She's a great player," said Kerber after her second win in six matches against the Russian.
"When I had the three match points in a row and it was deuce, I just tried to focus on myself and say 'believe in your game'. At the end it worked."
Sharapova's exit means four of the top five seeds have been eliminated following the earlier departures of Serena Williams, Li Na, Agnieszka Radwanska, and there is only one former Grand Slam winner, Petra Kvitova, remaining in the women's draw.
Just hours after Sharapova bowed out, Serena, already knocked out of the singles by Alize Cornet, wept and appeared close to fainting before quitting her doubles match with sister Venus.
Serena, the world number one singles player, called the doctor to Court One just after she and Venus had warmed up for their second round match against Kristina Barrois and Stephanie Voegele.
She broke down in tears as she consulted with the doctor and physio before the tournament referee and supervisor were called to court in a reflection of her status in the sport.
After a 15-minute delay, Serena served up four double faults in her first service game, wobbled on the baseline before Venus led her back to her chair by the hand.
Umpire Kader Nouni, having already come down from his chair to talk to the Americans, announced that Serena was retiring from the match through illness with the sisters trailing 3-0.
Later Tuesday, the WTA Tour said that Serena was suffering from "a viral illness".
Sharapova and Serena's contrasting exits overshadowed the rest of the women's action on Tuesday as Czech 23rd seed Lucie Safarova cruised into her first Grand Slam semi-final with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Russian 22nd seed Ekaterina Makarova.
Safarova was playing in her first quarter-final at the majors since the 2007 Australian Open and showed no signs of being overawed in a ruthless 57- minute rout of the 22nd seed.
Safarova will face her compatriot Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, for a place in the final.
Sixth seed Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, ended the giant-killing run of Barbora Zahlavova Strycova with a 6-1, 7-5 victory in their quarter- final.
The 24-year-old took 88 minutes to see off world number 43 Zahlavova Strycova, who came up short after defeating Chinese second seed Li Na and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki en route to the last eight.
Kvitova's clash against 23rd seed Safarova will mark the first time two Czech women have made the last four at a Grand Slam since Hana Mandlikova and Helena Sukova at the 1986 French Open.
Simona Halep booked her first Wimbledon quarter-final appearance as the Romanian third seed eased to a 6-3, 6-0 victory against Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas.
Halep's next opponent will be Sabine Lisicki after the German 19th seed shrugged off a shoulder injury to defeat Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in another weather-delayed tie.
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