London - Maria Sharapova suffered a shock
exit from Wimbledon on Monday as Germany's Sabine Lisicki avenged last
year's semi-final defeat with a 6-4, 6-3 fourth round victory over the
world number one.
Sharapova had romped to a straight sets win over
Lisicki in last year's semi-final at the All England Club, but the top
seed was completely out-played by the 15th seed this time.
25-year-old has been a finalist in three of the last four Grand Slams
and arrived at Wimbledon on a high after winning the French Open for the
first time earlier this month.
But she came back down to earth
with a bump on Court One as Lisicki, beaten in the first round in her
four pre-Wimbledon tournaments, produced one of the best performances of
Lisicki will play four-time Grand Slam champion Kim
Clijsters or German eighth seed Angelique Kerber for a place in the last
"It's just unbelievable. I'm so happy. I had lost the last
three meetings with her, so it's nice to finally win one," Lisicki said.
"I just went for my shots out there. I felt great, it's my favourite tournament. I love the crowd and playing on grass.
"I'm fighter and I fight to the last game. I think I'm getting better with each match."
warning signs had been there for Sharapova, who won Wimbledon as a
17-year-old in 2004, as she hadn't been at her dominant best in the
She had to survive a hard-fought clash with Tsvetana
Pironkova before finally winning in three sets in the second round and
it soon became clear Lisicki, pumped up to avenge last year's defeat,
would pose her plenty of problems.
Lisicki has always thrived at
Wimbledon, reaching the last four as a wild card last year and making a
quarter-final appearance in 2009.
The big-hitting 22-year-old,
dubbed 'Doris Becker' by German media for her powerful style, was
quickly into her stride and broke for a 3-1 lead in the first set.
when nerves got the better of Lisicki as she served for the set,
allowing Sharapova to break, it was the German's response that impressed
as she came out all guns blazing and broke straight back to take the
set at the second attempt.
Rain halted play with Sharapova 30-15 up on Lisicki's serve in the first game of the second set.
the 45-minute delay did little to improve Sharapova's mindset and a
double-fault presented Lisicki with two break points, which the German
gratefully converted at the first attempt with a blistering forehand
China's Li Na once described Lisicki as 'serving like a
man' and the German was keeping Sharapova firmly on the back foot with
her howitzer deliveries.
Sharapova is usually able to hit her way
out of trouble against most opponents, but she was rendered increasingly
impotent by Lisicki's power play.
When it came to serve for the match, Sharapova might have hoped for Lisicki to crack under pressure.
German squandered one match point with a miscued forehand and couldn't
take her second either, but a huge ace sealed victory and she fell to
her knees in jubilation.