Friday, April 20, 2018
Sports

Maria Sharapova falls to Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England — There was a frenzy of activity at a wet and windy All England Club on Monday.

Top seed and 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, a big hitter, was overpowered in a 6-4, 6-3 loss to No. 15 seed Sabine Lisicki. Four-time title winner Serena Williams needed three sets to oust 65th-ranked Yaroslava Shvedova, a wild card coming off of a rare feat. No. 8 Angelique Kerber ended Kim Clijsters' last Wimbledon 6-1, 6-1.

And on Centre Court, 16-time Grand Slam champ Roger Federer took a medical timeout to get a trainer's treatment for his aching back.

The start of Week 2 is dubbed "Manic Monday" at the only major that schedules all 16 fourth-round singles matches on one day. It sure lived up to that moniker this year, even if rain prevented five of the eight men's matches from finishing.

The most newsworthy result was the abrupt end of Sharapova's bid to become the first woman since Williams in 2002 to win the French Open and Wimbledon in one year. Less than a month after capping a career Slam to return to No. 1, Sharapova bowed out and will be replaced atop the rankings next week.

"Nothing is easy. Certainly not a Wimbledon title," Sharapova said. "So I don't know if it's easier or tougher now than it was years ago, but I don't think it's ever easier."

Lisicki used flat, powerful groundstrokes and had six aces. Dallas Mavericks star and fellow German Dirk Nowitzki cheered her from her Court 1 guest box.

"That's my game, to serve well and be aggressive. … I think it worked well," Lisicki said.

Federer, seeking a seventh title, beat Xavier Malisse 7-6 (7-1), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 to reach a 33rd consecutive major quarterfinal, extending his record. After the seventh game, Federer got help for his back. Afterward, the only noticeable difference was slower serves, though he capped the match with a 122 mph ace.

"Honestly, I'm not too worried. I've had bad backs over the years. I've been around. They go as quick as they came," he said.

Federer now faces No. 26 Mikhail Youzhny, against whom the Swiss star is 13-0. The only other man assured a spot in Wednesday's quarterfinals is No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who beat fellow Serb Viktor Troicki in straight sets.

Shvedova gave Williams, a 13-time major winner, all she could handle before losing 6-1, 2-6, 7-5. In the previous round Shvedova won every point — 24 of 24 — in the first set against Sara Errani, the first "golden set" by a woman in the 44-year Open era.

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