THE two players seen as posing the biggest threats to defending champion Serena Williams bowed out of Wimbledon yesterday as Maria Sharapova lost and Victoria Azarenka was defeated by injury.
In a stunning afternoon upset on Court Two, Portugal’s Michelle Larcher De Brito won 6-3, 6-4 against third seed and former champion Sharapova, who was impeded by what appeared to be a hip injury after falling awkwardly.
The normally fiery Russian looked listless and out of sorts. She needed treatment after twisting her knee in the second set when she fell awkwardly.
“I don’t think I’ve ever fallen three times in a match before, so that was a little strange,” the 26-year-old said. “But that’s certainly not an excuse.
“I think today I’ve seen a lot of players fall and take a few hits and a few injuries. So I think that’s just part of the game, part of what we have to deal with.”
Second seed Azarenka did not make it as far as her Centre Court date with Italian Flavia Pennetta, as the knee injury she sustained in her first-round victory over Maria Joao Koehler on Monday caused her to pull out.
“It is very tough,” Azarenka said. “I could not be any more disappointed.”
The 2011 champion Petra Kvitova was the beneficiary of another withdrawal, as Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan failed to show for her appointment with the Czech as a result of an injury.
Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark’s former world No 1, managed to carry on after suffering a foot injury early in her match against Kvitova’s compatriot Petra Cetkovska. But Wozniacki, with her movement affected, was well beaten, going down 6-2 6-2, and it was clear she put the result largely down to her injury.
“When you can’t play at 100 per cent, it’s difficult. It’s frustrating because you feel like you have some momentum. I feel like I’m hitting the ball well. I can play well on the grass,” Wozniacki said. “There’s not really much you can do about those things.”
Canadian Eugenie Bouchard knocked out Serbian 12th seed Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-3, and Puerto Rican Monica Puig followed her first-round win over fifth seed Sara Errani by ousting Spain’s Silvia Soler Espinosa 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
American Sloane Stephens beat Andrea Petkovic after a long battle, coming through 7-6 (7/2), 2-6, 8-6 against the German.