Bad day for Maria Sharapova as she bows to Lisicki

Bad day for  Maria Sharapova as she bows to Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki of Germany celebrates after defeating Maria Sharapova of Russia. (PHOTO Reuters)

July 03, 2012, Tuesday/ 16:44:00

Maria Sharapova has had better days, Roger Federer more mobile ones and local sun-hat sellers more profitable ones as Wimbledon’s manic on Monday turned into a bit of a damp squib after several days of nerve-shredding drama.

Beaten comfortably by Germany’s Sabine Lisicki, top seed Sharapova’s dream of a French Open/Wimbledon double ended in tatters under miserable gray skies and her world No.1 ranking looks almost certain to follow.

At least Federer is still standing, although for a while against erratic Belgian Xavier Malisse that seemed an effort in itself for the six-time champion. Struggling with a bad back in chilly conditions on Centre Court, the king of cool needed two undignified injury time-outs during a 7-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory that continued his remarkable run of grand slam quarterfinal appearances.

He remained on course for a semifinal against defending champion Novak Djokovic who thrashed fellow Serb Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. The pigeons were again looking nervously about after the safe return of Rufus, the club’s harrier hawk employed to scare them away who was stolen last week.

Feathers fluttering down from the Centre Court roof during second seed Victoria Azarenka’s 6-1 6-0 win over Ana Ivanovic may have been proof that Rufus, who resumes work on Tuesday, had been missed.

While the women’s quarterfinal line-up is complete, five men’s fourth-round matches were unfinished due to persistent rain in south west London.

Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova also beat the rain to set up a juicy last-eight clash in the women’s singles.

Williams, seeking a fifth Wimbledon singles title to equal the total of her sister Venus, scrambled through to the quarterfinals for the 10th time with a 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 win over powerful Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova.

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