Serena out as Sharapova marches on

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Serena out as Sharapova marches on

Defending champion Serena Williams crashed out of Wimbledon as the former world number one suffered her earliest exit in six years against ninth seed Marion Bartoli.

By (AFP)

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Published: Mon 27 Jun 2011, 9:30 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:55 AM

Williams, who has only recently returned from a year-long layoff caused by injury and life-threatening health problems, was stunned 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) by fiery Frenchwoman Bartoli in a pulsating battle on Court One.

Although clearly not at her best, Williams showed trademark resilience in the second set as she saved four match points before Bartoli eventually held her nerve to wrap up victory in 1hr 57 mins.

“Beating Serena here is like a dream come true,” Bartoli said.

“She’s been out for a year but she is still one of the greatest champions in the history of women’s tennis. It was not easy mentally to hang on after she managed to save the match points but I did so I’m very happy.”

Four-time champion Williams was left to reflect on her first failure to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals since her third round exit in 2005.

Bartoli’s reward is a quarter-final against big-serving German wildcard Sabine Lisicki, who advanced to the last eight with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 dismissal of Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic.

Lisicki, who accounted for French Open champion Li Na in the second round, again served formidably, booming down eight aces with her fastest serve weighing in at a blistering 123 miles per hour.

Lisicki is now on course for a possible semi-final showdown with Russian fifth seed Maria Sharapova, who advanced to the quarter-finals after overcoming China’s Peng Shuai 6-4, 6-2.

The first set was a closely-fought affair with little between Sharapova and the Chinese number two, but the 2004 Wimbledon champion was able to impose herself much more in the second set against the 20th seed.

“It’s great,” Sharapova said after wrapping up victory in an hour and 21 minutes. “I’m giving myself an opportunity to go even further so I’m quite happy about that.

“I have to be realistic about the fact that I hadn’t gotten past the fourth round in a few years so this a step forward and it’s just about taking care of business in the next round.”

Sharapova faces either top seed Caroline Wozniacki or Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova in the quarter-finals.

In other side of the draw, Austrian world number 80 Tamira Paszek advanced to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time when she battled past Ksenia Pervak of Russia, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

Paszek faces Belarusian fourth seed Victoria Azarenka in the last eight. Azarenka breezed past Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-2 in just over an hour.

Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova skated past Belgian 19th seed Yanina Wickmayer 6-0, 6-2 in the other early fourth round match, and will face either Venus Williams or Tsvetana Pironkova in the last eight.

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