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Lisicki ousts Sharapova in 4th round at Wimbledon
Lisicki, a 15th-ranked German, outplayed the 2004 Wimbledon champion in the wind and rain on Court 1 for her first career victory over Sharapova in four matches. She avenged last year’s loss to Sharapova in the Wimbledon semifinals.
Also advancing were four-time winner Serena Williams and defending champion Petra Kvitova, but four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters lost in what she says is her final Wimbledon before retirement later this year.
In men’s play, six-time champion Roger Federer was the first to reach the quarters, overcoming an early back problem to beat Xavier Malisse 7-6 (1), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 and extend his record for most consecutive Grand Slam final-eight appearances to 33.
Federer said his back started hurting in the first few games of the match but he felt much better after taking a medical timeout and receiving treatment.
“I feel way better than a few hours ago,” Federer said. “Honestly, I’m not too worried. I’ve had bad backs over the years. I just have to keep an eye on it now. … I hope I’ll be 100 percent on Wednesday.”
Sharapova, who won the French Open four weeks ago for her fourth Grand Slam title, is the biggest name knocked out of the tournament since two-time men’s champion Rafael Nadal was upset last week by Lukas Rosol.
After smacking a second-serve ace of 108 mph down the middle on her third match point, Lisicki collapsed to her knees on the grass and shook both fists. Among those cheering for Lisicki in the guest box was German NBA star Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Lisicki said. “For the third time I’ve beaten the French Open champion here. I’m just so happy. I’ve lost the three previous meetings against her. Now I just played well and beat her for the first time.”
“I just went for my shots. Really from the first point on I felt great out there,” Lisicki said. “It’s my favorite tournament, I love playing on grass, I love the crowd here. I just love it.”
Lisicki will next face fellow German and No. 8 Angelique Kerber, who drubbed Clijsters 6-1, 6-1. The 47th-ranked Belgian has said she is retiring after this year’s U.S. Open _ this time for good, having returned to the sport in 2009 after a two-year break. Clijsters, who has been dogged by injuries this year, walked off Court 3 with a brief wave. Third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska also advanced, beating Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-3.
Leading Malisse 4-3 in the opening set, Federer called for a medical timeout and left Centre Court with the trainer for treatment in the locker room. When play resumed eight minutes later, Federer didn’t seem visibly affected _ although the speed on his first serve lacked its usual velocity.
Still, in the final game, Federer hit two serve winners and closed the match with a 122 mph ace. He’ll next play Mikhail Youzhny, who beat Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in five sets.
“I felt the back going at the beginning of the first set,” Federer said. “It must be a mix of maybe the five-setter (against Julien Benneteau in the third round), two days off, the cold wind today. I was unlucky in this regard. Fortunately, I pulled out the match today.”
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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