Sharapova crashed out of Wimbledon
LONDON: Third seed and 2004 champion Maria Sharapova
crashed out of Wimbledon on Wednesday, losing 6-3, 6-4 in the second round to Portuguese qualifier Michelle Larcher De Brito, the world number 131.
Sharapova’s defeat came just hours after second seed Victoria Azarenka withdrew from the tournament with a knee injury.
But it was a controversial exit for Sharapova who twice slipped and fell on Court Two.
She needed a medical timeout to treat her left hip after the eighth game of the second set and complained to the umpire that the surface was dangerous.
Larcher De Brito had hit the headlines in 2009 when, as a precocious 16-year-old, she was widely-criticised for her on-court grunting which some rivals condemned as unsporting.
The controversy did her career little good as she virtually disappeared off the radar and her ranking slumped.
But honing the skills and screams she perfected at the same Bollettieri academy home of Sharapova, she capitalised on her famous rival’s obvious discomfort at having to play on Court Two.
The Russian pleaded that the conditions were too treacherous but the match continued.
“I saw how she fell pretty hard and I know these grass courts can be really slippery and can be quite dangerous,” said Larcher De Brito, who took victory on a fifth match point.
“There’s a lot of grass that’s been cut that didn’t get swept off so
there’s a lot of dead grass on the top and it made it quite slippery.”
Larcher De Brito goes on to face Karin Knapp of Italy for a place in the last 16. (AFP)