Sharapova crashes to stunning Wimbledon exit
Maria Sharapova suffered a humiliating second round exit at Wimbledon on Thursday as the former champion was beaten 6-2, 6-4 by fellow Russian and world number 154 Alla Kudryavtseva.
Sharapova, the third seed, tumbled out of the tournament she won in 2004 after a lacklustre display on Court One, the AFP reported.
The pin-up of the women's game had reached at least the fourth round on all five of her previous visits to the All England Club, but she could have no complaints after being over-powered by her compatriot, who now plays China's Peng Shuai.
It was the performance of a lifetime from Kudryavtseva.
She has never been past the third round of a Grand Slam and this was only her second singles victory at Wimbledon.
But for Sharapova it was an hour and 23 minutes of misery and a another crushing disappointment after her fourth round defeat to Dinara Safina at the French Open.
Sharapova, once again playing in her 'tuxedo' top and shorts combo, found it hard to get into her stride from the start and had to save a break point in her second service game.
If that was a warning that Sharapova shouldn't take Kudryavtseva lightly, she didn't heed it.
Pressured by her compatriot's huge groundstrokes, the Australian Open champion was completely out of sorts and three double faults in the sixth game saw her fall 4-2 behind.
Kudryavtseva, 20, was growing in confidence and Sharapova, who had won their only previous meeting at the French Open last year, could muster little response.
Another wayward shot from Sharapova gave Kudryavtseva her first set point and she wasted no time converting it.
Sharapova needed a quick break to get back into the match in the second set and she got exactly that in the first game when a return on break point glanced off the net and trickled over.
But not even that stroke of luck could galvanise Sharapova and another double fault gave Kudryavtseva a break back.
When Sharapova berated herself after sending a forehand wide midway through the set, it was as if she could sense her impending demise. Kudryavtseva went for the kill and a perfect forehand earned a 4-2 lead.
With the match slipping out of reach, Sharapova managed to summon up a break back.
Still she didn't wake from her slumber and another double fault gave Kudryavtseva a match point, which she took with one last crushing forehand.