And they came tumbling down

Sharapova biggest casualty as players ‘fall’ on grass; Azarenka asks for a study of courts

Written by Agencies | London | Published: June 27, 2013 3:39 am

Maria Sharapova has been knocked out of Wimbledon by a 131st-ranked qualifier on a day when injuries forced the withdrawal or retirement of seven other players.

The third-seeded Sharapova,the Wimbledon champion in 2004 champion,lost 6-3 6-4 to Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal in the second round at the All England Club. It’s the second significant upset of the tournament,which is only in Day 3. Two-time men’s champion Rafael Nadal was beaten on Monday by 135th-ranked Steve Darcis.

Sharapova slipped and fell several times on the grass on Court 2 and received medical treatment from the trainer in the second set.The women’s tournament also lost second-seeded Victoria Azarenka,who withdrew before her match with a knee injury.

Azarenka called on Wimbledon organisers to examine the state of the courts. The Belarussian took a bad fall in her first-round match on Monday on what she called a slippery Court One and her knee failed to recover in time for Wednesday’s match against Flavia Pennetta as she became one of eight players to pull out so far.

“I don’t know if it’s the court or the weather I can’t figure it out it,” Azarenka,who joined John Isner,Marin Cilic,Radek Stepanek,Steve Darcis,Guido Pella,Philipp Kohlschreiber,Caroline Wozniacki,Jo Wilfred Tsonga and Romina Oprandi in cutting short the Wimbledon campaign.

“It would be great if the (All England) club or somebody who takes care of the court just would examine or try to find an issue so that wouldn’t happen.”

It is the first edition of the tournament since the retirement of long-time head groundsman Eddie Seaward but a Wimbledon spokesman said there was nothing different about the courts this year. “The surfaces at the start (of the tournament) are always lusher than at the end,” he said. “We have not changed the way the courts have been prepared or watered.”

Fifteen minutes into Wednesday’s action at Wimbledon,John Isner retired from his second-round match against Adrian Mannarino of France with a knee injury. Before it was even 5 p.m here,a knee injury had forced No. 6 seed Tsonga to quit his match against Ernests Gulbis after three sets; Radek Stepanek had retired with a hamstring injury; and No. 10 men’s seed Marin Cilic had withdrawn with a knee injury. Ninth-seeded Wozniacki kept playing after injured her right ankle early in her match against Petra Cetkovska,but lost,6-2,6-2.

“Very black day,” Cilic said.

Darcis said in a news conference that he was not sure when he was hurt,but that he thought it was in the middle of the first set against Nadal,when he dove for a ball in the seventh game. He said he felt fine the rest of the match,but hours after the match,he was in severe pain and could not sleep.

Darcis was to play Lukasz Kubot in the second round late Wednesday afternoon. He said there was inflammation and fluid in his shoulder,and received physical therapy and an injection Tuesday. But on Wednesday,he could not serve or hit forehands,so he decided to withdraw.

Isner said he was injured in the third point of the match,when he was serving,“I didn’t do anything different,” he said. “I just go to serve and land on my left leg,like I have done 20 million times playing this game,and this is the first time I just felt this,like,sharp pain.” “It’s tough to think about,” he said. “ I had a good chance to go pretty far here.”

Results: 22-Juan Monaco (Argentina) bt Rajeev Ram (USA) 5-7,6-2,6-4,6-2;Jurgen Melzer (Austria) bt Julian Reister (Germany) 3-6,7-6(2),7-6(5),6-2;2-Andy Murray (Britain) bt Lu Yen-Hsun (Taiwan) 6-3,6-3,7-5; 32-Tommy Robredo (Spain) bt Nicolas Mahut (France) 7-6(3),6-1,7-6(5); 20-Mikhail Youzhny (Russia) bt Vasek Pospisil (Canada) 6-2,6-7(3),7-6(7),3-6,6-4; Ernests Gulbis (Latvia) bt 6-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) 3-6,6-3,6-3,0-0 (Tsonga retired); Fernando Verdasco (Spain) bt 31-Julien Benneteau (France) 7-6(1),7-6(4),6-4; 15-Nicolas Almagro (Spain) bt Guillaume Rufin (France) 7-5,6-7(6),6-3,6-4;25-Benoit Paire (France) bt Stephane Robert (France) 6-4,7-5,6-4; Kenny De Schepper (France) bt 10-Marin Cilic (Croatia) WO;Dustin Brown (Germany) bt Lleyton Hewitt (Australia) 6-4,6-4,6-7(3),6-2;Viktor Troicki (Serbia) bt Andrey Kuznetsov (Russia) 6-4,6-3,6-4;24-Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) bt Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic) 6-2,5-3 (Stepanek retired);Lukasz Kubot (Poland) bt Steve Darcis (Belgium)WO;Adrian Mannarino (France) bt 18-John Isner (U.S.) 1-1 (Isner retired)

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