Wimbledon: Sharapova, Kvitova Make Shock Exits

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There was a double shock at Wimbledon, as Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova were upset by a qualifier and player who had lost her last five matches on grass, respectively.

Sharapova blew a huge lead and was bundled out by 132nd-ranked Vitalia Diatchenko 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 as light faded, with Kvitova exiting hours earlier in warm sunshine against 50th-ranked Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4 4-6 6-0.

Even though Sharapova pulled out of a Wimbledon warmup in Birmingham last month, citing the need to “take care” of her body, few could have predicted the 2004 champion departing Tuesday to her Russian compatriot.

Sharapova had never lost in the first round in 13 previous Wimbledons, while the free swinging Diatchenko had never won a main draw match on grass in the top tier.

Furthermore, the 27-year-old Diatchenko — beset by shoulder, Achilles and knee injuries in her career — had only ever beaten a top-50 player once before in 2014.

Making her return to Wimbledon after a drug suspension ruled her out in 2016 and an injury led to a qualifying withdrawal last year, Sharapova looked on course for victory with a set and 5-2 advantage. Then in the third set, the five-time grand slam winner was up by a break at 4-3.

But as was the case at the French Open, Sharapova had trouble holding on to the lead and this time paid the price.

Her 11th and final double fault came on match point.



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