LONDON (Reuters) - Third seed Maria Sharapova was sent packing at Wimbledon on Thursday, humbled 6-2 6-4 by an inspired Alla Kudryavtseva in an all-Russian second round battle on Court One.
The 2004 champion’s game fell apart against one of the lesser lights of the powerful Russian brigade at the grasscourt grand slam and she followed men’s third seed Novak Djokovic out of the tournament early.
Sharapova’s defeat registered higher up the shock scale than Djokovic’s battering by former world number one Marat Safin 24 hours earlier because the 20-year-old Kudryavtseva is ranked 154th in the world and has never made a mark at a grand slam.
Sharapova, also a former number one, served atrociously throughout the match and many of her eight double faults came at crucial moments.
The last one gave Kudryavtseva a match point which she grabbed with both hands, pummelling a forehand into the corner before shrieking with delight at the biggest triumph of her unspectacular career.
“All losses are disappointing,” Australian Open champion Sharapova told reporters. “It just wasn’t my day.
“Some days they don’t bounce where you want them to bounce and they don’t land where you want them to land.”
A woeful smash into the net put her in trouble in her opening service game and although she escaped on that occasion the warning signs were flashing when she again had to save break points two games later.
At 2-3, 30-30 Sharapova gave Kudryavtseva yet another opportunity after serving a double fault and this time she was not so lucky, slipping 4-2 behind after being wrong-footed.
Serving to stay in the set at 2-5 Sharapova offered little resistance as Kudryavtseva, whose father was a world champion Greco-Roman wrestler, closed it out in 32 minutes with a nerveless forehand into an empty court.
Sharapova spluttered briefly back to life to lead 2-0 in the second set but the retaliation fizzled out with the loss of the next four games. Sharapova clawed back to 4-4 but when she served at 4-5 even a lucky net cord failed to help her as Kudryavtseva showed remarkable coolness to finish the job.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Clare Lovell
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