Tsonga retires with injured knee; Murray stays upright to move into third round
Former Wimbledon champion and third seed Maria Sharapova slid to a shock second-round exit on Wednesday when she was beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Portuguese qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito.
The tall Russian, who won the grasscourt Grand Slam in 2004 as a 17-year-old, slipped over a couple of times during the match and received lengthy treatment after a particularly nasty fall in the seventh game of the second set.
Even before the tumble, which was very similar to the one that ended up forcing second seed Victoria Azarenka to withdraw with a knee injury, Sharapova was outplayed by the World No. 131 who sealed victory on her fifth match point when her opponent netted a forehand.
After claiming victory, the 20-year-old de Brito clearly had some sympathy for her opponent. “There is lot of grass that’s been cut and not been swept up. There is a lot of dead grass, so it’s not been easy,” she told the BBC. “It’s a tough court to play on.”
Former World No. 1 Sharapova never looked happy on Court Two against a tenacious opponent, who shares the same noisy style of play as the four-time Grand Slam champion and hails from the same Florida tennis academy.
While being treated in the second set after a tumble that left her clutching her hip, Sharapova appeared to complain to the umpire that the surface was “dangerous”.
She went off court to continue treatment and resumed after a near 10-minute stoppage, but the Russian, who seemed to struggle with her serve in an all-round error-ridden performance, could not avoid one of her worst results at the All England Club.
With ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki and 12th seed Ana Ivanovic both losing, the lower half of the women’s draw is now seriously short of big names.
On the men’s side, French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was forced to retire from his second round match against Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis with a knee injury.
The 28-year-old Tsonga, a semifinalist in 2012, needed a medical timeout to have his left knee taped just after he had dropped the second set 6-3.
Tsonga had won the first set 6-3. But when he dropped the third set, also 6-3, he gave up.
However, it was smooth sailing for Britain’s Andy Murray as he despatched Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 with maximum efficiency to reach the third round at Wimbledon. The second seed came into the match having suffered a chastening defeat by the 75th ranked Lu at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and for the first handful of games it looked like he might be in for a testing afternoon.
Any potential for an upset was realistically quashed, however, when Murray broke in the sixth game of the first set. He then broke twice more in the second and came out on top in a nip and tuck third.
Meanwhile, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza, along with their respective partners, advanced to the second round of the doubles. Another Indian, who enjoyed a winning day, was Rohan Bopanna.
Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who are seeded 14th, defeated Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen and Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 in their men’s doubles opener.
Bhupathi and his partner Julian Knowle beat Leonardo Mayer and Alberto Ramos to also move to the second round, while the sixth seeded Indo-US pair of Sania and Liezel Huber put paid to the hopes of Czech Republic’s Renata Voracova and Klara Zakopalova in the women’s doubles event.
Men: Second round: 22-Juan Monaco bt Rajeev Ram 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2; Ernests Gulbis bt 6-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 retired.; Fernando Verdasco bt 31-Julien Benneteau 7-6(1), 7-6(4), 6-4; 15-Nicolas Almagro bt Guillaume Rufin 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4; 25-Benoit Paire bt Stephane Robert 6-4, 7-5, 6-4; Kenny de Schepper w/o 10-Marin Cilic; Dustin Brown bt Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-2; Viktor Troicki bt Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; 24-Jerzy Janowicz bt Radek Stepanek 6-2, 5-3 retired; Lukasz Kubot w/o Steve Darcis; Adrian Mannarino bt 18-John Isner 1-1 retired.
Jurgen Melzer bt Julian Reister 6-3, 7-6(2), 7-7(5); 2-Andy Murray bt Lu Yen-Hsun 6-3, 6-3, 7-5; 32-Tommy Robredo bt Nicolas Mahut 7-6(3), 6-1, 7-6(5); 20-Mikhail Youzhny bt Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-7(3), 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-4.
Doubles: First round: 8-Mahesh Bhupathi & Julian Knowle bt Leonardo Mayer & Albert Ramos 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2.
Women: Second round: 20-Kirsten Flipkens bt Bojana Jovanovski 6-4, 6-4; Monica Puig bt Silvia Soler 6-2, 5-7, 6-4; 19-Carla Suarez Navarro bt Mirjana Lucic 1-6, 6-3, 6-3; 29-Alize Cornet bt Su-Wei Hsieh 6-3, 6-2; Flavia Pennetta w/o 2-Victoria Azarenka; Petra Cetkovska bt 9-Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-2; Eugenie Bouchard bt 12-Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-3; Karin Knapp bt 27-Lucie Safarova 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Eva Birnerova bt Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 6-4.
Michelle Larcher De Brito bt 3-Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-4; 17-Sloane Stephens bt Andrea Petkovic 7-6(2), 2-6, 8-6.
Petra Kvitova w/o Yaroslava Shvedova; 25-Ekaterina Makarova bt Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-4.
Doubles: Sania Mirza & Liezel Huber bt Renata Voracova & Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.