Maria Sharapova suffered a shock exit at a windswept and chilly Wimbledon on Monday as Germany's Sabine Lisicki avenged last year's semifinal defeat with a 6-4, 6-3 fourth round victory over the world number one.
Sharapova had romped to a straight sets win over Lisicki in last year's semifinal at the All England Club, but the top seed was completely out-played by the 15th seed this time.
The 25-year-old arrived at Wimbledon on a high after winning the French Open for the first time earlier this month. But she came back down to earth as Lisicki produced one of the best performances of her career.Lisicki will play German eighth seed Angelique Kerber for a place in the last four.
“It’s just unbelievable. I’m so happy. I had lost the last three meetings with her, so it's nice to finally win one,” Lisicki said.
“I just went for my shots out there. I felt great, it's my favourite tournament. I love the crowd and playing on grass.
“I'm fighter and I fight to the last game.”
The warning signs had been there for Sharapova as she hadn't been at her dominant best in the first week.
She survived a scare against Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round and it soon became clear Lisicki, pumped up to avenge last year's defeat, would pose her plenty of problems.
The big-hitting 22-year-old, dubbed ‘Doris Becker’ by German media for her powerful style, was quickly into her stride and broke for a 3-1 lead in the first set.
Even when nerves got the better of Lisicki as she served for the set, allowing Sharapova to break, it was the German's response that impressed as she came out all guns blazing.
Li Na once described Lisicki as 'serving like a man' and the German was keeping Sharapova firmly on the back foot with her howitzer deliveries.