Three-time finalist Andy Roddick crashed out of Wimbledon in the third round as the American was beaten 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 by Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.
Roddick had won all seven of his previous seven meetings with Lopez, but the last of those encounters on grass at Queen’s earlier this month suggested the eighth seed wouldn’t have it all his own way on Centre Court.
Lopez, twice a Wimbledon quarter-finalist, served brilliantly and stopped Roddick establishing his power-game. Roddick has now failed to get past the fourth round in three of his last four visits to Wimbledon.
“Even leading two sets to love I knew that he would still be a great fighter as he is such a great player,” said Lopez.
“It’s a very important win.”
Sharapova survives scare
Fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova recovered from 4-1 down in the first set to reach the third round with a 7-6 , 6-3 win over gutsy British teenager Laura Robson.
But she faced a real test in the opening exchanges, as well as the closing stages, against 17-year-old Robson, ranked 254 in the world and playing on a wildcard.
“She started so well. She was going for her shots and serving well that I couldn’t get too many looks on her first serve,” said Sharapova.
Meanwhile, Venus Williams overpowered Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-0, 6-2 to reach the fourth round. The American and five-time champion, seeded 23rd after injury problems, bombarded her Spanish opponent with a series of powerful serves and groundstrokes.
The 31-year-old Williams, who had looked rusty in the early rounds, will play Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, who knocked out second-seed Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-3, in the last-16.
Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki eased into the third round defeating France’s Virginie Razzano 6-1, 6-3 and next faces Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova for a last-16 place.
The 20-year-old Wozniacki, who has yet to get beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon had no trouble in beating Razzano for the fifth time in five meetings.
Federer in a hurry
Earlier, Roger Federer scorched into the third round, dropping just seven games in a brisk straight sets dismissal of French journeyman Adrian Mannarino.
The Swiss former world number one served notice that he is in prime form as he chases a record seventh Wimbledon crown after routing Mannarino 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in just under 90 minutes to delight the Centre Court faithful.
“I think I served great in the beginning and was able to sort of keep that going for the remainder of the match,” said Federer.
Federer was joined in the third round by fifth-seed Robin Soderling, who overcame Lleyton Hewitt 6-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 in a thrilling five-setter.
Li crashes out
Chinese superstar Li Na became another casualty at Wimbledon she was humbled in the second round by German wildcard Sabine Lisicki, losing 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 after squandering two match points in the decisive set.
The Chinese third seed struggled to cope with the power of her big-hitting 21-year-old rival.
“From the first point until the end of the match, every serve was like 117mph. It’s impossible for women,” Li said afterwards.
Victorious Serena blasts organisers
Defending champion Serena Williams booked her place in the third round after coming from behind to defeat Romanian teenager Simona Halep 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
But Williams appeared to accuse tournament organisers of sexism after being unimpressed with the decision to schedule her match on Court Two.
“They like to put us on Court Two, me and Venus, for whatever reason. I haven’t figured it out yet. Maybe one day we’ll figure it out,” said Serena.
“They [Nadal and Djokovic] are never moved across. Actually, Venus and I have won more Wimbledons together than a lot of the players or by ourselves in doubles even.
“I don’t want to make it a big issue, but I think at some point maybe I should.”
Meanwhile, Wozniacki was the latest woman to be scheduled away from the All England Club’s two main show courts.
“It’s up to the tournament to decide where we’re going to play,” she said.
“I just go out there and I try to win. I’m a competitor, so it really doesn’t matter. The court is the same and the size is the same. I just go out there and play.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2011.