Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

It's agony at Wimbledon as star names slide out

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki holds her ankle after slipping during her match against Czech Republic's Petra Cetkovska
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki holds her ankle after slipping during her match against Czech Republic's Petra Cetkovska

The shock departure of a host of top players has led to a day of major upsets at Wimbledon – with even the lush grass on court causing controversy.

Injury troubles and unexpected defeats made it one of the most exciting for fans – although the players seemed to spend as much time picking themselves up off the court as they did returning serve.

Seven players in total were forced to pull out of Wimbledon yesterday due to injury, as the stars took turns to tumble.

Andy Murray's dreams of clinching his first Wimbledon title edged a step closer as seven-time champion Roger Federer crashed out.

Britain's last remaining women's singles hopeful Laura Robson, who plays her second round match today, tweeted: "Craziest day at Wimbledon ever?"

World number three Maria Sharapova is also out while Caroline Wozniacki, Rory McIlroy's girlfriend and Denmark's former world number one, failed to get past the second round.

The Dane – now ranked number nine in the world – had spoken of her hopes that golf world number two Rory would see her in action at next week after the Irish Open.

Following on from former champion Rafael Nadal's unexpected first round loss on Monday it appears to be anyone's championship this year at the All England Club.

The biggest shock of the day came when Federer was beaten by Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in a match which ended the Swiss player's run of 36 consecutive grand slam quarter-final appearances.

His wife Mirka appeared to wipe tears from her eyes following his loss to the relatively unknown player, ranked 116 in the world.

The defeat is Federer's earliest at Wimbledon since he was beaten in the first round in 2002.

Another threat to Murray, sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, retired from his second-round match with Ernests Gulbis with a knee injury.

Maria Sharapova crashed out following a noisy match in which she strained a muscle after losing her footing on three occasions.

Sharapova was seen mouthing what appeared to be the words: "This court is dangerous" during the match in which she tumbled to the ground three times. But afterwards she was reluctant to blame conditions on the court for her defeat.

Sharapova left the contest hours after second seed Victoria Azarenka pulled out because of an injured knee caused during a slip in her first round clash. Azarenka said: "The court was not in a very good condition. My opponent fell twice; I fell badly; there were some other people who fell after."

Caroline Wozniacki managed to carry on after suffering a foot injury early in her match against Kvitova's compatriot Petra Cetkovska.

But Wozniacki, with her movement affected, was well beaten, going down 6-2 6-2, and it was clear she put the result largely down to her injury.

"When you can't play at 100%, it's difficult," she said. "It's frustrating because you feel like you have some momentum. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I can play well on the grass."

The All England Club yesterday insisted the courts were no different from any other year and were always more "lush" during the early stages of the tournament.

Richard Lewis, chief executive of the All England Club, later issued a statement insisting the lawns were "as they should be".

"There has been a high number of withdrawals at the championships today and we sympathise with all the players affected," he said.

"There has been some suggestion that the court surface is to blame. We have no reason to think this is the case. Indeed, many players have complimented us on the good condition of the courts."

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