Maria Sharapova is out of Wimbledon and could lose her No. 1 ranking after suffering a fourth-round defeat to big serving Sabine Lisicki on Monday.
Lisicki controlled the match from the outset, moving Sharapova around the court with her big groundstrokes, controlling her service games and maintaining enough composure to close out the match, 6-4, 6-3. The German hit a second-serve ace down the middle on her second match point to upset the reigning French Open champion.
The topsy-turvy WTA doesn't lend itself to big upsets and this was no exception. Lisicki has made the quarters and semis in her last two Wimbledon appearances. Her game is tailor-made for the quick grass courts and she seems to know it. She has a confidence on grass that escapes her when she moves to clay or hard courts. The injuries that have nagged her for her entire career seem to dissipate.
"I just went for my shots from the first point on," she told the BBC after the match. "I felt great out there. It's my favorite tournament. I love playing on grass. I love the crowd at here. I just love it."
This is the third straight Wimbledon in which Lisicki has defeated the reigning French Open champion. She beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2009 and Li Na in 2011. It's also the sixth straight Grand Slam in which the reigning champion has lost before the quarterfinals.
When new rankings are released after Wimbledon, Sharapova is assured of losing the No. 1 ranking if Victoria Azarenka wins on Monday. She'll try to avenge the loss at the Olympics, which will also be played on the grass courts of Wimbledon. Sharapova will carry the Russian flag at the Opening Ceremony.