Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts during her women’s singles tennis match against Sabine Lisicki of Germany at Wimbledon. Sabine Lisicki of Germany celebrates after defeating Maria Sharapova of Russia at Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia, (left) embraces friend and countryman Viktor Troicki after their Wimbledon clash.
Novak Djokovic does a famous impersonation of Maria Sharapova, but there was little about his fellow No.1 today that Djokovic wished to imitate.
While Sharapova crashed out of the tournament she had been favoured to win, Djokovic, the men’s favourite, could scarcely have advanced more emphatically.
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On the day that Sharapova was beaten in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, by 15th seed Sabine Lisicki, Djokovic dominated his childhood friend and doubles partner Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 in a one-sided instalment of a rivalry that began back in Serbia when Troicki was nine and Djokovic one year his junior.
After Roger Federer, his main rival from the top half of the draw, had struggled with a back spasm early in his four-set win outdoors over Xavier Malisse, Djokovic waited for the centre court roof to be closed and then took just 90 minutes to join the Swiss in the last eight.
“I returned really well; I served great. The baseline game, I was patient and waiting for a chance to be aggressive. Everything was quite compact, and I’m satisfied,” said Djokovic. “There is no secrets between us, and it is never easy to play your very good friend, someone you grew up with. But there had to be one loser.”
Still, on a rain-interrupted day, there were only three men’s winners from the round-of-16. Of the incomplete matches, Andy Murray leads Marin Cilic by a set and a break, Mardy Fish is 6-4, 1-1 against fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Richard Gasquet trails Florian Mayer, while the two remaining matches are yet to start.
The only certain quarter-final match-up is between Federer and his 13-time whipping boy, Mikhail Youhzny. “I never beat him, so it’s why I’m happy, because I will play against him. I will have one more chance, ”
While Federer will appreciate another rest day to recover from his latest back spasm, the women will back-up immediately for a quarter-final round in which titleholder Petra Kvitova meets her predecessor Serena Williams in a rematch of the 2010 semi-final the American won 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.
Following top seed Sharapova’s ejection by Lisicki, the last two former champions in the field were both pushed to three sets in their round-of-16 appetisers, but the contrast was that Williams struggled after a great start against wildcard Yaroslava Shvedova, while Kvitova finished strongly after a sloppy opening against Francesca Schiavone.
“The last matches I played so well and so quick, and today it’s about the fight,” Kvitova said. “I’m so happy that I showed that. It’s important. Tomorrow is different day, so I hope they will be better tomorrow.
“I think it will be huge match for both of us, and I’m looking forward to play against her. Looking forward to have a challenge. She is a great champion. She won many times here. I will try my best and we will see.”
Williams claimed not be be jaded after successive three-setters. “I had a year off, so I’m good. I’m really fit. I don’t feel tired at all. I feel so fresh. This match, it was long, but it wasn’t arduous, so I feel totally fine,” she said. “I feel like I can do a lot better, which is very comforting, because if this is my best I’m in trouble.” Kvitova, she said is “obviously a great grass court player, as well as I am. I’ll be ready”.
The 13-time major winner’s other issue was with the crowd control as she was escorted on the long journey back from remote court two. “I literally was almost knocked over today. The security, was tons of security guards in there just going nuts and screaming. I’ve never heard them scream so loud.”
Was she frightened? “No, I wasn’t scared. Nobody going to knock me over, for real. I’d like to see that happen.”
Germany is guaranteed a semi-finalist for the second consecutive year, and Kim Clijsters, who won just two games against Angelique Kerber in her Wimbledon farewell, slightly favours the eighth seed over the big-serving Lisicki.
“I definitely think she’s a better mover than Lisicki. Lisicki has a great serve, has a very good kind of first shot. She likes to hit that 1-2 shot, a good serve, then open up the court with the serve and really hits aggressive. I think Kerber is more of an all around player, plays really well, anticipates really well, but is a great mover. I think on grass it will be close. Then the whole German situation I think will probably have an effect, too.”
The remaining quarter-finals feature the two contenders to replace Sharapova at No.1: Victoria Azarenka against world No.38 Tamira Paszek, and Agnieszka Radwanska, who is yet to reach a grand slam semi despite her ranking of No.3, against 17th seed Maria Kirilenko.
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