Sharapova, Roddick upset at Wimbledon
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
WIMBLEDON, England ” Moments after Maria Sharapova walked off the court in defeat, her father stomped away from the stadium down a Wimbledon walkway, spitting out words in Russian as he gestured to a companion.
Upon climbing a stairway to the players’ patio, Yuri Sharapov encountered the father of two other former Wimbledon champions, Richard Williams. They shook hands without a word, and Williams began to giggle at the seething Sharapov, who couldn’t resist cracking a rare smile.
They belong to an exclusive club of dads who know what it’s like to watch their little girl flop as the world watches. Sharapov endured the experience Thursday, when his daughter lost 6-2, 6-4 in the second round to Alla Kudryavtseva, a fellow Russian ranked 154th.
“There’s only one winner in the tournament, and everybody else is disappointed,” Sharapova said. “I’m one of them.”
While Sharapova never really gave herself a chance, missed opportunities doomed Andy Roddick. The two-time Wimbledon runner-up went 0-for-8 converting break points, squandered three set points in the final set and lost to Janko Tipsarevic 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (4).
“Any chance I got, I pretty much just choked it,” Roddick said. “It’s like you want something so bad you almost squeeze too tight.”
Other title contenders gave their parents more to cheer about. No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal showed a rare flash of anger at a questionable call in the opening set but regained his composure to beat 19-year-old Ernests Gulbis 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (2), 6-3. Williams’ daughter, Venus, seeking her fifth Wimbledon title, needed 26 points to win a single game but eventually shook stubborn Anne Keothavong of Britain, 7-5, 6-2.
Venus and sister Serena also won their second-round doubles match shortly after being named to the U.S. Olympic team.
But 1999 Wimbledon champion Lindsay Davenport withdrew before her second-round match because of a lingering knee injury. Davenport, back at Wimbledon for the first time in three years after becoming a mother, said she still expects to play in the Olympics.
American men went 0-for-3. The elimination of Roddick, Jesse Levine and Olympian James Blake left the United States with one player in the third round of gentlemen’s singles: No. 102-ranked Bobby Reynolds.
U.S. fans might want to claim Kudryavtseva, who was born in Moscow but lives in Boca Raton, Fla. She sent Sharapova to her earliest exit at a Grand Slam tournament since 2003.
Adding insult to the result, Kudryavtseva trashed the tuxedo-style ensemble worn by Sharapova that had been the talk of the tournament.
“I don’t like her outfit,” Kudryavtseva said. “It’s a little too much of everything. … It was one of the motivations to beat her.”
Spraying shots from the start, cover girl Sharapova disproved the adage that anybody looks good in a tux. The 2004 Wimbledon champion had eight double-faults, including three in one game, and wore the net out with her groundstrokes.
“I guess it wasn’t my day,” Sharapova said. “I was just pretty tentative.”
And why was that?
“Not sure. Very good question. A question I’ll be asking myself later today.”
The second-ranked Sharapova won her third Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January but has experienced dismal defeats at two major events this month. She blew a big lead in a fourth-round loss to Dinara Safina at the French Open.
Kudryavtseva, the daughter of a world champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, has been ranked as high as 59th. She came within two points of upsetting Venus Williams in the first round last year.
“I was so close to winning, and then just played a little too passive in the end,” Kudryavtseva said. “So today I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to do the same mistake again,’ so I went for my shots.”
In the final game, Sharapova shanked two shots, then double-faulted to reach match point. Kudryavtseva fulfilled her pledge to stay aggressive, smacking a forehand winner for the victory, then hopped backward toward the net with glee.
“She beat me, and it probably made her tournament,” Sharapova said.
Sharapova walked off wearing a frown and not her tuxedo warm-up jacket, which instead was tucked in her bag, not to be seen again in the tournament.
Also gone for good is the sixth-seeded Roddick, who failed three times to put returns in play when he had set points in the fourth set. When he chipped one of the returns awkwardly into the net, he cursed himself, and he was just as self-critical an hour after Tipsarevic closed out the upset.
“I just didn’t make anything happen out there,” Roddick said. “Zero, zero, zero.”
Tipsarevic advanced one day after fellow Serbian Novak Djokovic was upset in the second round by Marat Safin.
“This means the world to me,” Tipsarevic said. “I’m just glad that I won and Serbia will have more representatives in the men’s singles draw.”
The elimination of Roddick eases the path to the final for Nadal, seeking to become the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back.
Facing a tough second-round opponent in the precocious Gulbis, a French Open quarterfinalist, Nadal looked unusually edgy early. He threw a brief tantrum at 5-all in the first set when the chair umpire awarded a point to Gulbis, ruling the ball had bounced twice before Nadal hit it.
“I say, ‘That’s unbelievable how you can’t see something like this,'” Nadal said. “I said, ‘Probably your fault I’m going to lose the set.’ But … I lose the set because I played terrible, terrible next game.”
There was also a tense moment in the second set of the Williams match, when she and Keothavong exchanged shots at point-blank range. Keothavong ripped a backhand that hit Williams in the neck area.
“It hurt,” Williams said. “This is tennis. You’ve got to be ready for whatever. I’ve hit some people, too. That’s just how it goes sometimes. I don’t think she was aiming for me. And if she was, she didn’t tell me about it.”
It has been an eventful week for Williams, who was attacked by a bumblebee in her first match. But she’s into the third round without any stings or bruises, so who can blame her dad for giggling?
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