Maria Sharapova joined the list of big-name casualties in the Wimbledon women’s singles when she was beaten 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4 in the last 16 by Germany’s Angelique Kerber.
Both players had been out of action since Saturday, after bad weather meant their fourth-round clash was postponed, and it was Kerber who was quicker into her stride, leading throughout the first set.
The Russian seemed to be favourite to book a quarter-final place but Kerber, defending for all her worth to keep the more powerful Sharapova at bay, moved into a 5-2 lead in the decider.
Sharapova saved a match point at 2-5 and Kerber’s nerve failed her at 5-3 as she served a double-fault on the way to dropping her serve.
The real drama was saved until the end though as Sharapova saved five more match points and looked poised to complete a remarkable comeback.
Kerber would not be denied though and was celebrating when Sharapova fired a backhand long.
The German will have to recover quickly as she faces Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard for a place in the semis 2 July.
Halep breezes through
French Open runner-up Simona Halep breezed into the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.
The third-seeded Romanian needed just 57 minutes to beat the 72nd-ranked Diyas, who was playing at Wimbledon for the first time.
Halep is the second Romanian woman to reach the quarter-finals at the All England Club, joining Virginia Ruzici, who made it to the final eight in 1978 and 1981. Ruzici is now Halep’s manager.
Halep has reached the quarter-finals at all three Grand Slams this year and is the only player among the top four seeds left in the draw.
Her next opponent will be 2013 finalist Sabine Lisicki of Germany, who overcame shoulder trouble to defeat Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours.
The 19th-seeded Lisicki took an injury timeout while facing break point at 1-1 in the second set and was treated by a trainer on her right shoulder in an error-strewn match.