Sharapova survives Robson; Roddick’s tournament ends with loss to LopezWIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Maria Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam champion, was not the player receiving unconditional adulation from the fans at Wimbledon on Friday. That distinction went to her British opponent, 17-year-old left-hander Laura Robson. However, Sharapova came away with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 win in the second round on Court 1.
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Maria Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam champion, was not the player receiving unconditional adulation from the fans at Wimbledon on Friday.
That distinction went to her British opponent, 17-year-old left-hander Laura Robson. However, Sharapova came away with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 win in the second round on Court 1.
“There will be many tournaments and many losses and many wins,” Sharapova said of Robson. “I think it will just be important to learn from the situations. And, yeah, obviously it’s great and it’s important to play in front of thousands of people with the support of the British crowd.”
The fifth-seeded Sharapova often reaps the benefits of the crowd. After all, she won the title at the All England Club in 2004, when she was only 17. But Robson, the 2008 junior champion at Wimbledon, is Britain’s new hope for a first singles champion since Virigina Wade won in 1977.
“It definitely helps because we had a really big crowd, and I had lots of support. I had all my family there and stuff,” Robson said. “So, I think it’s really easy to play well on a day like this where you’ve got a big stage, you’re playing against a top-10 player, especially someone like Maria.”
In the first set, it looked like Robson may have the potential to end the British drought. She led 4-1, and later led 4-2 in the tiebreaker, before losing the first set.
“I felt like I started off really slow and she started off really well,” said Sharapova, who was booed when she challenged a winner by Robson. “Quite the opposite of me, I think she was much more aggressive than I was in the beginning.”
Sharapova followed her Wimbledon championship with the U.S. Open title in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. But shoulder surgery in August 2008 kept her off the tour for nearly a year and knocked her down the rankings before she moved back up to No. 6 this year.
Still only 24, Sharapova said it was her experience that helped her get through Friday’s match.
Roddick exits Wimbledon in 3 sets in 3rd round
WIMBLEDON, England — Head bowed, Andy Roddick trudged off Centre Court, his purple Wimbledon towel dragging along the turf.
As the three-time runner-up at the All England Club headed for the exit, he passed some kids clamoring for an autograph from their front-row perch. Roddick paused and tossed his blue-framed racket underhand. Thanks to his latest earlier-than-anticipated Grand Slam loss, the American won’t be needing it next week.
The eighth-seeded Roddick departed quickly Friday, beaten 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2), 6-4 in the third round by unseeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain. Lopez served spectacularly well, hitting 28 aces, and finally got the better of the 2003 U.S. Open champion after losing all seven previous matches they played.
Roddick turns 29 in August, and he was asked whether, as the years go by, one particularly depressing thought creeps into his mind: He might never win Wimbledon.
“Well, sure. You’re human. I mean, of course it does,” he replied. Then, speaking directly to the reporter, Roddick added: “You know, you may never get your favorite job, either — no offense to your current employer.”
Because of rain, only two other third-round men’s matches finished Friday: No. 4 Andy Murray moved forward in his bid to give Britain its first male champion at Wimbledon since 1936, beating Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4) with the help of a behind-the-back, between-the-legs trick shot under the Centre Court roof; and No. 17 Richard Gasquet of France beat Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Murray plays Gasquet next.
Roddick is the highest-seeded man out of the tournament so far. Two of the top three women already are gone: No. 2 Vera Zvonareva, the runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2010, was eliminated by No. 32 Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-3 Friday, less than 24 hours after No. 3 Li Na, the French Open champion, lost.
Pironkova reached the semifinals last year, when she upset five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, and they’ll have a rematch in the fourth round next week. Williams overpowered 76th-ranked Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain 6-0, 6-2 on Court 1.
“I’m in the next round. That’s my main goal, regardless whether I play amazing, whether I play halfway decent. Doesn’t matter,” Williams said. “It’s just about finding a way to win.”