Maria Sharapova loses to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Wimbledon
Watch the moment Maria Sharapova is knocked out of Wimbledon 2014

German ninth seed Angelique Kerber held her nerve to end Maria Sharapova's hopes of winning a second Wimbledon title in the fourth round.

Kerber came through a tense final set to convert her seventh match point and win 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-4 on Centre Court.

She goes on to face Canada's Eugenie Bouchard in the last eight.

Sharapova, 27, won her only Wimbledon title 10 years ago, but has made the quarter-finals just once in her last eight visits to the All England Club.

Watch five best points from Halep v Diyas

In a wayward performance she made 43 unforced errors to 11 from Kerber, whose defensive skills kept making the Russian play one more ball.

Sharapova's competitive spirit made for a thrilling finish as she fought off six break points, but Kerber earned a deserved victory when the Russian finally succumbed with another error after two hours and 24 minutes.

She joins Serena Williams, Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska among the leading names to fall before the latter stages - only third seed Simona Halep remains of the top five seeds.

"I always consider myself one of the favourites because I've won Grand Slams before, been number one in the world," said Sharapova.

"It's absolutely normal for people to have high expectations of me doing well in Grand Slam stages. I certainly do, as well. Today could have gone either way, and it didn't go my way."

Sharapova looked to have seen off the early danger when she broke back to force a tie-break in the first set, but three backhand errors in a row saw her give it away.

The same shot finally clicked into gear as successive winners helped her get the crucial break in the second set, and with 11 three-set wins already this year, she was a strong favourite to prevail in the decider.

Kerber remained resolute, however, breaking straight away and fighting off two break points at 4-2 as the Russian launched another assault.

The German failed to convert her first match point on the Sharapova serve, and the nerves then gripped her when she had the chance to serve it out.

A double fault and a 70mph second serve gave Sharapova a lifeline, but even her remarkable powers of recovery could not come to the rescue in the following game.

She came back from 0-40 and saw off another two match points, but could only send the ball long over the baseline at the seventh time of asking.

"It's unbelievable," Kerber told BBC Sport. "It was such a tough match, playing to a high level, and it was so close.

Former Wimbledon champion Lindsay Davenport on Maria Sharapova's defeat:
"Sharapova was the favourite to win the title after Serena Williams lost, but as the match progressed it was clear that Kerber was going to be a huge challenge. "What surprised me was how well Kerber was able to manage her service games. She was only broken three times in the entire match over long sets and she moved so well around the court. "Apart from her run to the final in 2011, Sharapova has not played so well here in the last few years, so it was not a huge shock to see her lose."

"I'm so happy. She's a great player on grass, but I was just focusing on myself and I'm so happy to be in the quarters."

Sharapova added: "I had a really slow start in the third. She rode with that confidence. It was just a few points in the end of that.

"Maybe things would have been different if I won that game, but in the end I didn't."

Rain delays on Saturday and Monday had disrupted the schedule and left three fourth-round matches to play on Tuesday, traditionally reserved for the women's quarter-finals.

Romania's Halep did her best to make up for lost time, cruising into her third Grand Slam quarter-final of the year as she saw off Kazakhstan's world number 72, Zarina Diyas, 6-3 6-0.

The 22-year-old Romanian is the highest seed left in the women's draw, and came into Wimbledon on the back of reaching the French Open final last month.

She will next face grass-court specialist Sabine Lisicki, who beat another Kazakh, Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-3 3-6 6-4 despite getting treatment for a shoulder problem when facing break point.

"The timing was very unfortunate," said the German. "But I tried to play a few more points. That's what I did."

Angelique Kerber
Kerber is a former semi-finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open
Maria Sharapova
Sharapova had been hoping to add a sixth Grand Slam title after winning the French Open
Simona Halep and Zarina Diyas
Halep needed just 57 minutes to beat Diyas and is the highest seed left in the tournament at number three

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