Former champs Sharapova, Kvitova crash out; Nadal, Djokovic enter 2nd round
London: Maria Sharapova suffered her first opening round Wimbledon defeat and earliest Grand Slam exit in eight years when she was shocked by fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko, the world number 132.
Sharapova, the 2004 champion, was joined yesterday at the exit by 2011 and 2014 winner Petra Kvitova who was stunned by Belarusian world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
However, two-time men’s champion Rafael Nadal and three-time winner Novak Djokovic eased into the second round.
Sharapova was cruising to victory at one stage on Court Two with a set and 5-2 lead before qualifier Diatchenko shrugged off a back injury to win 6-7 (3/7) 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 after more than three hours of tense action.
Sharapova, playing Wimbledon for the first time in three years after missing 2016 through a drugs ban and 2017 due to injury, gave up the match on her 11th double fault.
It was her earliest exit at a Slam since a first round defeat at the 2010 Australian Open.