Wozniacki and Williams sisters among the Wimbledon casualties as Sharapova and Murray advance

Losing 2007 finalist Marion Bartoli shocks four-time champion while Andy Murray takes centre stage.

Williams was making her comeback having been out for almost a year through injury.
Williams was making her comeback having been out for almost a year through injury.

Updated at 17.15

DEFENDING CHAMPION SERENA Williams is out of Wimbledon, after losing out to France’s Marion Bartoli in straight sets.

The American lost 6-3 7-6 (8-6) to the French no 1, who faces Sabine Lisicki in the quarter-finals.

Williams is a four-time champion at the All England Club, but she missed nearly a year after foot surgery and subsequent blood clots in her lungs. She returned two weeks ago at Eastbourne for the first time since winning the Wimbledon title in 2010.

Williams saved three match points at 6-5 in the second set and another in the tiebreaker before Bartoli put down a service winner to advance.
Bartoli lost to Venus Williams in the 2007 final.

Her sister Venus Williams also lost out 6-2 6-3 to Tsvetana Pironkova for the second year in a row, with the Bulgarian advancing to play Petra Kvitova in the next round.

The Williams sisters’ exit means Mardy Fish is the only American player left in the singles competition. 

In another shock, world number one Caroline Wozniacki was beaten despite comfortably winning the first set, as she lost 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 to 24th seed Dominika Cibulkova.

Elsewhere Andy Murray produced a convincing display to beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 6-2.

The British player goes on to face either Fernando Verdasco or Lukasz Kubot in the next round.

Despite his victory, Murray was not entirely satisfied with his performance, saying: “I need to improve – the best players ever are still in the tournament, so I need to get even better.”

Meanwhile former champion Maria Sharapova reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals Monday for the first time in five years, beating Peng Shuai 6-4, 6-2 on a sweltering day that featured a visit by Prince William and Kate to the Royal Box.

Sharapova, the 2004 champion, started slowly before winning seven straight games to take command against the 20th-seeded Chinese player in an early match on Court 2. The big-hitting Russian had 27 winners and 10 unforced errors.

The match was played with on-court temperatures measured at 93 degrees, and Sharapova covered her legs with ice wrapped in towels during changeovers.

Sharapova, who will face Cibulkova in the quarter-finals, said:

“Last year I lost in the fourth round to Serena and this year I find myself in the quarter-finals and I’m giving myself an opportunity to go even in further so I’m quite happy about that,” Sharapova said. “I have to be a little realistic about the fact that I haven’t gotten past the fourth round in a few years. This is a step forward.”

The first man to reach the final eight was 18-year-old Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic, who downed Xavier Malisse 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 to become the youngest male to make the Wimbledon quarter-finals since Boris Becker in 1986.

The first woman to move into the quarters was fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who beat Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-2. German wild card Sabine Lisicki reached the quarters for the second time, downing Petra Cetkovska 7-6 (3), 6-1. No. 8 Petra Kvitova, a semifinalist here last year, needed just 45 minutes to defeat No. 19 Yanina Wickmayer 6-0, 6-2.

Tamira Paszek, an 80th-ranked Austrian, beat another 20-year-old player — Ksenia Pervak of Russia — 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 to secure her first Grand Slam quarterfinal berth.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge applaud in the Royal Box

Sharapova said Monday’s scorching heat, after a first week marked by frequent showers and cool temperatures, made it “like playing a completely different tournament.”

“You see everyone putting sun screen on and I had the ice bag out today,” she said. “I’m used to it. I grew up in Florida and still live there and train there. I’m used to the humidity, so that really helped me.”

- AP with additional reporting by Paul Fennessy.

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