Sharapova knocked out of Wimbledon
Russian falls to Argentine Dulko as Federer marches on.
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2009 06:34 GMT

Argentina's Gisela Dulko on her way to victory over Sharapova [GALLO/GETTY]
Maria Sharapova has become the first big seed to be knocked out of Wimbledon as another former champion Roger Federer cruised his way to the third round in glorious sunshine with a clinical display over Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

Sharapova struggled on the Centre Court where she made her name in 2004 by beating Serena Williams to win the women's singles title as a 17-year-old.

The Russian looked a pale shadow of the player who once looked set to dominate the game.

Russian woes

Troubled by shoulder problems since losing in the second round here last year, the 24th seed ran into inspired Argentine Gisela Dulko, falling 6-2 3-6 6-4 to a player she had dropped just three games against in their two previous clashes.

Sharapova lost the opening set in 35 minutes and despite some typically tenacious resistance to win the second from 0-3, the booming weapons that used to blast the Russian to safety in such situations failed to function at crunch time.

Dulko eventually prevailed on her fifth match point when Sharapova, who was bumped up the seedings from a world ranking of 60, fired a forehand long to end an absorbing scrap.

"It took me a while to get going," former world number one Sharapova said.

"It's a little too late to start picking yourself up when you're down a set and 3-0."

Fed express

Referring to Federer as a former holder of the Wimbledon title he won five years in a row still takes some getting used to but his form in a 6-2 6-2 6-4 win over Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez suggests he will soon reclaim his throne.

The Swiss was at his relaxed, free-flowing best as he reduced Garcia-Lopez to a bit-part role during most of an embarrassingly one-sided contest that was over all too quickly for the 15,000 spectators on a sweltering afternoon.

Unusually, the 27-year-old, who lost his crown to Rafael Nadal in one of the best Wimbledon finals ever seen, was not watched by his most loyal supporter, pregnant wife Mirka, but he played down suggestions that a new Federer was imminent.

"She's just not feeling 100 percent," said the number two seed.

"We decided it's better if she takes it easy instead of sitting in the sun and maybe feeling worse the next day."

Quick wins

Huge crowds flocked to the famous lawns again on Wednesday, but holders of expensive Court One tickets would have felt a little short-changed after the three scheduled matches were all over in double quick time.

Novak Djokovic, the Serbian fourth seed, crushed Germany's Simon Greul 7-5 6-1 6-4 before women's second seed Serena Williams trounced Australia's Jarmila Groth 6-2 6-1.

Tommy Haas shares a light moment with a ball girl [GALLO/GETTTY]
Dangerous German floater Tommy Haas then needed just seven games to get past Michael Llodra, leading 4-3 when his French opponent retired hurt after crashing into a ball girl.

Haas had some fun instead by knocking up with a beaming ball girl.

French Open finalist Robin Soderling also made it to the third round by beating Marcel Granollers while there were wins for seventh seed Fernando Verdasco and 11th seed Marin Cilic.

Two of last year's surprise semi-finalists, China's Zheng Jie and Germany's Rainer Schuettler, made early exits.

Zheng beaten

Zheng, the first Chinese to reach the last four of a grand slam singles which she did as a wildcard, was beaten 6-3 7-5 by Slovakia's former world number five Daniela Hantuchova.

Number 18 seed Schuettler lost in straight sets to Israel's Dudi Sela.

Olympic champion and fourth seed Elena Dementieva beat Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai 6-1 6-3.

Japan's 33-year-old Ai Sugiyama flew the flag for the older generation, backing up her opening day win over Patty Schnyder with a 7-6 6-3 defeat of Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja to set up a third-round clash with doubles partner Hantuchova.

French Open quarter-finalist Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, seeded eight, blew away Raluca Olaru 6-0 6-0 and now faces another Romanian, 28th seed Sorana Cirstea.

Tenth seed Nadia Petrova, one of the army of Russians that dominate the women's draw, cruised through with the loss of just five games against Israeli Shahar Peer.

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, the charismatic ninth seed from France, had an unexpected day off, getting through the second round without taking his rackets out of his bag after Italian opponent Simone Bolelli withdrew with a back injury.

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