Sharapova dumped out by Kerber
A review of the ladies' singles action on day eight of Wimbledon, including defeat for Maria Sharapova.
Maria Sharapova was out-gunned by Angelique Kerber in a gripping Centre Court shoot-out as Wimbledon glory again eluded the former champion.
When Russian Sharapova landed the title as a 17-year-old in 2004, with a brilliant victory over Serena Williams, she was fancied to go on and become a multiple winner.
She has yet to add a second title though, and a 7-6 (7/4) 4-6 6-4 defeat to left-hander Kerber, who matched the power of Sharapova and finally prevailed on her seventh match point, put paid to her chances this year.
German player Kerber faces a quarter-final shot at Canadian Eugenie Bouchard on Wednesday.
"It's unbelievable," Kerber said.
"It was such a tough match played on a really high level and it was so close, every set was so close, so I'm just happy I won. She's a great player, she plays so well on grass, so I was just fighting and concentrating, focusing on myself, so I'm so happy to be in the quarters now."
Sharapova argued it was much too soon to speak of a changing of the guard at the pinnacle of the women's game.
Bouchard, aged 20 and up to 13th in the world after reaching grand slam semi-finals in Australia and France already this season, might be the likeliest next first-time grand slam champion. Kerber will also like her chances, particularly if she can come through another round.
"The grand slam champions so far this season are myself and Li Na, yet you see a younger generation that's driving through the grand slam stages, playing exceptionally against top players," Sharapova said.
"I think they're top 20, going to be top 10 in the world now. So you definitely see that shift.
"As far as winning grand slams, I think that's yet to be determined."
The bottom half of the draw has been taken over by a Czech contingent, and 27-year-old Lucie Safarova moved into her first career grand slam semi-final with a 6-3 6-1 victory over Russian Ekaterina Makarova.
The result guaranteed a Czech finalist as Safarova will take on 2011 champion Petra Kvitova in the last four.
Kvitova was a 6-1 7-5 winner over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the day's final match on Centre Court. She fought back from a break down in the second set to get over the line before the light faded.
Rain delays earlier in recent days have caused a backlog which meant that as well as the tussle involving Sharapova and Kerber, two further fourth-round matches were contested on Tuesday, with Simona Halep and Sabine Lisicki coming through in very different circumstances to set up an appealing last-eight clash.
Third seed Halep overwhelmed Kazakh Zarina Diyas on Court Two, clinching a 6-3 6-0 victory in 57 minutes.
As the highest-ranked player remaining in the event, following the exits of Serena Williams and Li Na, great things are expected of the 22-year-old from Constanta, a tourist city on the Black Sea coast.
She will face a stiff test of her grass-court skill against a specialist in Lisicki, whose favourite tournament this is.
German Lisicki had a controversial three-set win over Russian-born Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova on Court Three.
Serving at 1-1 and break point down in the deciding set, Lisicki called for the trainer to attend to a shoulder problem. It was a move permitted by the rule book but arguably dubious from a sporting standpoint, and led to a lengthy delay as the troublesome area was massaged.
Lisicki, who served a staggering 20 double faults over the contest, went on to hold from her precarious position and later seized chances on the Shvedova serve to earn a 6-3 3-6 6-4 win.
"The timing was very unfortunate," Lisicki said. "I hit a ball before, and it just went into my back. I tried to keep going. I played a few points but I wasn't able to lift my arm.
"It was obvious. I was serving, what, 50 miles an hour or something. I don't remember if I ever served that slow in my life before.
"So that's why I had to call the trainer. I just couldn't lift my arm any more."