Maria Sharapova out of Wimbledon 2009

24 Jun 2009 by Hiland in Wimbledon 2009

Maria Sharapova of Russia getting ready for a match against Argentina's Gisela Dulko in the second round of Wimbldeon 2009 Tennis championshipThe resurgent queen of tennis was cut to the core on Day Three. Blonde glamour girl Maria Sharapova showed courage and fought gamely but was not in shape to withstand pressure from 24 year old Argentine Gisela Dulko, quite a beauty in her own right.

In two previous meetings, Dulko had won just three games and never mounted a challenge to the taller, more powerful and younger Sharapova. But, on this day, on Centre Court, before a packed house just chomping at the bit to see an upset, Gisela delivered.

Sharapova seemed listless and at first lacked her usual signature grunt. Dulko smelled blood and brought passion to the contest. Before Maria blinked, she was down 2-5.

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Maria Sharapova of Russia Returning a shot against Argentina's Gisela Dulko in the second round of Wimbldeon 2009 Tennis championship.Since her return to competition, Sharapova’s serve has become a liability. She lacks sufficient velocity to compete on the high stage. Rarely topping 100 mph, the lean former number one had hoped to ride her experience and gutsy performances at Roland Garros well into the draw at Wimbledon.

Lacking in foot speed and at times appearing awkward, Maria was vulnerable to Dulko’s strategy of moving her across the court. Surprisingly, Gisela was able to move forward and literally tee off on Maria’s first and second serve. Sharapova, normally known for a power serve to match her forceful groundstrokes, has become a shadow of herself and was only able to generate two aces in more than two hours.

Maria Sharapova of Russia was defeate by Argentina's Gisela Dulko in the second round of Wimbldeon 2009 Tennis championshipSharapova was trailing 0-3 in the second set before she seemed to catch her breath and finally get her offensive game together. Only able to convert four of 11 break point opportunities, the Russian often found herself out of position and attempting off-balance, low percentage winners.

While Maria seemed out of shape and heavy afoot, Gisela seemed a bit awed by the possibility of knocking off the former Wimbledon Champion. Gisela is unaccustomed to Centre Court appearances and felt the pressure of the crowd pulling for her opponent to rally.

But, on this day, the sometimes erratic baseliner had 22 winners to offset her 23 unforced errors, most of which came in the second set. She won a total of 93 points, five more than Maria in the 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 upset. Gisela registered 5 double faults compared to Maria’s 9.

Argentina's Gisela Dulko returning a shot against Maria Sharapova of Russia in the second round of Wimbldeon 2009 Tennis championshipThe two player’s resumes have few similarities. Currently ranked 45th on the tour, Gisela has racked up a mere 151 victories in her 8-year professional career. Maria has 274 wins in her 8 years, but has gone through extended periods of disability. Sharapova has amassed more than $12 million in earnings while Gisela has worked hard at singles and doubles to make $2 million.

After the second set loss, the Argentine gathered herself for one more push. She jumped out to a 4-1 lead before Maria ran off three straight games. At 4-4, Gisela made her last, two-game stand, breaking the Russian with relative ease.

Receiving serve and trailing at 4-5, 40-15, Maria showed her admirable mettle. She blistered a deep forehand winner to get to 30-40 then followed with an unusually deft drop shot that momentarily stunned the crowd and froze Dulko in her tracks.

Argentina's Gisela Dulko defeated Maria Sharapova of Russia in the second round of Wimbldeon 2009 Tennis championshipAt deuce, Dulko wowed the audience with a follow-up drop shot of her own to get her third match point. Sharapova fended off the third match point with a fierce backhand down the line that Dulko watched hit the line for an outright winner.

Again at deuce, Dulko served wide and Maria barely got her racket on the attempted return. Sharapova won the fourth match point when Dulko nervously hit a routine forehand long.

Maria finally had a break point when Dulko hit another forehand long. The crowd felt Gisela’s angst, but Maria failed to capitalize as she netted a backhand. At deuce, Maria positioned herself for a forehand drive, which was originally called in but was over-ruled. Facing a fifth match point, the former champ hit a backhand down the line but wide. The stunned crowd gasped before mounting a wild cheer for the upset winner. A nice win, for a nice tennis player. Way to go Gisela! Thank you ladies!


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