Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Australian Open: Maria Sharapova crashes out in Melbourne

updated 9:07 AM EST, Mon January 20, 2014
Russian third seed Maria Sharapova was a champion at Melbourne Park in 2008.
Russian third seed Maria Sharapova was a champion at Melbourne Park in 2008.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Maria Sharapova suffers shock defeat at the Australian Open
  • The third seed loses in three sets to Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova
  • World No. 1 Rafael Nadal into the quarterfinals after beating Japan's Kei Nishikori
  • Fourth seed Andy Murray also into the last eight with a win over Stephane Robert

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- First Serena Williams, now Maria Sharapova. Another day at the Australian Open, another top female star out of the season's first grand slam.

One day after world No. 1 Williams was dumped out in Melbourne, third seed Sharapova followed suit as she surrendered a one-set lead against Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova to lose 3-6 6-4 6-1.

It was the second time 20th seed Cibulkova has beaten the Russian at a grand slam and Sharapova, who required treatment on a hip injury between the second and third sets, admitted her performances in Melbourne have not been good enough.

"I haven't been playing the best tennis of this tournament, but I found ways to get through to the last two matches," Sharapova, a winner of this tournament in 2008, told reporters.

"Tried to do that again today, but she played extremely well."

Li Na faced a battle to stay cool and to stay in the Australian Open against Lucie Safarova. Li Na faced a battle to stay cool and to stay in the Australian Open against Lucie Safarova.
Australian Open hots up
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
Australian Open hots up Australian Open hots up
Grigor Dimitrov won his first ATP Tour title in October 2013, and is seeking to make his own name in the game after being compared to a young Roger Federer during his early years on the scene. Grigor Dimitrov won his first ATP Tour title in October 2013, and is seeking to make his own name in the game after being compared to a young Roger Federer during his early years on the scene.
'Baby Fed'
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
Who will be the next men\'s tennis star? Who will be the next men's tennis star?

Sharapova, a four-time grand slam winner, refused to blame the injury for her surprise defeat.

"I don't think it's rocket science," added the 26-year-old. "Just when you play a lot of tennis, you're going to get these types of aches and pains and certain movements that you feel it on."

Cibulkova's reward for reaching the last eight at Melbourne Park for the first time in her career is a match against 11th seed Simona Halep, who also eliminated a top 10 player in world No. 8 Jelena Jankovic.

Sharapova's loss means double defending champion Victoria Azarenka is now the red hot favorite to win a third consecutive Australian Open title.

Azarenka's cause will be helped by cooler temperatures, with players finally granted respite from last week's scorching heat.

The world No. 2 is the only former champion left in the women's draw after she confidently dispatched American rising star Sloane Stephens 6-3 6-2.

Although her chief rivals for the title have been eliminated, Azarenka is taking nothing for granted ahead of a meeting with fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

Novak Djokovic contemplates his fate ahead of his retirement with heat exhaustion in a quarterfinal match against Andy Roddick at the Australian Open in 2009. Novak Djokovic contemplates his fate ahead of his retirement with heat exhaustion in a quarterfinal match against Andy Roddick at the Australian Open in 2009.
Unhappy memory
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
Feeling the heat: Australian Open fears Feeling the heat: Australian Open fears
Ana Ivanovic is at a major crossroads in her career, heading into the new season with hopes of breaking back into the world top 10 for the first time since May 2009 after an injury-plagued few years. Ana Ivanovic is at a major crossroads in her career, heading into the new season with hopes of breaking back into the world top 10 for the first time since May 2009 after an injury-plagued few years.
Crossroads
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
The rise and fall and rise of Ana Ivanovic The rise and fall and rise of Ana Ivanovic

"The players who beat those players deserve all the credit because they've been better, so they are dangerous and they are competitive," said Belarus' Azarenka.

"For me it's important to just, you know, keep focusing on my game and play it one at a time. Quarterfinals of a grand slam is never easy, no matter who you play."

While the women's draw is turning out unexpected results, the men's half is proving altogether more predictable.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal registered a straight-sets win over Japan's Kei Nishikori which was far more difficult than the scoreline would suggest.

The 13-time grand slam champion had his serve broken four times and he was made to sweat by 16th seed Nishikori before wrapping up a 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) win.

Nadal will continue his bid for a second career win at the season-opening grand slam against Bulgarian No. 22 Gregor Dimitrov.

Three-time finalist Andy Murray didn't have it all his own way during his round of 16 victory over Frenchman Stephane Robert.

The world No. 4 looked unflappable as he raced into a 6-1 6-2 lead, but Robert, ranked 119th, rallied to take a third set tie break.

Eventually Murray's class told and the Scot secured a 6-1 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 win, with 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer awaiting in the quarterfinals.

Sixth seed Federer looked in ominous form as he swept aside No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 7-5 6-4, showing glimpses of the talent which brought him four Australian Open titles between 2004 and 2010.

Read: Why Ana Ivanovic is having more fun

Blog: Five rising tennis stars to watch

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 7:59 PM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
updated 2:00 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
ADVERTISEMENT