Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has crashed out of Stuttgart’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Germany, losing her grip on the world No. 2 ranking just five days after celebrating her 28th birthday.
The victor in the grueling two hour 27-minute match was home favorite, Angelique Kerber – who defeated the five-time grand slam champion 2-6 7-5 6-1.
Sharapova has dominated the tournament in recent times lifting the trophy for three consecutive seasons. The six feet, two inch-tall star – whose official Facebook page boasts more than 14 million likes – is a noted clay court expert, winning the French Open in 2012 and 2014.
“We both played very well, high-level tennis,” said Kerber, after ending Sharapova’s 13-match unbeaten run at the event.
“It felt amazing out there. The crowd was so supportive of both of us. I was a little bit tired in the second set but when I heard the crowd I was fighting until the last point – it was amazing to feel the support from all the fans here at home.
“It’s a special moment and a special tournament for me – to play at home and in front of all of my family and friends, it’s a great feeling. It’s my favorite tournament, and the best tournament for me,” the German added.
Sharapova’s defeat will see her slip down the world rankings to No. 3 below Romania’s Simona Halep and world No. 1 Serena Williams.
Kerber’s reward for victory is a quarterfinal match-up against another Russian, No.6 seed Ekaterina Makarova.