Sharapova stunned by early exit as Federer sails through

ER c

ER champion Maria Sharapova blamed injury after being dumped out of Wimbledon at the second round by unseeded Argentine Gisela Dulko yesterday.<br /><br />Sharapova, seeded 24, looked far short of the form that carried her to the title in 2004 as she slumped to a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 defeat on Centre Court.<br /><br />The three-time grand slam winner suffered a woeful first set and was broken in the second before recovering to level the match. But the Russian, still recuperating from an injury lay-off that saw her plummet to 59 in the world, faltered again in a nervy decider. And afterwards she admitted being unable to match the South American physically.<br /><br />&ldquo;It was unfortunate the timing of this being only my fourth tournament since the injury, but that is just the way it is,&rdquo; said Sharapova. &ldquo;It is tough to put the injury out of your mind completely.&rdquo;<br /><br />Dulko, the world No45, claimed victory on her fourth match point, and toasted her finest win to date. &ldquo;That was the biggest win of my career,&rdquo; said the 24-year-old. &ldquo;It has come in the most important tournament for me and to beat Maria who is a past champion here is a great day for me.&rdquo;<br /><br />While Sharapova struggled, two-time champion Serena Williams marched into round three with a straight-sets win over Australia&rsquo;s Jarmila Groth in less than an hour.<br /><br />Progress was similarly emphatic for Roger Federer, as the highest seeded man in the draw continued his campaign for a sixth Wimbledon single&rsquo;s title. Federer eased past Spain&rsquo;s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to set up a third-round clash with 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, and admitted victory had been easier than even he anticipated.<br /><br />&ldquo;I expected a much harder match because he&rsquo;s been playing well,&rdquo; said the Swiss. &ldquo;On grass you never know so I was quite surprised I was able to win so easily today.&rdquo;<br /><br />Fourth seed Novak Djokovic declared he was enjoying his dark horse status after sweeping past Germany&rsquo;s Simon Greul 7-5, 6-1, 6-4. The 2007 semi-finalist said: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m aware of my qualities. I&rsquo;m happy that people are not talking about me.&rdquo;<br /><br />Fernando Verdasco, seeded seven, needed four sets to beat Belgium&rsquo;s Kristof Vliegen, while ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga strolled into round three when Simone Bolelli withdrew.