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Dulko stuns Sharapova, Zheng exits

ROGER Federer's military-style jacket had its second airing at Wimbledon yesterday but Maria Sharapova's latest outfit was packed away for a while after the 2004 champion got knocked out in round two.

The Russian, who made her name at Wimbledon when she beat Serena Williams in the final as a teenager, suffered a 2-6, 6-3, 4-6 defeat by Argentina's Gisela Dulko, a player she had dropped just three games against in their two previous clashes.

Dulko prevailed on her fifth match point when Sharapova, who was seeded 24th after a shoulder injury despite a world ranking of 60, fired a forehand long to send the Russian crashing out in the second round for the second consecutive year.

Sharapova was not the only seed to tumble on another baking hot day in southwest London where huge crowds again flocked to the All England Club.

Two of the surprise semifinalists from last year, China's Zheng Jie and Germany's Rainer Schuettler, had their follow-up attempts cut short.

Zheng, the first Chinese to reach the last four of a grand slam singles which she did as a wildcard in 2008, was beaten 3-6, 5-7 by former world No. 5 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia. Schuettler, the men's 18th seed, was beaten 6-7 (3), 3-6, 2-6 by Israel's Dudi Sela while another German, Simon Greul, found fourth seed Novak Djokovic in fine form, the Serb booking his place in round three with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 victory.

Two-time champion Serena Williams advanced with a comfortable 6-2, 6-1 win over Jarmila Groth.

Williams broke Groth twice in the first set and three more times in the second. She served out the 57-minute match by converting her second match point when the Czech-born Australian returned a serve into the net.

Federer's opening bow on Monday turned plenty of heads but his latest fashion statement was quickly overshadowed by the quality of his tennis against Chinese Taipei's Lu Yen-hsun.

The five-time winner here, favorite for a record 15th grand slam title in the absence of injured champion Rafael Nadal, eased past Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.

Sharapova, like Federer on Monday, walked on to Centre Court dressed to impress but her tennis looked decidedly second-hand as she suffered a terrible start against the sultry Dulko, dropping the first set in 35 minutes.

The Florida-based Russian, who returned from a nine-month absence from the tour in May following her shoulder problems, showed her characteristic fighting qualities to take the second set and looked favorite to win through.

However, Dulko responded in a thrilling decider and, despite spurning her first four match points, she held her nerve to make Sharapova the highest-profile casualty of the tournament so far.

Japan's 33-year-old Ai Sugiyama backed up her opening day victory over Patty Schnyder by reaching the third round with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 defeat of Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja to set up a third-round meeting with doubles partner Hantuchova.

French Open quarterfinalist Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, seeded eight, blew away Raluca Olaru 6-0, 6-0 to set up a third round encounter with another Romanian, 28th seed Sorana Cirstea, who beat India's Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-4.

Tenth seed Nadia Petrova, one of the army of Russians that dominate the women's draw, cruised through with the loss of just five games against Israeli Shahar Peer.


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