29 Jun 2014

Cornet beats Williams at Wimbledon

7:43 am on 29 June 2014

Women's world tennis number one Serena Williams has been knocked out of Wimbledon, the American great losing 6-1 3-6 4-6 to France's Alize Cornet.

In one of the great upsets at the grass court grand slam, Williams' challenge for a sixth Wimbledon singles title fizzled out.

The 32-year-old American was untroubled in the first set but her game disintegrated as 25th seed Cornet took control in front of a stunned crowd on Court One.

Persistent rain at the All England Club meant only two games were possible when play started and when the players returned four hours later it was Williams who looked determined to make up for lost time with some powerful tennis.

But the 24-year-old Cornet refused to fade away though and with Williams looking uncomfortable moving on the grass she took the second set with some accurate shot-making.

A desperate-looking Williams dropped serve at 2-2 in the decider and then again two games later and Cornet held her nerve to reach the last 16.

Men's world number one Rafael Nadal again needed four sets to win, as the Spanish great reached the last 16 in gloomy south-west London, where play was suspended on every court apart from the main roofed Centre Court because of persistent rain on Sunday.

For the third match in a row Nadal found himself a set in arrears, this time against Kazakhstan's 63rd-ranked Mikhail Kukushkin, before Nadal switched on the after-burners to romp home 6-7 6-1 6-1 6-1.

Another former champion, Maria Sharapova, remains on course for a rare French Open and Wimbledon double after moving into the fourth round at the All England Club with a 6-3 6-0 victory over American Alison Riske under the Centre Court roof.

Sharapova is bidding to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2002 to follow victory at Roland Garros with Wimbledon glory just weeks later.

The 27-year-old was pushed harder than the scoreline suggested, but the 2004 Wimbledon winner eventually took charge to over-power world number 44 Riske in 69 minutes.

The world number five is yet to drop a set in this year's tournament.

Seven-times champion Roger Federer had no problems beating Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-3 6-1 6-3.