Maria Sharapova was dumped out of the second round of Wimbledon in spectacular fashion today by little-known fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva.
The 2004 champion failed to produce any sort of a challenge on Court One as she slumped to a 6-2 6-4 defeat at the hands of a player ranked 154th in the world.
The players had faced each other only once before with Sharapova running out a straight-sets winner in the third round of the 2006 French Open.
But the reigning Australian Open champion looked shaky from the first point.
Sharapova found herself facing a break point in only the second game of the opening set, but was spared early blushes when Kudryavtseva pushed a return wide.
However, Sharapova continued to struggle on her serve and another break point followed for her opponent in the sixth, with Kudryavtseva making the most of this opportunity with a fierce forehand down the line.
The 20-year-old Kudryavtseva must have been as baffled as the crowd at Sharapova’s poor performance, but was happy to take any chances which were thrown her way.
And Kudryavtseva had two more break points in the eighth, dispatching another forehand well beyond the reach of Sharapova to clinch the set in 32 minutes.
The third seed at least showed some fight at the start of the second set when she claimed a break in the opening game.
But the mistakes were never far away and a double-fault in the fifth allowed Kudryavtseva to get back on level terms.
The unseeded Russian then held her next service game while Sharapova continued to crumble at the other end of the court.
Kudryavtseva produced a stunning crosscourt forehand to break again and take a 4-2 lead, but was unable to hold onto the advantage as Sharapova hit back in the next game when her opponent – who had already saved three break points – pushed a forehand wide.
That was as good as it got though for the number three seed, who found herself facing match point in the 10th after yet another double fault.
And Kudryavtseva needed no second invitation, flashing a forehand just beyond the reach of Sharapova to wrap up an unprecedented victory.