Gone to seed

By Skip Bandele [email protected]

This year’s Wimbledon has seen more top seeded players tumbling out prior to the quarter-final stages than ever before.

Following Michelle Larcher de Brito’s sensational dismissal of world No3 Maria Sharapova, the Portuguese girl was herself beaten by Italy’s Karin Knapp.

The early demise of second seed Victoria Azarenka then left Serena Williams the overwhelming favourite for the title, but the powerful American was also forced to pack her bags after falling to Germany’s Sabine Lisicki on Monday afternoon, leaving the field wide open.

In the men’s competition, first round loser Rafael Nadal was joined on the sidelines by defending champion Roger Federer soon afterwards.

Portugal’s only representative, Gastão Elias, suffered a similar fate against Aleksandr Dolgopolov and, as the Championships reach their climax, a Novak Djokovic-Andy Murray final is very much on the cards.

Meanwhile, Rui Machado’s hunt for ATP points continued in Italy where the Algarvean reached the semi-finals of the Varese Future before losing 6-4, 6-4 to Czech Dusan Lojda.