(MELBOURNE, Australia) — When top-seeded Serena Williams was upset for the second straight year at the Australian Open, that left the door open for anyone to win the first major of the 2014 season. Maria Sharapova will not be one of those contenders after the third-seed was knocked out of the tournament by Dominika Cibulkova in the fourth round.
After winning the first set, Sharapova dropped the next two as Cibulkova defeated the Russian 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Sharapova made 45 unforced errors while struggling with her serve in the final two sets. Cibulkova, the No. 20 seed in the tournament, dominated in the second set by winning four consecutive breaks and taking a 5-0 lead. Sharapova battled hard, winning the next four games before Cibulkova held on to even the match.
It was more of the same in the third set with Sharapova committing seven double-faults. The four-time major winner also took an off-court medical timeout to battle a hip strain. A native of Slovakia, Cibulkova will look for her second straight upset when she battles 11-seed Simona Halep in the quarterfinals.
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