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Sharapova upset by Dulko in second round at Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England - In the final game, a desperate Maria Sharapova lunged to hit one shot left-handed, and twice challenged calls but lost. Then she lost the match as well.

Sharapova won seven consecutive games during one stretch but let a late lead slip away Wednesday and was beaten by Gisela Dulko, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the second round at Wimbledon.

In a wild, 14-point final game, Sharapova saved four match points. But on the fifth she pushed an easy forehand long, and she was out of the tournament after two rounds for the second year in a row.

The 2004 champion was playing in her fourth event since rejoining the tour last month following shoulder surgery in October. She's ranked 60th but was seeded 24th because of past success at the All England Club.

'This is not an overnight process,' Sharapova said. 'It's going to take time, as much time as I need on the court, to get everything together. ... Just being here is a wonderful accomplishment.'

Sharapova played on sun-splashed Centre Court with the new roof again open - although it was closed slightly for the second day in a row to provide shade for the Royal Box.

Roger Federer and Serena Williams advanced with little trouble. Federer, bidding for his sixth Wimbledon championship and a record 15th major title overall, lost only three points on his first serve and defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.

'The opponents are only going to get tougher,' Federer said. 'I'm playing great at the moment, and I hope it's going to last.'

Williams, a two-time champion seeded second, committed only six unforced errors and defeated Jarmila Groth 6-2, 6-1. Then she learned that Sharapova had been beaten, easing Williams' path to the semifinals.

'I'm not that player that wishes someone else loses,' Williams said. 'I feel for her being injured. I know how hard it is to come back. She's playing really well. I think she'll be fine.'

No. 28-seeded Mardy Fish of the United States matched his best showing at Wimbledon by reaching the third round when he beat Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Fish next plays No. 4 Novak Djokovic, who defeated Simon Greul 7-5, 6-1, 6-4.

'I'll throw everything I've got at him,' Fish said. 'I don't have anything else to do.'

American Taylor Dent double-faulted 21 times and lost to Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the completion of a first-round match suspended because of darkness, 7-5, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4.

'My bad days are pretty skanky,' Dent said.

Vince Spadea's 14th Wimbledon ended when he lost to No. 29 Igor Andreev, 6-3, 7-5, 6-2. That left four American men in the draw - Fish, Andy Roddick, Sam Querrey and Jesse Levine.

Michael Llodra retired with an abdominal injury following a collision that involved the chair umpire's stand, a ball girl and a trash bin. At 3-all in the first set against Tommy Haas, Llodra's pursuit of a shot sent him off the court. He bounced off the stand and into the girl, and they tumbled into the trash can.

Llodra rose, helped the girl up and hugged her. He received treatment from a trainer and finished the game, but then called it quits.

No. 16 Zheng Jie, a semifinalist as a wild card last year, lost to Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 7-5. No. 8 Victoria Azarenka lost only six points in her six service games and shut out Ioana Raluca Olaru 6-0, 6-0.

Dulko, ranked 45th, matched her best showing at Wimbledon by reaching the third round. She had won a total of only three games in two previous matches against Sharapova, but the Argentine repeatedly took charge of rallies by hitting drop shots, while Sharapova struggled with her serve and forehand.

'I had so many easy balls, and I just made unforced errors from those,' Sharapova said. 'When I've had those situations before, those balls would be pieces of cake, and today they weren't.'

With Dulko serving in the final game, Sharapova lost two challenges as the score reached 40-15. Always at her best under pressure, Sharapova hit a booming return and a feathery drop shot to overcome the first two match points, and her return winner erased another.

But with a point for 5-all, Sharapova pushed a backhand into the net, then made errors on the final two points as well. Dulko, playing on Centre Court for the first time, ranked the win as the biggest of her career.

'I was very nervous in the end,' Dulko said. 'The last game was forever for me.'