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Sharapova falls in Melbourne

Tennis

Melbourne - Third seed Maria Sharapova was dumped out of the Australian Open on Monday with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 fourth round loss to Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova at Rod Laver Arena.

The 2008 champion had to take a medical time-out between the second and third sets for treatment on an undisclosed injury. She was grimacing when bending over and grabbing her lower back during the final set.

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Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts during her women's singles match against Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne. Picture: Petar Kujundzic

Sharapova's demise comes a day after Serbia's Ana Ivanovic beat world number one and title favourite Serena Williams, also in the fourth round.

“I watched that match, it was a great match for Ana, but this was a little bit of a different story,” Cibulkova said in a courtside interview.

“The most important thing was that I went on the court and I was 100 percent sure I could win this match. I wasn't doubting myself.”

Sharapova took the first set 6-3 as both players struggled with their serve, but Cibulkova won the second after racing to a 5-0 lead, which the Russian pegged back, before the diminutive Slovak finally held serve to send the match to a decider.

Sharapova then took the medical time-out but was unable to halt Cibulkova's momentum as the Slovak raced through to win the set and reach her first Australian Open quarter-final.

She will meet either eighth-seed Jelena Jankovic or 11th-seeded Romanian Simona Halep for a place in the last four.

“I just kept going. I knew what I had to do and I was doing exactly the right things,” Cibulkova added.

“The most important thing is to believe in yourself.” - Reuters

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