LONDON, July 2 (Reuters) - Eight women from eight different countries will walk through the gates of the All England Club on Tuesday harbouring genuine title hopes following a Wimbledon wipeout of the headline attractions.
Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011, and China’s Li Na, French Open winner in the same year, are the only two who know how it feels to win a grand slam.
After defeat for Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka’s injury-enforced withdrawal, Serena Williams was expected to stroll to a sixth Wimbledon title but her fourth-round defeat by German Sabine Lisicki on Monday left the draw wide open.
Kvitova takes on 20th seed Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, a quarter-final debutant at this level, while Li faces fourth- seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska who was runner-up here last year.
“I think it doesn’t mean anything,” Radwanska told reporters, referring to her role as the highest seed left in the tournament. “Especially here with so many weird scores.”
Lisicki’s reward for downing Williams is a meeting with Estonia’s unseeded Kaia Kanepi, the lowest-ranked survivor.
In the absence of Williams, 20-year-old Sloane Stephens is carrying the American flag.
She takes on former runner-up Marion Bartoli of France with the winner up against Kvitova or Flipkens. (Editing by Tony Jimenez)