Li toppled and Djokovic tumbles on Wimbledon's grass

Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:01pm EDT
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By Clare Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - Wimbledon's grass claimed its most notable victim so far when the women's world number two Li Na exited the tournament on Friday and the lush lawns almost did for top men's seed Novak Djokovic, who took an agonizing tumble.

Two former champions also battled for supremacy in an ebb-and-flow classic on Center Court. It was 2011 title holder Petra Kvitova who prevailed 5-7 7-6(2) 7-5 in the contest of big servers against five-times champion and crowd favorite Venus Williams.

While you could barely separate Kvitova and Williams, champion Andy Murray soothed home nerves with a one-sided and danger-free win over Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-2 6-3 6-2.

Australian Open champion Li faced fired-up Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, who has never before advanced beyond the third round of a grand slam.

The pair fought a tight duel that could have gone either way, but the determined Czech held firmer in two tiebreaks to win 7-6(5) 7-6(5).

Tomas Berdych also came off second best in two tiebreaks as he lost a late-night thriller 7-6(5) 6-4 7-6(6) to Marin Cilic in a match that ended at 9.38pm local time - the latest finish at the All England Club outside of Center Court.

The world number six was the highest men's seed to fall and vented his frustrations by blaming officials for "making too many mistakes" and allowing the match to go on despite it being "too dark for Hawkeye to work".

There were no such problems for the title favorites.   Continued...

Novak Djokovic from Serbia falls during his men's singles match against Gilles Simon from France at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London June 27, 2014.           REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth