Grass Clippings: Wimbledon Day 8

Aussie Rules Tennis

Wildcard Nick Kyrgios took the court yesterday as a major underdog against world #1 Rafael Nadal.  Though Nadal had some struggles through his first three matches—he dropped the first set in all three matches before storming back—Kyrgios simply lacked the résumé to be considered a possible contender.  Before Wimbledon, Kyrgios' ATP Tour record was just 1-5 and he had played in just four Grand Slam events.  But Kyrgios—the youngest man in the Wimbledon draw—came out on fire and wrestled the match away from one of the most tenacious competitors in the world.  Kyrgios finished with 37 aces, making him the current ace leader for the tournament.  And here are three bonus stats for the young Aussie:  he's the first man in 10 years to reach the quarterfinals during his first Wimbledon appearance, he's the first player outside the top 100 to beat the world #1 since Jim Courier lost to Andrei Olhovsky at Roland Garros in 1996, and he's the first teenager to beat the world #1 since Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer at Roland Garros in 2005.

Falling Behind

Things looked bleak for Maria Sharapova pretty early in the match when she dropped the first set to Angelique Kerber.  Though Maria fought back to take the second set, history was against her:  Sharapova hasn't come back from a set down at Wimbledon since 2004 when she beat Ai Sugiyama in the quarterfinals en route to her very first Grand Slam title.  Sharapova's exit leaves only one former Grand Slam winner in the draw—Petra Kvitova.

Speaking of Kvitova

She advanced with a straight set win over countrywoman Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.  Kvitova face another countrywoman—Lucie Safarova—in the semifinals.

 Fed Express Rolls On

Seven-time Wimbledon Champion Roger Federer advanced yesterday with a straightforward win over Tommy Robredo.  Fed's serving has looked sharp throughout the Championships—he's yet to be broken in 54 service games—and he never even faced a break point during his match with Robredo.  Fed will next face his countryman Stan Wawrinka, who advanced with a tight straight set win over Feliciano Lopez.  According to the official Wimbledon Twitter account, this is the first time ever that two Swiss men have made it through to the Wimbledon quarterfinals.  Federer has the better of the career head-to-head with his countryman, leading 13-2, but Stan did win their matchup earlier this year at Monte Carlo.  The pair have never played on grass.

 Triple Digit Tiebreaks

For the first time in Grand Slam history the number of tiebreaks contested in either singles draw reached triple digits.  The mark was reached when the first set of the Wawrinka/Lopez match was pushed to a 'breaker.

 Serena Falters

While warming up for her doubles match, Serena Williams appeared to be feeling quite unwell.  She appeared disoriented and had trouble tossing the ball to warm up her serve.  The tournament medics visited the court, checked her blood pressure and gave her a pill.  Despite Serena being clearly under the weather, the Williams sisters decided that they'd attempt to play.  After dropping the first two games, Serena stepped up to serve, but tossed four ugly-looking double faults to lose the game.  Trailing 0-3, the Williams sisters threw in the towel, giving Kristina Barrois and Stefanie Voegele a pass into the third round.  An official statement from the tournament referee's office and the WTA later said that Serena had come down with a viral infection.