Na Li Opens the Way for Radwanska
Li took her leave of Wimbledon courtesy of Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. The upset itself isn't too surprising; sure, Li is #2 in the world but she's never made it past the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, she didn't play any grass court warmups this year, and she lost in the first round of Roland Garros to a player ranked just #107. What is very interesting, is just how wide open that leaves things for Aga Radwanska. For the third year in a row, a shot at the title is in Radwanska's sights. Assuming she can beat Ekaterina Makarova, Radwanska would face the winner of Smitkova/Safarova in the quarterfinals and then would likely face either Caroline Wozniacki or Petra Kvitova in the semifinals. After letting an excellent chance at the title slip through her fingers last year, it'll be interesting to see if she takes full advantage of her opportunity.
Berdych Bows Out
On the men's side 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych bowed out in straight sets yesterday to Marin Cilic. Berych led the career head to head 5-2, but had lost their only prior meeting on the grass. Cilic will next face Jeremy Chardy and should have a good chance to move on to the quarterfinals to face the winner of Djokovic/Tsonga.
Reporters everywhere probably shed a tear when Kevin Anderson sent Fabio Fognini packing yesterday. With Ernests Gulbis gone on Wednesday, and the ever-entertaining Gael Monfils out on Thursday, Fognini was the sole remaining member of the Melodrama, Controversy, and Wild Antics Club. Hewitt did manage to keep things interesting in his match with Jerzy Janowicz. Apparently, Hewitt yelled "sit" for some reason after losing a point but the chair umpire thought he said… something else and gave him code violation for an audible obscenity.
Novak Djokovic slipped and then fell hard on his right arm midway through the third set of his match with Gilles Simon. Djokovic immediately called for the trainer and play stopped while the medical staff worked on Novak's shoulder. He did come back out and finished off Simon in straight sets and he'll have plenty of time for his shoulder to recover; he won't have to play again until Monday, when he'll face a stiffer test from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. After the match, Djokovic did say that the joint is fine, but the muscle feels a little sore.
On a Knife's Edge
2011 Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova faced off against 5-time singles Champion Venus Williams yesterday in Round Three. The match shaped up to be a two-and-a-half hour slugfest with Kvitova coming out on top by the thinnest of margins. The match featured just three breakpoints and Kvitova finished with 113 total points while Venus finished with 109. Venus may not be able to produce results like she used to, but she's proven that on a good day she can still bring some serious game.
Lleyton Hewitt may not have won his match against Jerzy Janowicz, but he still managed to set an Open Era record for the most career five set matches in a Grand Slam with 42. The previous record was held by Hall of Famer Andre Agassi. Rusty is third on the all-time five set list, behind only Ivan Lendl and Ilie Nastase.
Serena Bows Out
The big story of the weekend—aside from rain that almost derailed a day's worth of play—was world #1 and top seed Serena Williams being knocked out by Alize Cornet. The match was an up-and-down three-set affair that featured a lengthy rain delay and seesaw momentum changes. In the end, it was Cornet who finished on top. Serena has yet to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal this year and this was her earliest loss at Wimbledon since 2005. Second seed Na Li is also out, leaving the tournament open for a number of contenders. Serena Williams is still in the doubles draw with her sister Venus. They're scheduled to play later today in the second round of doubles.
Nadal Keeps It Interesting
Rafael Nadal continues to give opponents hope in the first set before setting things straight. He beat Mikhail Kukushkin on Saturday to advance, but for the third match in a row he lost the first set, then won the next three sets. Nadal's next opponent will be Australian Nick Kyrgios, who is having a breakthrough tournament.
Speaking of Kyrgios
This is just the fifth appearance in the singles main draw at a Grand Slam and the first time that Kyrgios has advanced past the second round. So far he's downed Stephane Robert, Richard Gasquet, and fellow up-and-comer Jiri Vesely. Although beating Gasquet was a career win for the young Aussie, toppling Nadal will be far more challenging. That being said, if Nadal continues to look slightly vulnerable and Kyrgios continues to play well, the two could produce a blockbuster match.
The Kids Hit the Grass
The Junior Wimbledon singles tournament opened play on Saturday on the outer courts. Unfortunately, because of the inclement weather, many of the junior matches were suspended or cancelled altogether.
As tradition dictates, no matches were played on the Middle Sunday, allowing everyone a day to rest and regroup. Inclement weather has forced play on the Middle Sunday only three times in Wimbledon's history: 1991, 1997, and 2004.