Thursday, 27 June 2013

Biggest Surprises of Wimbledon's Wacky Wednesday

There were many things that went wrong or weird in Wimbledon today, including (but not limited to) Roger Federer's 4-set loss to Sergiy Stakhovsky, seven (SEVEN!) withdrawals or retirements, and a slew of seeds losing unexpectedly. Here are my top surprises from this day (and the two that preceded it):

  • Viktor Troicki won two straight matches in a Grand Slam without dropping a set. Such a wonder hasn't happened since the 2011 Roland Garros, where he won his first two rounds in 3 sets, won the third in 4 sets, and then lost in a very painful R4 match to a hobbled Andy Murray in 5 sets. His Grand Slam results since then? Won in 4, lost in 3, lost in 5, won in 5, lost in 5, won in 5, lost in 5, won in 5, won in 5, won in 3, lost in 3, lost in 4, lost in 5, won in 3, won in 5, won in 3, lost in 3, and finally in 2013 Wimbledon - won in 3 and won in 3.
    Troicki will next meet Mikhail Youzhny, in a match that I can't see ending in straight sets to anyone. I smell a 9-7 in the air.

  • There were no rain delays, no darkness interruptions, no roof debates, no scheduling disasters. While the Tennis Gods might have wrecked the results, Mother Nature treated this Wimbledon very kindly so far. Of course, it's only day 3, but doesn't it already feel like we've been watching this tournament forever?

  • Out of the seven previous No. 1s who lost today, only one really surprised me, and that was Maria Sharapova. We already knew that Azarenka got injured; Ivanovic, Jankovic or Wozniacki losing on grass isn't such a shock; Hewitt can beat anyone but can also lose to anyone on a given day; Federer had a sub-par year by his standards. Sharapova, however, has lost only to Serena Williams (a fair few times) and to Li Na (AO 2013) this year. She already won a difficult match against Kristina Mladenovic in the first round here, so she wasn't particularly rusty. Moreover, I've seen Maria's opponent, Michelle Larcher De Brito, live quite a few times during Fed Cup, and while I knew she had the talent to play like she did today, I didn't think she had the mentality for it. Serving out the match after missing 4 match points and facing a couple of break points against a very determined Sharapova was very impressive, in my eyes.

  • Nike Tennis. Are you sure you want to brag about it?

    (Just kidding, Federer's loss is most definitely up there)

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