Wimbledon Rewind: Murray Shines, Janowicz Soars, Kerber Crumbles, Ferrer Survives, Kvitova Wobbles on Day 5
The rain continued to make its presence felt on Friday as a mixture of postponed second-round matches and third-round matches unfolded. Here are the studs and duds from the fifth day of Midsummer Mayhem, where no seed is safe.
Match of the day: The tremors of Wednesday’s earthquakes have not quite left Wimbledon. In his second-round match, David Ferrer split the first two sets with compatriot Roberto-Bautista Agut and needed a tiebreak to salvage the third. Perhaps emboldened by the feats of other underdogs, Bautista-Agut battled deep into the fourth set before the last Spanish man left in the draw limped through. After arduous four-set victories in the first two rounds, though, blood is in the water around Ferrer, the victim of multiple turf tumbles. His future opponents await their chances to pounce.
Upset of the day: This upset mostly happened yesterday, in fact, when Grega Zemlja and Grigor Dimitrov exited the court locked at 9-8 in the fifth set. The longest final set of the tournament in terms of games ended with Dimitrov excused to join Maria Sharapova at a sunnier location. Despite his enormous promise, he still has not reached the second week of a major and continues to struggle in the best-of-five format.
Gold star: A non-entity a year ago, Jerzy Janowicz hammered 30 aces against the 15th-seeded Nicolas Almagro to reach the second week of a major for the first time. Janowicz has not dropped a set in the tournament and should be considered the favorite to reach the (gasp) semifinals in the quarter vacated by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. He has shown far more discipline this week than at most previous tournaments this year.
Silver star: Last year’s runner-up has become the only top-15 man left in the bottom half of the draw. Andy Murray dispatched Tommy Robredo methodically for a third consecutive straight-sets win. He will enter every match until the final as an overwhelming favorite, adding to the pressure already on him at his home major.
One-hit wonder: The man who slew Roger Federer fell victim just one round later, no more able to build on his accomplishment than the man who slew Rafael Nadal. Sergiy Stakhovsky dropped a four-setter to Jurgen Melzer two days after Steve Darcis withdrew from the tournament with a shoulder injury. But both of these men outside the top 100 will have a story to tell for the rest of their lives.
Question of the day: Brought back today for the third and fourth sets of his second-round match, Jeremy Chardy returns tomorrow to face Novak Djokovic. The French shot-maker reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open this year and could threaten the Serb on grass with his forward-moving attack. But will he lack the energy to make a match of it?
Upset of the day: Six of the top ten women have started their midsummer holiday already, most exiting in uneventful fashion. World No. 7 and 2012 semifinalist Angelique Kerber looked likely to survive the tsunami of upsets when she led the dangerous Kaia Kanepi, a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist, by a set and by 5-1 in the second-set tiebreak. Undeterred by those odds, Kanepi swept five straight points and eventually the tiebreak. She asserted control early in the final set against a reeling Kerber, who suffered the latest in a string of painful three-set losses this year.
Comeback of the day: Still in the draw with Victoria Azarenka’s withdrawal, Flavia Pennetta has made the most of the opportunity. The Italian veteran had earned mostly tepid results since returning from injury this spring, but she now finds herself in the second week of Wimbledon. Pennetta dropped a first-set bagel to fellow clay specialist Alize Cornet, only to wrest away the momentum in a second-set tiebreak and cruise through the third. Call it Kanepi-Kerber Lite.
Gold star: Depending on the result of a postponed match, Marion Bartoli might find herself the highest-ranked woman in the bottom half of the draw when Monday arrives. The 15th seed and 2007 finalist notched another straight-sets win over another mediocre opponent. It is possible that Bartoli could reach the semifinals without facing anyone ranked higher than No. 70 Christina McHale, but one cannot fault her for the shortcomings of those around her.
Silver star: The adrenaline of playing a top-ten woman at Wimbledon probably carried Laura Robson to her first-round upset of Maria Kirilenko. Another rush of adrenaline arrived when Robson stepped onto Centre Court for her next match. She used it to her advantage in a comfortable victory over Mariana Duque Marino. With no seed left in her vicinity, a quarterfinal berth would not come as a shock.
One-hit wonder: Like Stakhovsky, Michelle Larcher de Brito subsided meekly in the wake of her massive upset. She fell to the equally unremarkable Karin Knapp, giving Italy at least two women in the second week pending Roberta Vinci’s match tomorrow. The last supposedly rising star who defeated Maria Sharapova in the second round of Wimbledon, Alla Kudryavtseva, never went on to achieve anything more significant. We will see whether Larcher de Brito can build something stronger from it.
Americans in London: In a tale of two very different sets, No. 17 Sloane Stephens eked out a tiebreak against qualifier Petra Cetkovska—and then gulped down a bagel in the second set. She will return tomorrow with one set to decide who reaches the second week. If Stephens does, she would have advanced to that stage at every major this year, more than eight of the top ten women can say. Meanwhile, Alison Riske avenged compatriot Mallory Burdette’s loss to Urszula Radwanska by battling past Agnieszka’s sister in three sets.
Question of the day: Leading fellow lefty Ekaterina Makarova by a set and 2-1, world No. 8 Petra Kvitova lost seven straight games. The easily flustered former champion now trails Makarova by a break in the final set as a golden opportunity to plow deep into a major draw threatens to slip away. Can Kvitova collect herself when play resumes tomorrow?