by Kevin Craig
Milos Raonic earned a spot in his first major final as he pulled off an impressive comeback win on Friday over 17-time major champion Roger Federer, 6-3, 6-7(3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“It’s an incredible comeback for me…it’s a great feeling,” said Raonic, who became the first Canadian to reach a major singles final. “I showed a lot of emotion out there, always positive, and I think that’s what got me through. Mentally, I had one of my best matches in my history and my career.”
The Canadian, who tallied 75 winners in the match, including 23 aces, got off to a quick start against Federer, breaking the seven-time Wimbledon champ in just his second service game of the match for a 3-1 lead. A few more straightforward games on serve concluded the set and the No. 6 seed was able to take the first step forward to the final.
Each player impressed on serve in the second set as the majority of the games saw the returners struggling to win even just one point. In a crucial tenth game, though, Federer opened up a 0-40 lead on Raonic’s serve at 5-4, but the Canadian was up to the task and used his big serves and ground strokes to save those three set points, plus a fourth a few points later, displaying that he might actually be able to pull this off.
Federer, who hit just 14 unforced errors in the match, didn’t let the disappointment of missing out on those four set points, though, as the set went to a tiebreak. From 3-3, the Suisse was able to reel off four points in a row to level the match at one-set all, putting a minor dent in that confidence that Raonic had boosted up.
The former No. 1 player in the world kept his level up and looked to have taken complete control of the match in the third set as he was able to break Raonic in the latter stages for a 4-3 lead. Two holds at love for Federer closed out the set and allowed him to come within one set of his 11th Wimbledon final.
“I was struggling there through the third and fourth sets. He was playing some really good tennis,” said Raonic.
Federer, who beat Raonic in the 2014 Wimbledon semifinals, looked like he would pounce first in the fourth set, as well, as he had a look at two break chances at 2-2. Once again, though, the 6’5” Canadian was up to the task and saved both of them, plus one more in the 4-4 game. The confidence boost received from escaping those big moments allowed Raonic to bounce back from a 40-0 hole on Federer’s service game at 5-6, as he eventually won a 14-point game and converted his third break chance to steal the fourth set and force a decider.
The Canadian carried that momentum into the fifth set, breaking Federer in his second service game for a 3-1 lead, before having two more break chances in Federer’s next service game for a double break lead. He was unable to convert but he didn’t need that extra cushion as there was no way back for the Suisse. Raonic’s big serve, which reached speeds of 144mph and averaged 129mph on the day, proved to be too hot to handle for Federer as Raonic lost just five points on serve in the set, including a hold at love to seal the deal.
“I sort of persevered. I was sort of plugging away…He gave me a little opening towards the end of the fourth. I made the most of it,” said Raonic.
The Canadian now awaits the home favorite Andy Murray in the final after the Brit defeated Tomas Berdych comfortably in straights, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. Raonic and Murray just played three weeks ago in the final at Queen’s Club with Murray winning, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3.
“Am I worried about recovering? No…my matches tend to be quite quick,” said Raonic. “I feel pretty good after. I know I’ll feel much better in 48 hours…It’s a slam final. A lot of adrenaline. All this kind of stuff takes over and you keep fighting through.”
“I’ve by no means done what I want to be here to do,” said Raonic, who hopes to become the first Canadian to win a major singles title. “The impact of being Canada’s first-ever finalist will be bigger if I can win the title. I have to focus on that, put all my energy into that.”
by Kevin Craig
Angelique Kerber of Germany was able to prevent an all-Williams sister final from happening at Wimbledon as she defeated Venus Williams on Thursday, 6-4, 6-4, to reach the final.
“It’s just amazing…to beat Venus in the semis. It’s always tough. I’m so excited to be in the final here,” said Kerber. “I’m just happy to be playing my best and to be in my second grand slam final.”
The match got off to a very unexpected and topsy-turvy start as each of the first five games were breaks, as well as seven of the first eight. It was Kerber, though, who was able to get that crucial extra break and first hold of the match for 4-2, before eventually snatching the first set.
“I don’t know what was the problem. I think we both were returning very well at the beginning of the first set. I mean I was a little bit nervous when I go out there because I was trying to play my best tennis,” said Kerber.
The second set looked like it could be similar to the first as the German was able to break in the opening game, but that was that. The No. 4 seed felt little pressure from that point as she lost just five points in her five service games of the set, setting up a rematch of the 2016 Australian Open final in which she was able to defeat the 21-time major champion Serena Williams, who needed just 48 minutes to win her semifinal against Elena Vesnina, 6-2, 6-0.
“I know that she played long matches, in the first week especially. I was trying to move her. That was the plan,” said Kerber of her strategy against the 36-year old Venus, who made 10 more unforced errors than her opponent.
“I played against a lot of great opponents. I had a lot of tough matches. It’s not easy out there,” said Venus. “There is no such thing as impossible. It’s always possible. That’s what you feel as an athlete.”
Venus did manage to show signs of life halfway through the second set as she was able to fend off three break points while down 1-3 to hold before earning a 0-30 lead on Kerber’s serve in the next game. The German was too good though and managed to hold on, making her eager for another shot at arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time.
“I know she will go out and try everything to beat me right now,” said Kerber of her matchup with Serena which will take place on Saturday at Wimbledon.
by Kevin Craig
Roger Federer added to his legacy with one of the most entertaining and astounding wins of his career on Wednesday at Wimbledon as he came back from two sets down to defeat Marin Cilic, 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3.
“Today was epic,” said the former No. 1 player in the world.
Federer, who is in search of a record eighth Wimbledon title and first major title since 2012, not only was down two sets, but also down 0-40 midway through the third set, as well as being down three match points at various times throughout the fourth set.
“I fought. I tried. I believed…At the end I got it done,” said Federer, who turns 35 in just over a month. “For me the dream continues. I couldn’t be happier.”
The 17-time major champion made it sound simple, but the comeback was one for the history books as he earned his 10th win from a two set deficit.
A straightforward first set that saw no breaks and just two break points, both on Cilic’s serve, required a tiebreak to separate the two. It was the 2014 US Open champion who capitalized, racing out to a 5-0 lead on Centre Court before eventually taking it 7-4.
The second set was slightly less straightforward, as Cilic, who had been 52-0 in matches where he was able to take a two sets lead, was able to earn the first break of the match for a 2-1 lead before fighting off a break point in the next game to consolidate. There were no issues from there for the Croat as he lost just two points in his next three service games to close out the set and put himself just one set away from the Wimbledon semifinals.
Once again, the servers dominated in the third set as only five points went against serve in the first six games of the set. It was in that always crucial seventh game, though, that Cilic looked to be just a few points away from the finish line. At 3-3, the No. 9 seed earned a 0-40 lead on Federer’s serve before the Suisse, who hit 27 aces and zero double faults in the match, somehow worked out of that hole and used the momentum to break in the next game for a 5-3 lead. A comfortable hold in the next game signaled to Cilic and the tennis world that Federer wouldn’t go down that easily.
“That switched the momentum,” said Cilic, discussing his missed opportunities at 3-3.
The fourth set, like the first, saw no breaks, but there was a multitude of chances for both players throughout. Each had to fight out of a 15-40 hole early in the set to hold before Cilic had a 30-40 lead in consecutive Federer service games, one at 5-4 and one at 6-5, meaning both opportunities were match points. The Croat again was unable to convert on the big points, leaving the door open for Federer to stage an epic comeback.
The tiebreak was full of breathtaking and tense moments as the players were never separated by more than two points and it required 20 points to be decided. After fending off another match point at 6-7 in the tiebreak, Federer rattled off four of the next six points to shock the Croat and force a deciding fifth set.
After an early challenge in the decider from Cilic, Federer settled in and looked like the potential greatest player of all time that so many have grown to love over the course of his career. After pressuring Cilic’s serve to no avail at 3-2, he repeated the act at 4-3 and was successful this time, setting up an opportunity to serve for the match. No mistakes were made as Federer held to 15, thanks to two aces, for the win and set up a date with Milos Raonic in the semifinals.
“To be out there again fighting, being in a physical battle and winning it is an unbelievable feeling…it was an emotional win,” said Federer, who is hoping to become the oldest major title winner since Ken Rosewall won the Australian Open at the age of 37 in 1972.
“It’s great winning matches like these, coming back from two sets to love. It’s rare. When it happens, you really enjoy them.”
by Kevin Craig
Sisters Serena and Venus Williams both won quarterfinal matches Tuesday at Wimbledon, meaning they are both just one win away from setting up an all-Williams Wimbledon final, the first since 2009.
“I’m so happy we’re both in the semifinals…Obviously, she’s such a tough opponent. I want her to win. But not the final, if I’m there,” said Serena.
Serena, who has won six Wimbledon titles, defeated Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-4, while Venus, who has won five Wimbledon titles, defeated Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, 7-6(5), 6-4.
Serena, who is defending the Wimbledon title she won in 2015, got off to a slower start than she would’ve liked on Tuesday as she was unable to work her way into any of Pavlyuchenkova’s service games. The 21-time major champion persisted, though, and stood strong on her serve, allowing her to capitalize on the one weak service game of the set from the Russian. It came at a costly time too, as Serena, who won 90 percent of her first serve points in the match, earned a 0-40 lead at 4-4, converting on the first break chance before holding at love to close out the first set.
The second set was not any easier for the American, though, as Pavlyuchenkova refused to go away. After fighting through a long game on serve to open up the second set, the Russian appeared to have the momentum on her side. Pavlyuchenkova became the aggressor, forcing Serena to work for her service games.
That time of the match was short lived, though, as once again at 4-4, the Russian played a poor service game and Serena capitalized on her first break chance. The break earned the No. 1 player in the world a 5-4 lead, a carbon copy of the first set, before holding comfortably to close out the match and reach her 10th semifinal at Wimbledon.
“I am excited to be able to win and get through, it felt really good,” said Serena. “I am just trying to win my match…one thing I have learned this year is just to focus on the match.”
Venus, who is the oldest player in the Top 200, looked like she would have a tough day at the office from the get go. The American found herself down break point four times total in her first two service games of the match before being broken in her third game, giving Shvedova a 3-2 lead. The seven-time major champion was able to break right back, though, settling things down in the set.
Venus earned a set point on Shvedova’s serve at 5-4, but the Kazakh was able to fight it off and eventually force a tiebreak. Shvedova, the No. 96 player in the world who was playing in her third major quarterfinal, raced out to a 5-2 lead and looked to be in charge. No pressure was felt by Venus, though, as she was able rattle off five points in a row to steal the set.
“She was on fire…somehow I walked out with the set,” said Venus.
Shvedova wasn’t able to bounce back from the disappointment of dropping the first set in a tiebreak, as Venus broke in each of her first three service games, grabbing a 4-1 lead. It was straightforward from there for the American as she closed out the match to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon for the first time since 2009.
“What a tough day on court…I love playing the game, I always have. The wins and losses all lead to this big moment,” said Venus. “This is an awesome day. I would love to be walking towards the final.”
Serena will take on Elena Vesnina in the semifinals, while Venus have the more difficult task of battling the 2016 Australian Open champ Angelique Kerber on Thursday.
Not only is a potential matchup in the final on their minds. The sisters are playing doubles together at Wimbledon for the first time since 2014 and have reached the quarterfinals as they look to snag their sixth Wimbledon doubles title and 14th major title overall.
by Kevin Craig
Dominika Cibulkova won what was arguably the match of the tournament on Monday at Wimbledon as she took down the No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-3, 5-7, 9-7.
“I’m just really happy right now with my tennis and with my private life…you can see it on the court,” said Cibulkova, who has reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the second time in her career and is planning to get married on the same day as the women’s singles final.
The Slovakian, seeded 19th at Wimbledon, came into the event in good form as she had won 22 of her last 25 matches, including a win on grass at Eastbourne the week before Wimbledon began.
Cibulkova, who has been ranked as high as No. 10 in the world, was able to feed off that good form and got off to an impressive start with her aggressive style of play and it looked like she was up to the task of playing the No. 3 player in the world, losing just one point in each of her first two service games before breaking Radwanska for a 3-1 lead. The Slovakian felt no pressure in closing out the first set after earning the break as she wasn’t taken to deuce in any of her service games and managed to win 14 points on return throughout.
The second set looked like it would be a replay of the first as Cibulkova, who hit 56 winners in the match, pressured Radwanska’s serve early, allowing her to earn a break for a 2-1 lead. The lead was short lived though as the Pole broke right back in the next game to get on serve again before the two exchanged breaks twice more in the latter stages of the set, including four breaks in a row from the 3-3 game to the 5-4 game.
The last of those four consecutive breaks came when Cibulkova served for the match the first time, allowing Radwanska to get back on serve and turn the tables. After a hold to grab a 6-5 lead, the 2012 Wimbledon finalist was able to break again in the 12th game, stealing the second set and forcing a decider.
“After I didn’t make the first match point the momentum changed and then she was up…today she was playing really, really good,” said Cibulkova.
The feisty spirit of Cibulkova kept her going in the third set despite the disappointment of failing to convert that match point opportunity at 5-4 in the second set. After fighting off a break point in her first service game of the third, the Slovakian was the one in charge for the majority of the decider.
An exchange of breaks came in the middle of the set before Cibulkova earned another break for a 7-6 lead and had the opportunity to close out the match again. It was not meant to be this time either, though, as Radwanksa was able to break back again and prolong the match.
To Cibulkova’s pleasure, the match was only prolonged two more games as she broke for the seventh time, allowing her to serve for the match again. The third time was the charm for Cibulkova as she finally closed out the match with a forehand winner before falling to the ground in joy.
“It was just…so tough to go through. Especially when you have an opponent that doesn’t give you any free gifts, you just know that you have to earn every single point. It takes so much energy. It’s even tougher mentally, so today was just an amazing match,” said Cibulkova, the 2014 Australian Open finalist. “I would say it was the toughest match in my career so far, physically and also mentally…Against Aga today I felt like I have to put six, seven, eight winners to earn the point.”
Cibulkova’s run at this year’s Wimbledon has already given her enough to be happy about as she has reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2011, but she also has her wedding to look forward to once the tournament ends. The 27-year old will be marrying long-time significant other Miso Navara on a date that will also be occupied by the women’s singles final.
The date was chosen “because I never saw myself as such a great grass court player,” said Cibulkova, who admitted that the date would change if she continued her run in London.
“We can postpone it…If we would really have to postpone it, then it will be like dream come true because nothing better could happen to me in my tennis career,” said Cibulkova.
Her next opponent will be the 29-year old from Russia, Elena Vesnina, who has made her first major quarterfinal.
by Kevin Craig
Jo -Wilfried Tsonga outlasted marathon man John Isner on Sunday at Wimbledon, coming back from two sets to love down to win 6-7(3), 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 19-17.
The Frenchman, who is the No. 12 seed in the event, not only battled back from a two sets deficit, but also saved a match point at 15-16 in the fifth set, making his win even more impressive.
“I’m happy to win today one more match. It’s good to be alive,” said Tsonga, the former No. 5 player in the world and 2008 Australian Open finalist.
Three of the four previous meetings between Isner and Tsonga were decided by final set tiebreaks, so this tight affair on Middle Sunday at Wimbledon was hardly unexpected.
When their match began on Saturday, Tsonga lost only two points on serve in the first set, but the latter proved to be costly. A double fault from the No. 12 seed in the tiebreak gave Isner the small opportunity he needed, and he capitalized.
A break for Isner, the only one he earned in the match, came midway through the second set, all but guaranteeing a two sets lead for the American. The big serve was too difficult to break through for Tsonga and he found himself shockingly down two sets to the No. 18 seed.
Before darkness set in on Saturday, Isner had a look to close out the match in straight sets in a third set tiebreak, but the Frenchman proved to be too good, finally able to win the bigger points, setting up a resumption of play on Sunday.
When the players returned to action on the first Middle Sunday that had seen play since 2004, it was Tsonga who took advantage of it being a new day, racing out to a 4-0 lead and winning the set in just 25 minutes.
“I was focused on the game and not really on the other things. But to be honest, once I said ‘maybe it’s going to be long like Nicolas,” said Tsonga of Isner’s epic battle with his compatriot Nicolas Mahut in 2010 that went 70-68 in the fifth set.
This fifth set between Isner and Tsonga didn’t go quite that far, but it did last over two hours and went as so many Isner matches have gone before as opportunities to break were few and far between. The American did fend off a break point in the 5-5 game before having a look at his first break chance of the set 21 games later at 15-16. Isner was unable to convert, though, leaving the door open for Tsonga.
After saving that match point, Tsonga, who hit 88 winners and 21 aces in the match, proceeded to hold at love in his next service game before breaking Isner on his second chance in the 17-17 game thanks to a forehand error. There was no mistake from the Frenchman in closing out the match, holding to 15 to set up a date with Richard Gasuqet in the round of 16 on Manic Monday.
“Hope I will have a good recovery from this one and tomorrow be fit to play,” said Tsonga of his match tomorrow with Gasquet. The two have played eight times with each player winning four.
“He’s a good friend, so of course it’s different to play against him…We know each other well, so it will be a tough match,” said Gasquet.
Both Frenchmen have had a lot of success at Wimbledon as Tsonga reached the quarterfinals in 2010 before having two consecutive semifinal appearances in 2011 and 2012, while Gasquet has also reached the semifinals twice, coming in 2007 and 2015.
by Kevin Craig
Sam Querrey was able to fend off a roaring comeback effort from Novak Djokovic on Saturday at Wimbledon, pulling off a massive upset in the third round.
The American won the match, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(5), to reach his first fourth round at a major since 2010.
“It’s incredible, especially here at Wimbledon, the biggest tournament in the world. I’m so ecstatic right now, so happy,” said Querrey.
Querrey, the No. 41 player in the world, raced out to a two-set lead on Friday thanks to a top-notch performance and a bit of indifference from Djokovic, who had won 30 consecutive matches at the majors.
In the early goings, Querrey looked to be up to the task of playing the current holder of all four major titles as he used his serve and big ground strokes to dictate play. That style of play earned him the first set win in a tiebreak as he proved to the crowd, and more importantly himself, that he could win this match.
Querrey, who hit 31 aces in the match, carried that momentum over into the second set, going up an early break on Djokovic, who, at that point, looked like he had no interest in being on the court. In what seemed like just a few minutes, the American had taken the set 6-1 as his level of play never dropped, and found himself just one set away from the biggest win of his career.
It was at that point that the rain came and play had to be stopped for the day. This was not a new situation for the No. 1 player in the world though, as Djokovic found himself down two sets to Kevin Anderson in the fourth round of last year’s Wimbledon before coming back to win the match and eventually the title, so many believed he would be able to pull off a similar feat again.
That looked to be the case early on Saturday as the match resumed and the 12-time major champion quickly found himself up 4-0 in the third set. Alas, the rain had come again and stopped play. After a brief break, the two came back on court and Querrey looked to have risen slightly closer to the level of play he had on Friday, getting a break back and forcing Djokovic to feel some pressure before he was able to force a fourth set.
“I was ready for that,” said Querrey of Djokovic’s quick start on Saturday. “You knew he was mentally tough and that he was going to come back.”
That strong close to the third set allowed Querrey to carry some momentum into the fourth, where he put on a fight for the ages. The 6’6” American was able to fight off 11 of 12 break points he faced throughout the set, thanks, in part, to the 15 aces that he hit in the fourth set alone.
That one break point that Querrey didn’t save, though came at 4-4 all, giving Djokovic an opportunity to serve to force a fifth set. The Serb played a few loose points in that game, though, giving Querrey a look at two break points to get back on serve. The American was able to convert on the second one before holding for a 6-5 lead, putting himself just one game away from the win.
“I played the break points really well. I was able to come up with a big serve when I needed it,” said Querrey.
He would have to wait for that opportunity to win, though, as rain began to fall again, forcing the players off the court. After another break, the players returned to a raucous crowd waiting to see if the world No. 1 would fall.
When play resumed, Djokovic held at love to force a tiebreak, bringing the match to peak levels of intensity. The Serb was able to earn an early mini-break advantage thanks to a couple glaring mistakes from Querrey, but the roles quickly reversed as Djokovic became the one making errors.
Querrey, after winning a point on Djokovic’s serve, found himself up 6-4 with two match points.
Djokovic saved the first before a long rally ensued at 6-5, which ended with a ball flying wide off the racquet of Djokovic, another error, giving Querrey the massive win and a spot in the round of 16.
“Taking it one round at a time,” said Querrey when asked how far he thought he could go in the tournament. “Just be happy with this and look forward to the next round.”
Querrey will take on Nicolas Mahut in the fourth round as both will look to reach their first quarterfinal at a major.
by Kevin Craig
Juan Martin del Potro continued his impressive run at Wimbledon on Friday, knocking out the No. 4 seed and two-time major champion Stan Wawrinka, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3, to enter the third round.
“I feel alive,” said del Potro after his impressive win.
Del Potro, the former world No. 4 and 2009 US Open champion, used a protected ranking to get into the main draw due to the various wrist injuries and procedures he has dealt with over the past few years.
Three separate left wrist operations left the Argentine out of the major tournaments for the past two years, but he has returned with a vengeance and looks like he is already reclaiming that status as a perennial threat to win major titles.
“It’s an amazing sensation for me. I was so happy on court,” said del Potro, who will take on the No. 32 seed Lucas Pouille of France in the third round.
Del Potro, currently ranked No. 165, got off to a shaky start, allowing Wawrinka to break in just his second service game of the match for a 3-1 lead. The first set was straightforward from there as both players looked to gain confidence throughout, especially del Potro, who was able to have a look at two break points when Wawrinka served for the set, but could not capitalize on them.
The 2009 US Open champion carried that momentum over into the second set, breaking Wawrinka at the same stage that the Suisse broke him in the first set, in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead. Wawrinka pressured del Potro late in the set, but the Argentine held his nerve to level the match at one-set all.
The third set saw an early exchange of breaks as del Potro broke first for a 2-1 lead but fell into a 0-40 hole in his next service game and was unable to battle back, getting broken at 15. Neither player had any chances on return as the set needed a tiebreak to be decided. From 2-2, del Potro reeled off four points in a row for a 6-2 lead and didn’t look back, putting himself just one win away from his biggest win since October of 2013 when he was ranked No. 5 and beat then No. 1 Rafael Nadal in Shanghai.
Each player had their chances in the fourth set, but del Potro was the one capitalizing on big points. After forcing Wawrinka to deuce in two of his first three service games of the set, del Potro earned a break point late and converted it to take a 5-3 lead. There were no issues for the Argentine in serving out the match as he held to 15 for the win.
“I’m enjoying tennis again. I don’t know if I can be in the top positions again, but if not, I will be happy just to be playing tennis again,” said an emotional del Potro.
Looking forward to his third round encounter with Pouille, del Potro said “I don’t know if I will be tired or not because I just finished my biggest match after my comeback, but I will try to be ready for that challenge.”
With the top two seeded players, Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem, out of their section of the draw, Pouille and del Potro will be looking to continue their journeys at Wimbledon and take advantage of an opened up portion of the draw.
by Kevin Craig
Current French Open champion and 2015 Wimbledon runner-up Garbine Muguruza of Spain was shocked on Thursday at Wimbledon as she was taken out by the No. 124 player in the world, Jana Cepelova.
Cepelova, a 23-year old from Slovakia, grabbed the straight sets win in stunning fashion by a score of 6-3, 6-2.
Muguruza allowed Cepelova to get off to a confident start as the 23-year old broke the Spaniard in her first service game of the match before holding at love to consolidate for a 3-0 lead at the first sit-down of the match. Cepelova had difficulties serving out the set the first time as she broke Muguruza again for a double break lead at 5-2, but could not close out the set in her first attempt. The set was won two games later, though, as Cepelova was able to fight off a late burst from the French Open champion.
“From the beginning, I feel really good on the court,” said Cepelova.
That late burst from the first set could not be sustained in the second set as Cepelova quickly stamped her foot down and took control. Breaking in both of Muguruza’s first two service games of the set allowed the challenger to race out to a 4-0 lead. The match was done and dusted at that point as Cepelova was able to hold in her next two service games to close out the match and reach the third round of Wimbledon for the second time in her career.
“I am really surprised, I didn’t expect two sets…Last year I beat (Simona) Halep on this court and I had great memories,” said Cepelova, who surprised even herself with the impressive performance.
The Slovakian, who had to win three qualifying matches to get into the main draw, has a knack for major upsets as she has the aforementioned win over Halep in the first round of Wimbledon last year to go along with her win over Serena Williams in 2014. Cepelova’s three biggest wins of her career have given her wins over a No. 1 player in the world, a No. 2 player in the world, and a No. 3 player in the world.
“I have some great players beaten so I’m very satisfied,” said Cepelova, who was once ranked as high as No. 50 in the world.
“I like these courts. I like to play against the biggest stars, against the champions.”
The loss for Muguruza means she became the ninth consecutive first-time major winner to fail to reach the quarterfinals of the next major tournament.
“I think she played great…she was trying a lot of stuff that was working. My energy was not really there. I was trying, but it didn’t work at all,” said Muguruza.
Cepelova has now won eight of her last nine matches and will look to continue her good run of form in the third round of Wimbledon where she will take on another major finalist in Lucie Safarova, the No. 28 seed in this year’s event who reached the final of the French Open in 2015.
by Kevin Craig
Roger Federer ended the Cinderella run of Marcus Willis on Wednesday at Wimbledon as the No. 3 player in the world defeated the No. 772 player in the world, 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.
Willis, the Brit who was extremely close to pulling the plug on his professional tennis career, decided to make a run at his dream one more time and was successful, winning a wild card tournament to earn entry into the qualifying tournament at Wimbledon, where he was able to beat three top-quality players, one of which was ranked inside the Top 100, to earn a spot in the main draw.
“This story is gold. I hope the press respects his situation. It’s easy now to use it, chew it up, and then throw it all away. He’s got a life and career after this,” said Federer of Willis’ story.
A match with Federer on Centre Court inspired Willis to confidently breeze through his first round match in straight sets, but the 17-time major champion was able to quickly stomp out any possibility of Willis’ run continuing, racing out to a quick one set advantage in less than half an hour.
Willis provided the crowd with something to cheer for early in the second set as he got on the scoreboard for the first time to get to 1-1. The 25-year old played Federer tight throughout the set, but was unable to create any chances on the serve of the Suisse, winning just four points in four return games. Because of the inability to create chances on the return, one poor service game from Willis at 2-3 was the turning point in the set, as Federer converted on his third break point of the game to grab a 4-2 lead, before eventually closing out the set.
The British crowd continued their massive support of Willis in the third set, and he did not disappoint. The Brit looked like he belonged on the biggest stage in tennis as he battled toe-to-toe with arguably the greatest player of all time, serving confidently and beginning to create chances on return. Willis saw just his second break point of the match at 3-2 in the third set, but it was staved off by the veteran, propelling him to break at love just three games later before closing out the straight sets win.
“It’s not easy for him to come out there and play a decent match. There’s a lot of pressure on him as well. I thought he handled it great,” said Federer, complimenting Willis’ performance.
Sure, Willis didn’t win the match, but he earned something so much more important than that. He won the respect of millions of tennis fans around the world, especially those in his own country, who surely hope that he will change his plans and continue his professional tennis career.
“It was all just a blur. It was amazing…I love every bit of it,” said Willis. “The whole experience was incredible.”
After the match had ended, Federer stayed by his chair, allowing Willis to be the one who walked out to the middle of the court to acknowledge the applauding fans giving him a standing ovation, something he may never be able to do on that big of a stage again.
“It was his moment. I wanted him to have a great time,” said Federer.
Federer will take on the winner of Dan Evans, another Brit, or Alex Dolgopolov in the third round.