Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki Back To No. 1 With Australian Open Title

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced that Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki will reclaim the WTA World No.1 ranking when the official WTA rankings are released on Monday, January 29.

Wozniacki ascends to the No.1 spot for the first time since January 2012 after defeating the reigning World No.1 Simona Halep to lift her first Grand Slam trophy at the Australian Open on Saturday. Wozniacki’s return to the top of the game marks exactly six years since she held the top spot, the longest gap since computer rankings were introduced in November 1975.

Since the start of the 2017 season, Wozniacki has won 71 matches, more than any other player, and also owns the most wins on hardcourts within that period (52). During this successful run, she defended her title at the Toray Pan Pacific Open (Tokyo) and won the prestigious 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. She reached a further six finals last season and started her 2018 campaign with a runner-up finish at the ASB Classic (Auckland).

The Dane first captured the No.1 ranking on October 11, 2010 and became the 20th woman overall and the first representing Denmark. Her second and most recent stint at the top lasted 49-straight weeks from February 2011 to January 2012. Including this upcoming week, Wozniacki will sit at No.9 on the all-time list for weeks at No.1, with 68.

At the start of the 2018 Australian Open, six players had a chance at leaving Melbourne Park with the No.1 ranking. By capturing her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne, the Dane ensures her ascension to the top spot.

“It was a dream come true to rise to World No.1 in 2010, but, to do so again after so many years really makes me proud,” said Wozniacki. “To become World No.1 again after winning my first-ever Grand Slam here in Melbourne is one of the happiest and proudest moments of my career.”

“This is a special moment for Caroline and I congratulate her on this deserving feat,” said WTA CEO and Chairman Steve Simon. “Caroline’s journey and career has been remarkable and inspiring to fans around the world. Her hard work and determination has paid off and we at the WTA are very proud to see her attain the very special ranking of World No.1.”

Wozniacki will be presented with the WTA World No.1 Trophy, the focal point of which is a silver “star-map” tennis ball that represents the tennis universe. All world No.1s, past and present, are depicted by a diamond in the sky, which represents each champion’s mark on the sport.

Click here to read more on Wozniacki’s historic achievement.

Wozniacki is one of 25 players to reach the pinnacle of women’s professional tennis since the computer rankings were created in 1975.

Will A First-Time Major Women’s Winner Be Crowned At The Australian Open?

The Australian Open may seem destined to crown a first-time major singles champion in women’s singles in 2018.

With Serena Williams out of the field following the birth of her daughter, shocking first-round losses by Venus Williams and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens as well as the defeats of the likes of Maria Sharapova, Jelena Ostapenko, Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova, leaves Angelique Kerber as the only player left in the field who has won a major title. Kerber, the 2016 Australian and U.S. Open champion, however was nearly upset in the fourth round Monday, escaping Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan 4-6, 5-7, 6-1.

The women’s singles field is wide open with fans having to check the website and mobile app for CrownBet the fastest growing online sports and racing wagering business in Australia, for the latest odds.

The two favorites are the top two seeds, No. 1 Simona Halep and No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki, who by a strange curious statistic, are the top two seeds at the season’s first Grand Slam tournament despite having never winning a major tournament. Halep, however, did reach the French Open final on two occasions, losing in 2014 to Maria Sharapova and last year to the young upstart Jelena Ostapenko. Despite being the No. 1 seed, Halep has a long history of unsuccessful battles against her nerves on the biggest stages.

Wozniacki, like Halep, has achieved the world No. 1 but has only reached two major finals, both at the U.S. Open in 2009 and 2014. She has won a healthy number of singles titles (27), including the year-end championships last year in Singapore so she can seen as a bigger “big match” player.

Madison Keys may be on a collision course with destiny this week as the 22-year-old American showed brilliant form in defeating Caroline Garcia of France, one of the most in-form players on the WTA Tour, by an easy 6-3, 6-2 scoreline. Keys may be channeling the disappointment and feelings of the “agony of defeat” from her loss to friend and fellow American Sloane Stephens in last year’s U.S. Open final. Pete Sampras, the 14-time major singles winner, said that his loss to Stefan Edberg in the 1992 U.S. Open was so difficult for him to digest that it spurred him on to victories in many other major finals. This could perhaps be the same situation for Keys, who is being fueled by her U.S. Open final-round loss. To boot, she has the Hall of Famer Lindsay Davenport in her camp as her coach. Keys is also seeded No. 17 which is the same seeding that Roger Federer had in 2017 when he claimed the men’s crown.

Also flying under the radar is Karolina Pliskova, the big-serving Czech star and former world No. 1, who could face Halep in the quarterfinals. Pliskova lost a tough U.S. Open final to Kerber in 2016 and getting more used to playing in the later rounds of majors and could be a dark horse pick to win the title by week’s end.

 

 

Expect The Unexpected At The 2018 Australian Open

The Australian Open has a history of producing unpredictable results with healthy helping of long-shot champions, finalists and semifinalists. A primary reason for this is because the event is played in the third week of the tennis season and a players off-season training – or lack thereof – showcases itself.

Injuries and comebacks are the major theme heading into the 2018 Australian Open. On the men’s side, five-time finalist Andy Murray is out of the event after undergoing hip surgery. Former top 10 star Kei Nishikori of Japan is also not competing due to injury. Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka are expected to post in their returns to tournament tennis. Djokovic has not played since last summer with a right elbow injury. Wawrinka has also not played since the summer after undergoing  knee surgery.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal had a much shorter injury layoff, not playing an official tournament since having to withdraw from the ATP World Tour Finals at the end of the 2017 season with a hampered knee.

The Australian Open has a long history of long-shots advancing deep into the tournament and also claiming the men’s and women’s singles titles. On the men’s side,  some most recent surprise performances have been champions Petr Korda (1999), Thomas Johannsson (2002) and also Marcos Baghdatis, Fernando Gonzalez and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who made their only major singles final appearances in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively. Since then, winners and runners-up have been among the elite of the elite – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – with the lone exception being Stan Wawrinka, who was ranked No. 9 when he won his first major title in Melbourne in 2014.

In 2017, Grigor Dimitrov had another breakthrough major tournament by reaching the semifinals, where he lost in an epic five-set thriller to Nadal. After his victory at the year-end ATP World Tour Finals in London to end 2017, Dimitrov is the top choice to win the title in Melbourne this year other than No. 1 Nadal and No. 2 seed and defending champion Roger Federer. Austria’s Dominic Thiem, ranked No. 5, and Germany’s Alexander Zverev, ranked No. 4, are also poised for greatness and could begin this next generation of champions with an Australian Open win. Australia’s immensely talented Nick Kyrgios, ranked No. 17, could put his temperament aside and rise the tide of local support to fulfill his massive potential. His title in Brisbane leading into the event have buoyed his tennis betting odds.

On the women’s side, the Australian Open has also crowned unheralded champions such as Kerry Reid in 1977, Chris O’Neil in 1978 and Barbara Jordan in 1979. Angelique Kerber was the Australian Open surprise in 2016, winning her first major title with a final-round upset of world No. 1 Serena Williams.  Kerber and 2008 champion Maria Sharapova are the only two former Australian Open winners in the 2018 women’s singles field. Defending champion Serena Williams has pulled out of the event, not feeling her post-pregnancy comeback has progressed fast enough for her liking. Vika Azarenka, the 2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion, also pulled out of the event since she is not able to travel overseas in a custody battle of her son.

The top two women’s seeds, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki respectively, have never won a major singles title, which may place No. 3 seed Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon champion, as the favorite. Elina Svitolina, the No. 4 seed, has also never won a major singles title but appears as though she is a future candidate for that role and Australia would be an appropriate stage for this kind of breakthrough.

Johanna Konta of Britain, born in Australia and ranked No. 9, may be a surprise pick to win the title. She was a surprise semifinalist Down Under in 2016 and also at Wimbledon in 2017 so she could make a move to a later round.

Alexander Zverev and Elina Svitolina Win Canada Titles Heading Into US Open

Canada saw a glimpse of the bright future of men’s and women’s tennis on Sunday, as 20-year old German Alexander Zverev and 22-year old Ukrainian Elina Svitolina won their inaugural Rogers Cup titles.

 

Zverev took down Roger Federer, 6-3, 6-4, in Montreal, to become the youngest Rogers Cup men’s champion since Novak Djokovic in 2007. Zverev continued his peak summer hard-court form — he’s won 10 straight matches after winning the title in Washington, D.C., last week — to capture his second ATP Masters 1000 title of 2017 (Rome) and first at a US Open Series event. Zverev has now won five ATP titles in 2017, which is tied with Federer for the most on tour.

 

Svitolina beat Caroline Wozniacki, 6-4, 6-0, in Toronto to win her ninth career WTA title and her tour-leading fifth this year. Svitolina’s first victory at a US Open Series event was earned by defeating four straight Top 10-ranked players in Venus Williams, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Wozniacki, and it will propel her to a career-high No. 4 in the world on Monday.

 

The US Open Series crescendos this week with the Western & Southern Open, as many of the top men’s and women’s players converge on Cincinnati. For the first time since 2009, Rafael Nadal and Federer will be the tournament’s No. 1 and No. 2 men’s seeds, respectively, and will battle each other to claim the No. 1 ranking. Cincinnati will also see a women’s field featuring every active player in the Top 20 (minus Serena Williams) and five different players battling to claim the No. 1 ranking.

 

ESPN2 picks up its coverage from Cincinnati on Thursday, beginning at 1 p.m., and will carry matches through Sunday’s finals, beginning with the women at 2 p.m. ET. Tennis Channel begins its weeklong coverage with Monday’s first round. See the full summer TV schedule here.

 

Fans can join the conversation by using hashtag #USOpenSeries and by following @usopen. Fans can share their experiences at US Open Series tournaments using hashtag #MyUSOpenSeries.

 

About the US Open Series

Now in its 14th season, the world’s best players on the WTA and ATP World Tour are coming together for the US Open Series. Linking seven summer WTA and ATP World Tour tournaments to the US Open, the US Open Series serves as a true “regular season” of hard court tennis.  Featuring a cohesive schedule, the Series centralizes the way tennis is viewed in North America, across multiple television and digital platforms. Fans will see today’s top champions go head-to-head with tomorrow’s emerging stars, as storylines develop throughout the summer season. Each tournament also engages its local community with a variety of outreach initiatives, including grass-roots youth tennis clinics and activities.

 

About the WTA

The WTA is the global leader in women’s professional sport with more than 2,500 players representing nearly 100 nations competing for a record $139 million in prize money. The 2017 WTA competitive season includes 55 events and four Grand Slams in 32 countries.

 

About the ATP World Tour

The ATP World Tour, with 63 tournaments in 31 countries, showcases the finest male athletes competing in the world’s most exciting venues. From Australia to Europe and the Americas to Asia, the stars of the 2017 ATP World Tour will battle for prestigious titles and Emirates ATP Rankings points at ATP World Tour Masters 1000, 500 and 250 events, as well as Grand Slams (non ATP events).

Caroline Wozniacki Advances Into US Open Semifinals For Third Time

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Caroline Wozniacki reached her third US Open semifinal on Tuesday as she defeated an injured Anastasija Sevastova, 6-0, 6-2 to start off a lackluster night session that saw the men’s match between Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga end with the Frenchman retiring.

The Dane, a former world No. 1, reached the only two major finals of her career at the US Open, coming in 2009 and 2014. The win puts her into her first semifinal at a major since that run to the final of the US Open in 2014.

“It’s amazing to be back here. It’s the best feeling ever,” said Wozniacki, currently ranked No. 74.

The former world No. 1 had no issues starting off the match as she was able to break Sevastova to get out to a quick lead. It was just a couple games into the match, though, that the Latvian took a tumble on the baseline and rolled her ankle, essentially killing off any chances she had of winning the match.

“I felt real sorry for her. I kept pushing her back and making her run,” said Wozniacki, who was aware of the injury but did not want to give her opponent any room to get back into the match.

After taking the first set with no trouble whatsoever, it looked like the second set would take a similar path. Wozniacki was able to race out to a 4-0 lead as Sevastova continued to struggle with the ankle injury.

In the fifth game, however, the Latvian was able to finally get on the board as she fought off three break points to hold for the first time in the match. She would hold again in her next service game and looked to finally be in the match, but it was too little too late.

In the next game, Wozniacki held with ease to close out the win, setting up a semifinal with the 2016 Australian Open champion, Angelique Kerber. The German leads the head-to-head record 7-5, but the Dane holds a 5-4 lead in hard court matches.

“She’s had a great year so she will be tough to beat, but I’m going to do my best. That’s all I can ask for myself,” said Wozniacki. “I always believe in myself, no matter what my ranking.”

Wozniacki2016USOpen

 

Debut Spoiler – Woz Dispatches Loeb

Caroline Wozniaki

Day 2 of the US Open featured a tour veteran versus a brand new pro, as No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki spoiled Jamie Loeb’s main draw debut, 6-2, 6-0. The 2015 tournament marks Wozniacki’s ninth main draw appearance versus Loeb’s first. Loeb is a wildcard guest of the USTA due to her recent NCAA singles championship for the University of North Carolina. Despite the relatively easy win, Wozniacki had encouraging words for the WTA Tour rookie. “It’s not easy to be playing your first professional match, and especially being out there in the US Open first round playing me on Arthur Ashe Stadium. I think that can be pretty intimidating altogether,” Wozniacki said. “I think she did well. She has a lot of potential. … I’m sure we will see a lot of her in the future.”

Photo: Chris Nicholson, www.PhotographingTennis.com

The Best Moments of the 2014 US Open

 

The 2014 US Open was known for many surprises. While Serena Williams lived up to her reputation and claimed yet another Grand Slam title, over on the men’s side, Marin Cilic surprised us all by going all the way to the top. At just 25 years old, he managed to beat some of the world’s best recognised tennis stars including Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray, and has now cemented himself as an up and comer to rival today’s ‘big four.’

Cilic may have surprised us all, but there were a few other golden moments which will not be forgotten in a hurry. Here’s a look back at some of the best moments of the US Open 2014.

 

Kei Nishikori breaks a personal record

While Marin Cilic was raising a few eyebrows and getting bookmakers at www.bettingsports.com talking, Kei Nishikori was another young prodigy to stun at this year’s US Open event. The 24-year-old made it all the way to the final, but while he did not take the title, he did have one extraordinary achievement. After beating Stan Wawrinka, he became the first Japanese player to reach a semi-final since Ichiya Kuamagae in 1918.

 

Andy Murray bows out once again

After his Wimbledon success in 2013, Andy Murray suffered a huge fall from grace this year as he exited Wimbledon early and failed to take the title at the US Open. While some say that he was plagued with back injuries, it could just be that world number one Novak Djokovic was too much for him. The quarter final saw Murray’s sensational exit this year as Djokovic beat him 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (1-7) 6-2 6-4.

 

Caroline Wozniacki has a bad hair day

Recent break ups with golf champions were the least of Caroline Wozniacki’s worries as she went head to head with Aliaksandra Sasnovich on August 27th. The Danish beauty managed to get her hair caught in her racket during play, making for a memorable photo opportunity for the hundreds of spectators watching her. Thankfully, she managed to progress to the final, but was ultimately overwhelmed when it came to meeting champion Serena Williams.

 

The fall of Roger Federer

It’s becoming more and more likely that the ‘big four’ – Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, (who was out due to a wrist injury) Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are soon to be replaced by today’s younger stars. This is particularly true for Roger Federer, who, at 33, was overwhelmed by this year’s champion, Marin Cilic, in the semi finals.

 

Adidas Women’s Fall Preview: Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Laura Robson and More

Adidas tennis has come out with their women’s US Open series line for both their Adizero kit worn by Ana Ivanovic and Angelique Kerber, as well as their Stella McCartney line worn by Caroline Wozniacki, Laura Robson and Andrea Petkovic.

Here’s a breakdown of all the styles you will see on the adidas ladies this fall.

Ana Ivanovic, Daniela Hantuchova: The adizero line has already looked beautiful at Wimbledon in all-white, and the brand continues the bold lines in their adidas Women’s Fall Adizero Dress. The added color palette of Hero Ink Blue and Hi-Res Red/Orange bring a stunning and eye-catching design to the mesh fabric.

adidas Women's Fall Adizero Dress Ana Ivanovic US Open 2

adidas Women's Fall Adizero Dress Ana Ivanovic US Open

Thanks to @Curtos07, we now have a photo of Ivanovic in the adizero dress.

Ana Ivanovic in adizero US Open dress

Angelique Kerber, Christina McHale, Francesca Schiavone: Adidas extends the colorful design into their adidas Women’s Fall Adizero Tank, though the mesh doesn’t cut nearly as low as on the dress. The top comes in White with Hero Ink and Hi-Res Red/Orange.

adidas Women's Fall Adizero Tank Angelique Kerber US Open

Flavia Pennetta: Adidas has lifted it’s mesh cutout even further in their adidas Women’s Fall Adizero Cap-Sleeve. It features a crew neck with contrast binding, mesh insert at right shoulder, a slight cap-sleeves, and comes in Hi-Res Red/Orange, Hero Ink and White with Hero Ink.

adidas Women's Fall Adizero Cap-Sleeve Flavia Pennetta US Open

Adizero Line Skirt and Shoes: All of the adizero ladies will also be sporting the simple and elegant adidas Women’s Fall Adizero Skort in Hero Ink Blue or Hi-Res Red/Orange, and the adidas adizero CC Tempaia II Women’s Shoe in either White/Red or White/Blue/Red.

adidas Women's Fall Adizero Skort

adidas adizero CC Tempaia II Women's Shoe US OpenMaria Kirilenko, Andrea Petkovic: As big of a hit as the adizero line looks, the Stella McCartney line leaves one feeling confused. The numerous cutouts, mesh and color combinations and layers overdo the look a bit, but the materials are definitely breathable. The adidas Women’s Stella McCartney Fall Tank 1 features a scoop neck, racerback straps, mesh inserts at neck and upper back for increased ventilation, and colorblocking. It comes in Ultra Green, Ultra Bright Orange and White.

adidas Women's Stella McCartney Fall Tank 2013

adidas Women's Stella McCartney Fall Tank 2013 2

Caroline Wozniacki: Stella continues the intense colorblocking in their adidas Women’s Stella McCartney Fall Tank 2 which has the same features as above but additionally has a large back opening. It comes in Shell Beige with Ultra Bright Orange, and White with Ultra Bright Orange, and is paired with a similarly colored sports bra which shows through the mesh.

adidas Women's Stella McCartney Fall Tank Wozniacki

Laura Robson: The Brit will be adorned in the adidas Women’s Stella McCartney Fall Cap Sleeve, and comes in Ultra Bright Orange, Ultra Green and Whtie.

adidas Women's Stella McCartney Fall Cap Sleeve Robson 1
adidas Women's Stella McCartney Fall Cap Sleeve Robson 2

Stella McCartney Line Skirt: Though the athletes have the adidas Women’s Stella McCartney Fall Short in taffeta fabric available to play in, most of the adidas ladies will most likely be wearing the flattering style of the adidas Women’s Stella McCartney Fall Skort in Shell Beige, Ultra Green, Ultra Bright, or White.

adidas Women's Stella McCartney Fall Skort 1
adidas Women's Stella McCartney Fall Skort 2An additional fall top is also available for those chilly evenings, and the adidas Women’s Stella McCartney Fall LS Top continues the colorblocking, re-introducing what looks like last fall’s adidas colors again. It features a wide scoop neck and back, three-quarter sleeves and mesh panel on back.

adidas Women's Stella McCartney Fall LS Top

 

What do you think of adidas’ Fall and US Open series styles?

Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and More Glam Up for WTA 40 Love Celebration in London

(June 30, 2013) Current and former WTA world No. 1s gathered together on Sunday in London to celebrate “40 Love” – the 40th anniversary of the WTA, founded by trailblazer Billie Jean King.

The WTA and its leaders have strived to bring equality, recognition and respect to the tour over the years. The organization is now the global leader in women’s professional sport, and proudly counts many pioneering accomplishments, including the successful campaign for equal prize money.

Seventeen of the 21 WTA No. 1s were in attendance, including three of the original nine, displaying elegance and beauty. Can you name each one in the photo below?

Emcees Pam Shriver and Mary Carillo introduced each of the No. 1s in style, referencing the “sassy sour” Maria Sharapova to the ever elegant Monica Seles. Each lady then had the chance with the mic, and afterward, it was time to mingle and celebrate.

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The “pink” carpet arrivals were no less stunning.

Teenagers Eugenie Bouchard and Madison Keys were also invited guests, with the WTA calling them “potential future world No. 1s.” Quite an honor.

Eugenie Bouchard and Madison Keys

Watch all the pink carpet interviews with the World No.1s, gala speeches from the legends and much more with a full replay of all the Sunday celebrations. (Begins around the 24 minute mark.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT_OVo2FC0c

Wimbledon Rewind: How the Mighty Have Fallen (And Who Might Reap the Rewards)

A wild Wednesday swept through the All England Club.  We glance back through the avalanche of upsets that rendered some sections of both draws almost unrecognizable as a major.

Roger rolled:  36 straight quarterfinals at majors.  Seven Wimbledon titles in the last ten years.  None of his legendary opponent’s credentials mattered to the 116th-ranked Sergei Stakhovsky, who became the lowest-ranked man to defeat Roger Federer in a decade.  His moment of truth came in the fourth-set tiebreak, as crucial for the underdog as it was for the favorite considering the momentum that Stakhovsky had built by winning the second and third sets.  Federer had started to reassert himself late in the fourth, and he surely would have secured the fifth set if he had reached it.

Unlike Alejandro Falla in 2010, and Julien Benneteau in 2012, Stakhovsky made sure that the Swiss did not survive the crossroads.  A barrage of unreturnable serves early in the tiebreak, a clutch backhand down the line, and a sequence of magnificent lunging volleys brought him to match point on his serve.  Sure enough, Federer saved it with a pinpoint passing shot.  But Stakhovsky kept his composure through what felt like an interminable rally with the champion serving at 5-6 in the tiebreak.  Finally, a Federer backhand floated aimlessly wide as time seemed to stand still on Centre Court, where things like these never happen.

Maria mastered:  Off the WTA radar for years, former prodigy Michelle Larcher de Brito had gained most of her publicity from distinctively elongated yodels.  She entered the main draw as a qualifier, though, which meant that she had accumulated more grass matches than her heralded opponent.  Former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova has stumbled early in the draw there more often than not in recent years.  Slipping and skidding around the site of her first major breakthrough, she never found her rhythm or range from the baseline in a loss that recalled previous Wimbledon setbacks to Alla Kudryavtseva and Gisela Dulko.

The finish did not come easily for de Brito, as it never does against Sharapova.  The girl who long has struggled with her serve deserves full credit for standing firm through deuce after deuce as five match points slipped past until the sixth proved the charm.

Vika victimized:  Injuring her leg during her first-round victory, world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka never reached her scheduled Centre Court rendezvous with Flavia Pennetta on Wednesday.  Azarenka withdrew from Wimbledon while blasting the All England Club for creating unsafe playing conditions.  She now needs only a retirement or walkover at Roland Garros to complete a career injury Slam, and she will hand the No. 2 ranking back to Sharapova after the tournament.

Jo-Wilfried jolted:  Also on the retirement list in a day filled with injuries, world No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga handed Ernests Gulbis a ticket to the third round after losing two of the first three sets.  A semifinalist at Roland Garros and at Queen’s Club, Tsonga had seemed one of the tournament’s leading dark horses at the outset.  But Gulbis, the most dangerous unseeded man in the draw, eyes an open route to a quarterfinal against Andy Murray.

Caro curbed:  An Eastbourne semifinal aside, Caroline Wozniacki has struggled without respite since reaching the Indian Wells final in March.  Another early loss thus comes as no great surprise for someone who lost in the first round of Wimbledon last year.  Wozniacki secured just four games from Petra Cetkovska, not the first upset that the Czech has notched on grass.

Tall men toppled:  Their opponents had nothing to do with it, but the tenth-seeded Marin Cilic and American No. 2 John Isner added themselves to the exodus of retirements.  While Isner did not harbor real hopes for a deep run, Cilic reached the final at Queen’s Club barely a week ago and had reached the second week of Wimbledon last year.  Of the top-16 seeds in the bottom half of the men’s draw, only Murray and Nicolas Almagro remain.

Serbs swiped:  More comfortable on slower surfaces, former No. 1s Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic departed in straight sets on Wednesday.  Ivanovic’s loss came at the hands of rising Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard, who may rival Laura Robson (or Larcher de Brito?) for the breakout story of the women’s tournament.  The proudly patriotic Jankovic may take some comfort in the fact that her misfortune came at the hands of a fellow Serb.  Her conqueror, Vesna Dolonc, is the only Serb left in the women’s draw.

Hewitt halted:  The 2002 champion soared to a straight-sets victory over the 11th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka in the first round, only to tumble back to earth against flashy Jamaican-turned-German journeyman Dustin Brown.  Lleyton Hewitt’s defeat leaves Novak Djokovic as the only former champion and only No. 1 in the Wimbledon men’s draw.

And more…:  The seeded casualties did not stop there.  Fernando Verdasco bounced No. 31 Julien Benneteau in straight sets, No. 22 Sorana Cirstea lost two tiebreaks to Camila Giorgi, and No. 27 Lucie Safarova let a one-set lead get away against another Italian in Karin Knapp.  Nadal’s nemesis, Steve Darcis, also withdrew from Wimbledon with a shoulder injury.

Hanging on tight:  In the women’s match of the day, No. 17 Sloane Stephens narrowly kept her tournament alive against Andrea Petkovic by surviving an 8-6 third set.  Stephens will have a real chance to reach her second semifinal in three 2013 majors with both top-eight seeds gone from her quarter.  Also extended to a third set were No. 19 Carla Suarez Navarro and No. 25 Ekaterina Makarova, the latter of whom overcame rising Spanish star Garbine Muguruza.  Meanwhile, men’s 20th seed Mikhail Youzhny needed five sets to survive Canadian youngster Vasek Pospisil as hardly anyone escaped at least a nibble from the upset bug.

Rising above the rubble:  But a few contenders did.  Extending his winning streak to seven, second seed Andy Murray notched another routine victory as he becomes the overwhelming favorite to reach a second straight Wimbledon final.  Murray’s pre-final draw might pit him against a succession of Tommy Robredo, Youzhny, Gulbis, and Benoit Paire or Jerzy Janowicz—hardly a murderer’s row, although the Gulbis matchup might intrigue.

In the wake of a difficult first-round victory, 2011 champion Petra Kvitova caught a break today when Yaroslava Shvedova withdrew.  Kvitova becomes the only top-eight seed to reach the third round in the bottom half of the women’s draw.  She could face a compelling test from Makarova on Friday, but her most significant competition might come from Stephens or Marion Bartoli in the semifinals.  Struggling mightily for most of the spring amid coaching turmoil, 2007 finalist Bartoli has picked an ideal time to find some form again.  She ousted Christina McHale in straight sets today and has become the highest-ranked woman remaining in her quarter.