So much for that Novak Djokovic v. Roger Federer meeting. Marat Safin did what I didn’t think he was still capable of doing, that is taking out a big name in a big tournament. Safin today pretty much ripped apart the third-seeded Djokovic 6-4, 7-6, 6-2 to reach the third round at Wimbledon today.
I didn’t get to see much of the match – ESPN was in tune with another near-Serb shocker with Ana Ivanovic – but it’s quite a surprising result.
I have been rather critical of Novak but I thought he’d get through this one. Credit to Safin who makes it clear that he can still be a factor on any given day. I still don’t think he’s got a deep Slam run in him – if he does the draw he inherits from Novak sets up nicely for him – and I wouldn’t put it passed him to lose in the next round to Andreas Seppi.
I’d now tab Marcos Baghdatis as the player to come through to that final four and play Federer. Sorry Safin fans, he hasn’t lost a set yet but I’m not going to hitch my cart to him yet.
As for Novak, he can all but kiss goodbye his No. 1 hopes this season, and maybe even his chances for No. 2 with all the points he has to defend this summer in Canada and at the US Open, plus those he loses from reaching the semifinals here. He’s going to be in a deep hole ranking-wise after this loss, his earliest at a Slam since a 2006 Australian Open first round exit to Paul Goldstein.
And again with Novak, before I put him up there with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, I want to see this guy really come back from the brink. In his last five Slam losses he won just one set, and while the losses are to top players it does raise some doubts. And I guess I’ll have to wait longer to see a Djokovic-Federer rematch.
Back Ivanovic who wins 10-8 in the third. Pretty incredible that Ana hits a netcord down matchpoint against Nathalie Dechy in the second set. From what I saw, the ball basically climbed over the net. Amazing. Talk about bad luck for Nathalie, you can’t get much worse luck than that. She should give a ring to Derrick Rostagno.
After a couple somewhat dull first round – with the only result of interest being a semi-surprise of David Nalbandian, nice to see the tournament kicking into a higher gear today.
Federer right now is crusing 3-0 up on Robin Soderling and Serena seems to be in control. I’m interested to the see the David Ferrer-Igor Andreev result. Clearly these courts are playing slower, but those two are going to turn it into a true clay court!
Tomorrow looks good with Rafael Nadal and Ernests Gulbis getting it on. Gulbis has the serve to do a lot of damage and I wasn’t terrible impressed by Rafa’s performance yesterday despite his own strong serving (17 aces). Andy Roddick also didn’t look particularly great, but early on at a Slam the most important thing is to survive and advance. Just ask Ana Ivanovic.
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