What a crazy day at Wimbledon with upsets galore.
Andy Roddick looked terrible today against Janko Tipsarevic in a stunning defeat. Maria Sharapova stunk up the house with her play in a loss to the 154th-ranked Alla Kudryatseva, and James Blake, well, he went James Blake losing from ahead in crushing five-set defeat to Rainer Schuettler.
I should give credit to all three underdogs for staying composed and getting the job done.
I didn’t think Roddick played especially well in his first round win over Schwank, and today he never was able to break Janko’s serve which was a surprise. Roddick seemed to serve well with 27 aces, hitting 73% of first serves with his faster at 142mph, but in the rallies he’s just looks very below average and the pace of his shot appears lacking.
Blake just doesn’t really know what to do on grass, so not as big of a surprise there. But James still has to win that match especially when he’s up two sets to one and a break in the fourth against a guy like Rainer.
And Maria has had service problems now for quite some time. So much for being the favorite to win Wimbledon.
As for the winners, Rafael Nadal looked better than he did in the first round. Today Nadal had a rough go in the first set against Ernests Gulbis but his toughness and experience won out. And he’ll need to keep improving going forward with Nicholas Kiefer and either Radek Stepanek or Mikhail Youzhny on the horizon. Nadal’s tricky draw is really much trickier on closer inspection, but I think he’s still looks enough good to get through, especially with what looks to be really slow courts this year.
Richard Gasquet has been very strong, and I look forward to a possible clash in the fourth round between him and Andy Murray.
I’ll also stick with Dmitry Tursunov as my semifinal pick. That Roddick quarter has really opened up and I have to give Dmitry the best shot of getting through a very suspect field.
On the women’s side, Venus remains my pick even though she’s not been anything but dominating. Ana Ivanovic’s playing with house money so that should take some of the pressure off her game.
For tomorrow, it looks like business as usual. I like Federer cruising, Hewitt struggling but winning. I also like Mario Ancic, Micha Zverev, Marcos Baghdatis and Feliciano Lopez to get in the win column. The Tomas Berdych-Fernando Verdasco is a real toss-up. If Spain wins their Euro Cup today then Verdasco should win.
Exciting stuff the last two days. I just hope it continues and the weather holds.
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