World No. 1 Rafael Nadal had a generally easy time against Ryan Sweeting on Wednesday at Wimbledon, defeating the American 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to set up a third-round meeting against his former conqueror, the giant-serving Gilles Muller of Luxembourg,
Muller beat Nadal in four sets at the All England Club in the second round in 2005.
“It was a long time ago, but he beat me,” Nadal said. “So that’s what happened. Gilles is a very dangerous player, especially on this surface. So it will be a very tough match for me. I don’t know what is my best form, I try my best every day. I need a few adjustments.”
Muller advanced when his opponent, the equally-giant-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, retired after a fall where he injured his leg.
Other Top 10 winners in straight sets on Wednesday were No. 4 Andy Murray, No. 6 Tomas Berdych, No. 8 Andy Roddick, No. 10 Mardy Fish, and No. 9 Gael “Force” Monfils who needed four sets to advance.
“I didn’t think I played that well, but I didn’t get broken,” Murray said. “I served well, especially when I was behind in games. It was quite windy on the court, which made it tricky, and I thought he hit the ball very well from the back of the court. I could have returned a little bit better. It was straight sets, so I’ve got to be pleased with that, but I’ve got to improve for the next match.”
Joining the No. 31-seeded Raonic among the exiting seeds were No. 14 Stan Wawrinka ousted by Italian Simone Bolelli in straights, No. 21 Fernando “Mild Sauce” Verdasco beaten by Dutchman Robin Haase in four, and No. 25 Juan Ignacio Chela dumped by American Alex Bogomolov, Jr., in straights, including a bagel first set.
Other notables advancing into the third round were Lukasz Kubot over “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic, Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez beating Rainer Schuettler in four, Gilles Simon, and Ivan Ljubicic.
Thursday highlights at Roland Garros are (5) Robin Soderling vs. former champ Lleyton Hewitt, France’s Adrian Mannarino vs. (3) Roger Federer, Kevin “Mr.” Anderson vs. (2) Novak Djokovic, Olivier “The Roach” Rochus vs. (24) Juan Martin Del Potro (to finish), (7) David Ferrer vs. Ryan “The Racquet Thrower” Harrison, (28) David Nalbandian vs. Andreas “Don’t be a” Haider-Maurer, and (16) Nicolas Almagro vs. John Isner.
On the women’s side, former champ Venus Williams was forced to fight for her life in a battle of the elderly. The 31-year-old Williams defeated 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-7(6), 6-3, 8-6 to advance in their first career meeting.
“It was tough,” Williams said of the match which almost lasted three hours. “She came out and I couldn’t seem to get a game. Before I knew it, she was hitting balls past me. She played so well, every shot was touching the line. She played aggressive, I’m just glad to get through.”
The three Top 10 winners in action, No. 2 Vera Zvonareva, No. 4 Victoria Azarenka, and No. 8 Petra Kvitova, all failed to drop a set.
No. 30 seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands was the only upset victim on the day, as the fashion-forward American losing to unheralded Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi. Mattek-Sands was grace-backwards in defeat, swatting a ball and failing to shake the chair umpire’s hand.
Other notable unseeded winners were France’s Mathilde Johansson beating Brit wildcard Heather Watson in three,
and wildcard winners Sabine Lisicki of Germany and Brit Laura Robson.
Matches to look for on Thursday at Wimbledon include (3) Na Li vs. Sabine Lisicki, Brit Laura Robson vs. (5) Maria Sharapova, the significantly reduced Simona Halep vs. the bountiful (7) Serena Williams, (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Virginie Razzano, (18) Ana Ivanovic vs. Eleni Daniilidou, and the all-Russian (14) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Nadia Petrova.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
John Isner said his buddy Sam Querrey has undergone elbow surgery for bone spurs and will be out of action a couple months…Wasn’t it apparent that Nicolas Mahut was completely mentally not up for that rematch with John Isner? He was so distraught and consumed by that loss last year that he wrote a book about it!…John McEnroe talking to the BBC about Rafael Nadal needing to be more of a dick like him: “There is definitely an argument for him not only being the best player at the moment, but the greatest of all time. Rafa has won things like the Davis Cup and an Olympic gold medal (in singles) that Roger Federer hasn’t, and he is right on his tail in terms of Grand Slam titles too — why can’t he just say ‘Look, I’m the best.'”…Dunlop signed American “Iron” Mike Russell…After a two-year absence, Juan Martin del Potro will represent Argentina in Davis Cup against Kazakhstan.
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