The champions were mowed under at The Championships on Monday at Wimbledon as world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and former champions Venus and Serena Williams all lost in fourth-round play.
Wozniacki, still seeking her first Grand Slam title, was overpowered by the diminutive No. 24 seed Dominika Cibulkova of the Slovak Republic 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 after a seemingly indomitable start.
“To be honest, I don’t really care what people think or say or do,” said the defiant No. 1 Dane. “I cannot really do anything now. I did my best and it wasn’t good enough.”
The No. 7-seeded Serena Williams, who appeared back on her game in the third round after a straight-set win, saw the rust from a long illness layoff resurface in the face of big-hitting Frenchwoman and No. 9 seed Marion Bartoli in a 6-3, 7-6(6) loss.
“It’s definitely my biggest win. Beating Serena Williams is almost like a dream come true. Even though she didn’t play for almost a year, she’s one of the greatest champions in the Open Era,” Bartoli told the BBC after the match. “I had lots of chances but she kept coming up with amazing shots. After losing the 6-5 game, to win was amazing. I did it and I’m very happy.”
Serena was diplomatic in losing while blowing her own horn of potential.
“I never came here thinking I could lose. That’s my attitude. You know, you win some and you lose some. Today just happened to be the one that slipped under me,” Williams said. “I think I did really well, just being able to come back and play and win some matches, and play really tough. Today I lost, but I was able to hang in there and play tough. And I can only get better — that can be potentially scary, because I can only go up from here and do so much more.”
Bartoli will next play German wildcard Sabine Lisicki, who was a 7-6(3), 6-1 winner over Czech Petra Cetkovska.
Serena’s big sister Venus followed immediately with a shocking exit against Bulgarian No. 32 seed Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 6-3.
“Definitely not our best day,” Venus Williams told reporters of the siblings’ day. “We both envisioned seeing this day going a little bit different.”
Top 10 players holding their seedings into the quarterfinals on Monday were No. 4 Victoria Azarenka cruising past unseeded Russian veteran Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-2; No. 5 Maria Sharapova defeating No. 20 Peng Shuai of China 6-4, 6-2; and No. 8-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova walloping No. 19 Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-0, 6-2.
Unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek also made it into the quarters, outlasted Russian Ksenia Pervak 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
On the men’s side the Big Four virtually all ran into opponents who threw roadblocks in their path, but navigated them with veteran flare.
No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic and No. 4 seed Andy Murray were the only straight-set winners. Djokovic subdued No. 19-seeded serve-and-volleyer Michael Llodra 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, while Murray tamed No. 17 Richard Gasquet 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-2.
Four-set winners were No. 1 Rafael Nadal outdueling No. 24 Juan Martin Del Potro in tiebreaks 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, and No. 3 Roger Federer coming from behind to defeat No. 18 Mikhail Youzhny 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
Both Nadal (foot) and Del Potro (hip) fought injuries during the match.
“I am happy today I am through,” Nadal said. “I thought that I’m never gonna win this match when [the foot injury] happened at 6-5,” Nadal said. “I am very happy to be through, winning against one of the best players of the world. I think was a fantastic match. Was a very good level of tennis tonight.”
American Mardy Fish was another Top 10 seed into the quarters, defeating No. 6 seed and 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4. No. 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France caused a minor upset, straight-setting No. 7-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer.
Fish will next face Nadal, with the Spaniard leading their career series 5-0.
“He’s a very dangerous player, so I will try my best to be very competitive on Wednesday,” Nadal said. “I need be at my hundred percent. If not, it’s gonna be impossible against him. So I have to recover.”
Crashing the seeded quarterfinal party were two un-seeds, Spaniard Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez coming from two sets down to defeat Polish qualifier Lukas Kubot, and Aussie qualifier Bernard Tomic manhandling Belgian Xavier “X-Man” Malisse in straights.
“What a match it’s going to be,” said Tomic of next facing Djokovic. “To play against a guy like him that’s No. 2 in the world, it doesn’t get really better than that. He’s obviously won Grand Slams before. My relationship’s really good with him. I’ve hit with him a lot of times. He’s a cool guy.”
Tuesday the All England Club rolls out the women’s quarterfinals, and also it’s TV ratings, with Sabine Lisicki vs. (9) Marion Bartoli, (24) Dominika Cibulkova vs. (5) Maria Sharapova, (8) Petra Kvitova vs. (32) Tsvetana Pironkova, and Tamira Paszek vs. (4) Victoria Azarenka.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
For the third time at a Grand Slam event both Serena and Venus Williams lose on the same day…Mardy Fish has only lost serve once at Wimbledon…Roger Federer now has 100 career wins on grass…Novak Djokovic has 100 career wins at Grand Slams…Bernard Tomic is the youngest Wimbledon quarterfinalist since Boris Becker in 1986…Rafael
Nadal has reached 8 straight Slam quarterfinals. Novak Djokovic has reached 9 straight Slam quarterfinals. Roger Federer now has 29 straight Slam quarerfinals…The eight women in the quarterfinals are from eight different countries…Feliciano Lopez has reached his third Wimbledon quarterfinals…Rafael Nadal has won 36 of his last 37 matches…Marion Bartoli has won 10 straight matches…Rafael Nadal says he will have an MRI on his foot…Caroline Wozniacki hasn’t been to a Slam final since the 2009 US Open, yet her No. 1 ranking is safe for another month…Victoria Azarenka has never been to a Grand Slam semifinal…Maria Sharapova is the only Grand Slam champion left in the women’s draw…The jittery Marion Bartoli ousted Serena Williams on Monday at Wimbledon, but in her previous match in the middle of the third set she told her parents to leave the stands: “I was so tired and exhausted that really I had to express my emotions somehow. I saw them right after the match, my parents, and they understood completely. It was not against them. It was just that we played a very long first set, and I was exhausted and I was tired and I was feeling worse and worse. I normally never act like that.”…Rafael Nadal pulled from the Spain at U.S. Davis Cup match in Austin, Tex., following Wimbledon on Monday, slamming event organizers and the Davis Cup scheduling: “I won’t be there. The priority is to be healthy and I have to stop. I can’t be everywhere. After finishing the first part of the season I need to rest. I need 15 to 20 days to be in good shape for the second half of the season. I should have a check-up on my knees, and see how everything is going with the treatment we did, which is what has allowed me to carry on. The idea is to do what I did in 2010 to arrive the same or even better prepared for the US Open. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) continues to get it wrong by insisting with the format and calendar for the Davis Cup. There is zero consideration toward us, the players. If the best players don’t attend, the competition loses prestige. The ITF should ask themselves why this happens.”…British authorities wouldn’t let Novak Djokovic bring his poodle into the country…French Open champ Li Na’s off-court endorsements (Mercedes-Benz was just added) are expected to be around $10 million this year…Anyone pick Mardy Fish as the last American standing going into Week Two at Wimbledon? Poolsters? Anybody? Buehler?…While Roger Federer disagrees, Rafael Nadal says todays top players trump those of yesteryears: “It is difficult to compare the moments of tennis 15 years ago because the game changes. The only thing I can say is before, in my opinion, the top four players didn’t play as solid as today is going. I think all of the tournaments, even if there isn’t a Grand Slam…top players are always there in the finals, semifinals, playing in the final rounds. Probably in the past that didn’t happen a lot. That’s probably because of two things. The courts are a little bit slower than before, so the best have a little more chance to play the points…if you have more time to play the best player have the better chances to win. Second this is, because the players of today have a big rivalry, they know if they don’t play at his best in every tournament, it’s going to be very difficult to be in the top positions.”…Novak Djokovic was seeking a training session with lefty John McEnroe to prepare for his fourth-round match with lefty French net-crusher Michael Llodra…The New York Daily News’ Filip Bondy hammering Mardy Fish: “The problem with Fish, unfortunately, is that there is little upside to the fellow. He has made the most of his talents, which are considerable without being dominant. Fish is at his highest ranking in the world, No. 9, but turns 30 later this year. He’s never been past the quarterfinals of any major. He should be the Todd Martin of this generation, but instead is suddenly miscast as Pete Sampras. It’s even tough cheering for the fellow. Sounds like a card game. Go Fish.” — Yikes, give it a rest, he’s in the quarters.
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