Wimbledon Upset Redux: Isner, Jankovic Toppled on Day 1; Tuesday Preview
A slew of seeds fell on the men’s and women’s sides on Monday at Wimbledon.
No. 16 Flavia Pennetta was the highest casualty on the women’s side, surprised by Italian qualifier Carmila Giorgi 6-4, 6-3.
Not so surprising was unseeded floater and former No. 1 Kim Clijsters, easily handling the mentally fragile fellow former No. 1 and No. 18 seed Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-4.
“It felt OK,” said Clijsters of the abdominal injury that forced her to pull from the semifinals of an event leading into Wimbledon. “I had a pretty bad stomach muscle tear in Toronto a couple of years ago and didn’t want that to happen again. Pulling out of the tournament last week was a very smart choice because it gave a chance to let the muscle heal.”
Wimbledon is only the third tournament for Clijsters since the Australian Open in January, and she is unseeded for the first time at Wimbledon in 12 years.
In other upsets on the women’s side, American Jamie Hampton powered past No. 27 Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 7-6(1), and France’s Stephanie Foretz Gacon outlasted No. 29 Monica Niculescu 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
In all-unseeded action of note, American Sloane Stephens easily handled Czech qualifier Karolina Pliskova dropping four games, Hungary’s Timea Babos outlasted Eastbourne winner and American wildcard Melanie Oudin in three, and Brit hope Heather Watson rolled over Czech Iveta Benesova, dropping three games. Venus Williams also went down in straight sets to Russian Elena Vesnina, having a meltdown in her post-match conference when a reporter suggested there might be something off with her results.
Highlights of Tuesday play at the All England Club includes defending champ (4) Petra Kvitova vs. Uzbek Akgul Amanmuradova, (2) Victoria Azarenka vs. American grinder Irina Falconi, (6) Serena Williams vs. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, (7) Caroline Wozniacki vs. last week’s grasscourt title winner Tamira Paszek, (24) Francesca Schiavone vs. Laura Robson, (22) Julia Goerges vs. Shahar Peer, (32) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Yanina Wickmayer, (28) Christina McHale vs. Brit Johanna Konta (to finish, tied 7-7 in third), (10) Sara Errani vs. American cannon Coco Vandeweghe, and (14) Ana Ivanovic vs. the crafty Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
The top upset on the men’s side Monday was the unpredictable Ernests Gulbis of Latvia out-hammering No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych in three tiebreaks.
“I saw the draw and I was really happy,” said Gulbis on facing Berdych. “I wanted to play first round against a tough opponent. It motivates me much more, especially first round. I really was really happy when I saw the draw. If it had been somebody even higher ranked I wouldn’t have a problem with that also. I felt really, really good.”
An equally-big upset was No. 11 seed John Isner, who some have tapped as a future Wimbledon champ with his giant serve and touch at the net, going out in five sets to Colombia’s Alejandro Falla. Isner, who has had a standout first six months of the year in tour and Davis Cup play, looked like he needed an early vacation Monday, hanging his head with poor body language and failing to dictate play on the grass.
“I didn’t put my opponent away,” said Isner in his post-match conference, looking like he needed to be put on suicide watch, on leading two sets to one and holding a match point. “I had my chances, and I didn’t do it. It’s all on me…It’s just now I get out there sometimes, and lately it’s happening quite a lot, and I get out there in the match and I’m just so clouded. I just can’t seem to figure things out. I’m my own worst enemy out there. It’s all mental for me, and it’s pretty poor on my part.”
Other upsets on the men’s side were Uzbek Denis Istomin topping No. 23 Andreas Seppi 8-6 in the fifth, and Serb Viktor Troicki outlasting No. 24 Marcel Granollers 8-6 in the fifth.
Qualifiers had their day as six moved into the second round Monday: American Mike Russell, France’s Guillaume Rufin, American Ryan Sweeting, Spain’s Inigo Cervantes, Belgian Rumen Bemelmans, and Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz.
Among all-unseeded highlights, American Ryan Harrison won to set up a meeting with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, and German Benjamin Becker beat American James Blake in four.
Tuesdays highlights are light but include (2) Rafael Nadal vs. Thomaz Bellucci, (4) Andy Murray vs. Nikolay Davydenko, (5) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Lleyton Hewitt, (10) Mardy Fish coming off his heart ailment vs. Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, (25) Stan Wawrinka vs. Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer, American Sam Querrey vs. Canadian Vasek “Popsicle” Pospisil, (14) Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez vs. veteran Jarkko Nieminen, and a Germanfest in (27) Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Halle winner Tommy Haas.
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