Order was restored at Wimbledon on Thursday after “Bat-s**t Wednesday,” while the U.S. men suffered a low not seen in more than 100 years.
The four Top 10 seeds in action cruised Thursday with victories by No. 1 Novak Djokovic over American qualifier Bobby Reynolds, No. 7 Tomas Berdych defeating German Daniel Brands, and No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro beating American-turned-Canadian Jesse Levine, all in straight sets, while No. 9 Richard Gasquet needed four sets to subdue Japanese qualifier Go Soeda after winning the first set 6-0.
Play was abandoned for the day around 7 p.m. local time due to rain.
“I think the fact that the top players lost in the last few days gives enough reason for all of us to not underestimate any opponent and not look that far,” Djokovic said of Bat-s**t Wednesday at the All England Club. “So we got to take it step by step. It’s sport, you know. This is what happens. Everybody, especially lower-ranked players in the opening rounds, have nothing to lose really when they go on the center stage and they come up with their best game.”
Reynolds said he lost to Djokovic because…the Serb is a really good player.
“He’s not No. 1 in the world for nothing,” Reynolds said. “He’s a great player. I went out there and I knew obviously it was going to be tough. I played like how I usually play. I just gave it my all and leave it all out there. If it’s not good enough, it’s not.”
In the lone seeded upset on the day, Dutch riser Igor Sijsling revealed the poor movement and return of serve of No. 17 Milos Raonic with a straight-set win.
Also advancing into the third round were No. 12 Kei Nishikori, No. 23 Andreas Seppi advancing when Michael Llordra retired in the first set with a hamstring injury, No. 27 Kevin Anderson, Bernard “The Tank Engine” Tomic defeating James Blake, Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez advancing when Paul-Henri Mathieu retired in the second set citing a neck injury, and Croatian Ivan Dodig straight-setting American qualifier Denis Kudla.
Berdych will next square off against Anderson in a serving contest that has been lopsided in the past.
“I hope I can keep the winning streak, because I think it’s like 8-0 for me in the last matches with Kevin,” said Berdych in his best robot voice. “I hope I can keep that and will be able to go through again. All the matches are quite close because we are both great servers, playing quite aggressively.”
Del Potro will next meet either Grigor Dimitrov or Grega Zemlja, who were in the fifth set Thursday when rain suspended play.
The losses by Reynolds, Blake and Kudla set a record for no Americans reaching the third round at Wimbledon for the first time since 1912. If you can’t read numbers, that’s nineteen twelve. XVIIII XII. Dix-neuf douze.
On the women’s side there were only two lower-seeded upsets as New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic toppled No. 24 Peng Shuai, and American youngster Madison Keys defeated No. 30 Mona Barthel, both in straight sets.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a specialist on it just yet, but I definitely like [grass],” said the 18-year-old Keys, who will next meet last year’s finalist Aggie Radwanska. “It was all about the serve today — a couple games got a little bit close, but I was able to pull out a serve or two to get me back in the game.”
Of the three Top 10 seeds in action Thursday, No. 1 Serena Williams moved past French qualifier Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2, No. 4 Aggie Radwanska beat France’s Mathilde Johansson 6-1, 6-3, and No. 6 Li Na was made to work in a 6-2, 1-6, 6-0 win over Romanian Simona Halep.
Williams will next face the 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm, who defeated Romanian Alex Cadantu in straights.
“I have so much respect for her,” Williams said. “I think she’s so inspiring to be playing such high level tennis at her age. And she’s a real danger on grasscourts — I know that — I will have to be ready.”
Other seeded winners on the day were No. 11 Roberta Vinci, No. 14 Sam Stosur, No. 18 Dominika Cibulkova, No. 23 Sabine Lisicki, and No. 32 Klara Zakopalova.
Matches to pique your curiosity Friday include (15) Nicolas Almagro vs. (24) Jerzy Janowicz, (32) Tommy Robredo vs. (2) Andy Murray, (8) Petra Kvitova vs. (25) Ekaterina Makarova, Viktor Troicki vs. (20) Mikhail Youzhny, Kaia Kanepi vs. (7) Angelique Kerber, (15) Marion Bartoli vs. Italian comer Camila Giorgi, Grega Zemlja vs. (29) Grigor Dimitrov resuming at 9-8 in the fifth, Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer vs. the Federer-killer Sergiy Stakhovsky, Jimmy Wang vs. (13) Tommy Haas, (19) Carla Suarez Navarro vs. Canadian breakout player Eugenie Bouchard, and Jamaican sensation-turned-German Dustin Brown vs. France’s Adrian Mannarino.
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