Five seeded players were upset on the women’s side Wednesday at Wimbledon, including a former No. 1 and a Grand Slam winner.
Former world No. 1 junior Arantxa Rus ousted No. 5 Sam Stosur 6-2, 0-6, 6-4, and Austrian Tamira Paszek outlasted former No. 1 and No. 7 seed Caroline Wozniacki 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-4 to lead the charge of the unseeded.
“I had one match point where I didn’t hit bad shots and she twice hit the line,” Wozniacki said. “It’s all about doing the right things at the right time. Winning Eastbourne, she believed in herself. She went for it, and that’s it.”
Before winning the Eastbourne grasscourt tournament last week, Paszek was 2-13 on the year, including 11 first-round losses.
Also upset Wednesday were No. 11 Li Na falling to Romanian Sorana Cirstea in straights, American Sloane Stephens outlasting No. 23 Petra Cetkovska in three, and Czech Klara Zakopalova shocking No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 6-1.
Others of note advancing were No. 3 Aggie Radwanska, Kim Clijsters, Brit Heather Watson, and No. 14 Ana Ivanovic surviving a three-set upset attempt by Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
“I felt it was another step upwards from my first match against [Jelena] Jankovic,” said Clijsters after beating Andrea Hlavackova. “I thought my opponent had a really tough game to read. She was serving well too. It was only a couple games here and there that made the difference in the match.”
Clijsters will next meet former world No. 2 Vera Zvonareva.
Suspended by darkness were No. 1 Maria Sharapova leading Tsvetana Pironkova 7-6(3), 3-1 after the Bulgarian served for the first set, and Nadia Petrova leading Hungary’s Timea Babos 6-4, 5-5.
Thursday matches of interest at the All England Club include No. 2 Victoria Azarenka vs. Romina Oprandi, No. 4 seed and defending champion Petra Kvitova vs. Brit Elena Baltacha, No. 6 Serena Williams vs. Hungarian qualifier Melinda “The Fifth Element” Czink, and No. 9 Marion Bartoli vs. comeback player Mirjana Lucic.
There was only one mild upset Wednesday on the men’s side as the seeds generally took care of business, with the exception of No. 25 Stan Wawrinka losing 8-6 in the fifth to Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer.
Top 10 seeds advancing were No. 1 Novak Djokovic handling American Ryan Harrison in straights, No. 3 Roger Federer defeating Italian Fabio Fognini in straights, No. 7 David Ferrer beating German qualifier Dustin Brown in straights, and No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic fighting back a challenge from American qualifier Ryan Sweeting in four sets.
“The match was much more difficult than the scoreline suggested,” Djokovic said. “I was in trouble in the second set and it could easily have gone the other way. Ryan was serving fantastic. It was a close match because he performed really well but I got the crucial breaks in every set and that was enough to win.”
Other players of note advancing were No. 21 Milos Raonic, No. 30 Andy Roddick, and the unseeded “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic.
Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz also surprised the Berdych-killer Ernests Gulbis 9-7 in the fifth set.
Matches to look for Thursday on the men’s side are No. 4 Andy Murray vs. Karlovic, No. 13 Gilles Simon vs. Xavier “X-Man” Malisse, No. 21 Raonic vs. Sam Querrey, and No. 30 Roddick vs. Bjorn Phau.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
SIMON SAYS: WOMEN DON’T DESERVE EQUAL PAY — Freshly voted onto the ATP Player Council, Frenchman Gilles Simon is wasting no time in getting his opinions out there, telling the French media that women’s don’t deserve equal prize money, and that the ATP shouldn’t have made the Rome tournament a men’s and women’s joint event: “I think that men’s tennis is really ahead of women’s tennis at this stage. Once more, the men spent surely twice as much time on court as the women at the French Open. We often talk about salary equality. I don’t think it’s something that works in sport. I think we are the only sport that has parity with the women in terms of prize money. Meanwhile, men’s tennis remains more attractive than women’s tennis at this moment.” Simon said the WTA Rome event has struggled. “The year before, the women, for their final, they had 20 spectators. And so, in that case, you save them, but when you want a practice court, there aren’t any left.” Hey ladies, Simon is available to warm-up with you on a practice court next time you see him at a joint event. “Am I going to incur the wrath of feminist organizations?” Simon added. “I don’t care.”
RAFA TAKES POKER SPONSORSHIP — Rafael Nadal and online gambling? Bet on it. It was announced this week that Spanish seven-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal will represent PokerStars, and is “keen to learn the game of poker.” “It’s no secret that I love to compete and try my very best in everything, whether that’s tennis, golf or video games,” said Nadal, who must have received — how much cash to represent online gambling when at the same time the ATP has been working to squash cheating in online tennis betting? “When I discovered the game of poker, I chose to join PokerStars because they understand what it takes to be the best and associate themselves with the qualities of champions. I’m very happy to be working with them.” And getting paid. Rafa will reportedly after the US Open “be able to devote more time to poker and to representing PokerStars in online tournaments, in advertising campaigns and at charity events. Details of these will be announced in the coming months.” Online poker is reportedly also “surging” in Spain, following the recent awarding of government licenses to operate online poker.
Roger Federer has not won a Slam since January 2010…No Australian men in the Wimbledon second round for the first time since 1938…The ATP says there will be no more blue clay in 2013. ATP President Brad Drewett said that while the blue clay used at Madrid “may have offered better visibility on television, there were clearly issues with the quality of the courts in Madrid this year, which were not acceptable.”…Venus Williams was unseeded at Wimbledon for the first time in 15 years, with good reason…Andy Roddick said that when he said that this could be his last Wimbledon, it was misinterpreted, he said. This is what he then said: “I didn’t really say anything. I mean, I’m not at the point where I’m going to deal in absolutes with my career. I’m not going to sit here and say, I’m going to play three more years. At this point anything is a possibility. I don’t think what was said and the way it has been interpreted is completely on the same page.” — Your post-career might be in politics Andy…Commentator Martina Navratilova says Petra Kvitova needs to lose her baby-gut and improve her footwork — at least that’s what we get out of this: “She just needs to get a little lighter on her feet. It’s so easy to think: ‘I can just power through this.’ Four out of five times you can, but the fifth time it’s going to go out. On clay that doesn’t win and in the wind that doesn’t win. When things go your way, great, but when they don’t that’s when perfect technique and perfect footwork come in handy. I learned new footwork when I was 32, with the cross-step to the outside, so you can retool or improve. Petra doesn’t need to retool, but she can definitely improve. She’s 22. I was clueless at that age, so she’s way ahead of me on that one.”…Roger Federer, Jarkko Nieminen, doubles representative Eric Butorac and Andre Sa were voted back on the ATP Player Council, joined by newbies Gilles Simon, Kevin Anderson, Robin Haase, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Mahesh Bhupathi, James Cerretani, Brian Gottfried and Claudio Pistolesi. “It has been four years of good work with the Player Council in which we have made progress in some areas,” Federer said. “There is more to do and I am happy to be back with the council group. It’s great to see some new players step up and I look forward to working with them to continue to grow our sport.”…Serena Williams on why she will have a difficult time retiring from tennis: “I love stepping out on that court, having that atmosphere, that moment. That moment is all about me. Maybe it’s a little selfish, but I love that feeling.”…SI.com’s Jon Wertheim: “I’ve said many times in the past: for all of the sport’s issues and challenges, finding capable television commentators is not one of them. Far as I’m concerned, the ESPN team, the Tennis Channel team and the McEnroe/Carillo/Ted Robinson troika on NBC serve the viewers quite well on the whole.” — Really? Because Tennis Channel trots out some horrible talking heads sometimes. And wait until you see the “B” team that is doing the London Olympics tennis, from what we hear…If Roger Federer wins Wimbledon and Novak Djokovic doesn’t reach the final, the now-No. 3 Federer will again attain the No. 1 ranking…Retired Ivan Ljubicic says he may run for the ATP Board again…Chris Evert speaking to the AP on playing Seoul Olympics in 1988 when tennis made its return to the games: “I felt very uncomfortable. I almost felt like an impostor, because the other athletes were looking at us tennis players as if they were saying, ‘What are you doing here?’ Because we have our Wimbledon and US Open and French and Australian Opens, and we had our million dollars. These were supposedly amateur athletes who only had one chance every four years.” — yeah, but “supposedly” is the key word there Chris…Maria Sharapova can become the second woman to win a career Golden Slam if she wins the Olympics, joining Steffi Graf…Wimbledon will waive its all-white policy for the Olympics, opening the door for Darth Federer, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with his day-glo sherbet outfits…American tennis looking up? The U.S. had the most men’s qualifiers of any country at Wimbledon after comeback success story Brian Baker, former University of Florida players Jesse Levine and Ryan Sweeting, and “Iron” Mike Russell made it through the qualifying into the main draw…David Nalbandian’s meltdown at Queen’s Club cost him more than $70,000 in fines and lost prize money…Rafael Nadal will be the flag bearer for the Spanish Olympic team in London.
Centre Court 1:00 PM Start Time
Serena Williams (USA) v. Melinda Czink (HUN)
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) v. Andy Murray (GBR)
Lukas Rosol (CZE) v. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
No. 1 Court 1:00 PM Start Time
Maria Sharapova (RUS) v. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) To Finish 7-6(3) 3-1
James Ward (GBR) v. Mardy Fish (USA)
Sam Querrey (USA) v. Milos Raonic (CAN)
Elena Baltacha (GBR) v. Petra Kvitova (CZE)
No. 2 Court 11:30 AM Start Time
Anne Keothavong (GBR) v. Sara Errani (ITA)
David Ferrer (ESP) v. Kenny De Schepper (FRA)
Bjorn Phau (GER) v. Andy Roddick (USA)
Romina Oprandi (SUI) v. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
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