Former champs on form
Three former women’s champions remain in the Wimbledon main draw, with Petra Kvitova overcoming a nervous start against Akgul Amanmuradova while Serena Williams progressed 6-4, 6-2 against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champ and current world No. 1, was a straight sets winner over Anastasia Rodionova yesterday.
The “big three” of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are also the three former champions remaining in the men’s draw – all of them claiming their first round matches in straight sets. Federer, who is vying for a record-equalling seventh crown, was the speediest of those players, allowing Albert Ramos just three games as he claimed victory in 89 minutes.
Now that’s a comeback
American men Mardy Fish and Brian Baker both know the true meaning of a comeback. Fish recently underwent a procedure to correct a heart problem but hit 24 aces as he defeated Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (1). Brian Baker, who qualified to contest Wimbledon for the first time, defeated Rui Machado – a remarkable story when you consider that since turning professional in 2003, the 27-year-old American has undergone three hip surgeries, an elbow reconstruction and then a sports hernia surgery. HE was attending Belmont University in Nashville as a student and assistant tennis coach before deciding to give pro tennis one last tilt last year.
Means more than most …
Every Grand Slam loves to claim a cult hero. At Wimbledon today, that was Nicolas Mahut who claimed a 6-3, 5-7, 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-2 win over Paulo Lorenzi. It would have been just another five-set victory if not for the fact that the Frenchman has been a five-set first round loser in the past four Wimbledons – the most notable being the 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(7), 6-7(3), 68-70 loss to John Isner, played over three days and lasting 11 hours and five minutes, in 2010. He also lost first round to Isner in 2011, and remarkably would have played him in the second round of the 2012 Championships, if not for the American’s surprise loss to Alejandro Falla yesterday.
Grace Jones, a huge tennis fan, always brings her own style to Wimbledon. Dressed in a technical hooded “arrangement” topped by some unique red headwear, the entertainer made the love affair mutual as she danced in the centre court stands during a rain delay.
Players are no stranger to rain delays in London, but it must have been particularly frustrating for Sara Errani when play was suspended due to showers and bad light late in the day – the French Open finalist held match point against Coco Vandeweghe and will perhaps play just one point when play resumes Wednesday.
Headline of the Day
“Forget football, a Brit girl wins at Wimbledon,” screamed the Daily Mail alongside a photo of the beaming Heather Watson, who pushed aside the bad news of Britain’s loss to Germany in soccer’s European Championships when she beat the higher-ranked Iveta Benesova in the first round. More good news followed for the locals with James Ward claiming his first-ever Wimbledon win against Pablo Andujar, Elena Baltacha defeating Karin Knapp and Anne Keothavong victorious over Laura Pous-Tio.
He said it
Lleyton Hewitt lost first round to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but the former champion was classy as he exited his 14th – and possibly last – Wimbledon. “Winning the tournament was one of your dreams come true. So for me it's the biggest tournament there is,” said Hewitt, on the 10th anniversary of his 2002 title. “As an Australian, so many great Australians have done well here in the past. It's one of the most special things I've ever done in my career."