Mondays with Bob Greene
Alize Cornet beat top-seeded Serena Williams 1-6 6-3 6-4
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova beat second-seeded Li Na 7-6 (5) 7-6 (5)
Marin Cilic beat sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych 7-6 (5) 6-4 7-6 (6)
Kaia Kanepi beat seventh-seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-3 6-2
Andrey Kuznetsov beat seventh-seeded David Ferrer 6-7 (5) 6-0 3-6 6-3 6-2
Bojana Jovanovski beat eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka 6-3 3-6 7-5
Lucie Safarova beat 10th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-4 6-2
“If I’m not playing a great, great match, these girls, when they play me, they play as if they’re on the ATP Tour.” – Serena Williams, after losing to Alize Cornet.
“Right now, she doesn’t have her usual ability to respond and turn matches around. It was obvious when she trailed 3-0 in the second set. Nothing happened.” – Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ coach.
“In my opinion there are more and more players understanding how to play her.” – Alize Cornet, after upsetting Serena Williams in the third round at Wimbledon.
“You don’t get sick of coming out here and playing Wimbledon.” – Lleyton Hewitt, the 2002 Wimbledon champion who played in his 61st major tournament.
“When you go on court and you lost last year in the first round, the year before in the second round, ‘’m not going to lie, it stays in your mind.” – Rafael Nadal, who won Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010 and reached the second week this year.
“All his shots just started to be much more hard, powerful and more aggressive. It was like a different player.” – Mikhail Kukushkin, who lost to Rafael Nadal after winning the first set.
“We have a good relationship. That’s important because at the end tennis is only a game. The relationships are in my opinion more important than a game.” – Rafael Nadal, talking about how he and the other top three players – Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – remain friendly despite the pressure of competing under extreme pressure for big prizes.
“People have been trying to retire me since I was like 25. For some reason in tennis we always do that to our players. It’s weird. We don’t encourage them to stick around. It’s like, ‘Get out of here.’ So I’m not getting out of here.” – Venus Williams, saying her future plans are to continue playing.
“I love to play on grass and I have great memories of 2011 here at Wimbledon. I’m pretty confident, but everyone is playing well at this stage.” – Petra Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, following her victory over Venus Williams.
“I’m quite happy with the way I’ve gone about things so far.” – Maria Sharapova, following her third-round 6-3 6-0 victory over American Alison Riske.
“If someone tells me that some machine doesn’t work just because of the light, and that we don’t have enough, so why we have to play?” – Tomas Berdych, who lost in the fading light that caused the electronic Hawk-Eye review system to stop working.
“Luckily for me it was only an impact that had a minor effect on the joint and the muscles around, but no significant damage that can cause a bigger problem. I just came from the doctor’s office, had ultrasound. It’s all looking good.” –Novak Djokovic, after falling heavily onto his left shoulder during his match against Gilles Simon.
“I think sometimes I don’t know how to play the point (on grass), especially in the important moment. Today I made a lot of mistakes. I was always waiting (or) wishing for the opponent to make mistakes. But today it didn’t work.” – Li Na, following her third-round loss to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
“It’s definitely nice to feel like you’re mentally happy out there when you’re on the court.” – Maria Sharapova, when asked if her relationship with fellow player Grigor Dimitrov was helping her win on the tennis court.
“The important thing is to fight, play with the right tactic and wait for the luck.” – Rafael Nadal, on what it takes to win.
“Maria Bartoli.” – The public address announcer blundering when announcing last year’s Wimbledon’s women’s singles champion Marion Bartoli.
“Get rid of vampires? My God. Umpires? I thought something else. I thought vampires in the way the people who are surrounding and sucking the energy out of players. That’s what I meant. Umpires, no. Without umpires it wouldn’t work. So please delete it. No, umpires. Cannot work without umpires. I thought it was vampires. You know what I mean?” – Ernests Gulbis, who misheard a question regarding John McEnroe’s comments about umpires.
“I don’t think really for anybody that it’s a surface that anybody can say they play their best tennis on grass. I think it’s a matter of playing less worse than you do on other surfaces.” – Milos Raonic.
It’s becoming habit-forming for Serena Williams, early-round losses at the Grand Slam tournaments. The world’s top-ranked player lost in the third round at Wimbledon to Alize Cornet of France 1-6 6-3 6-4. It was the earliest departure from the grass-court major for Serena since she lost to fellow American Jill Craybas in the third round in 2005. It was also Cornet’s second win over Williams this year, beating the American inn Dubai. This time, when her victory was complete, Cornet dropped to her knees and killed the grass. “I few years ago I couldn’t even play on grass. I was so bad,” the Frenchwoman said. “To beat Serena at Wimbledon, wows, it is just a dream. It is the biggest upset in the tournament because she is the world number one and has won here so many times.” There had been a four-hour rain delay, but the five-time Wimbledon champion had returned to complete her romp through the opening set. After that it was all Cornet. “Right now I don’t really know what I did wrong,” Williams said. “Usually I do. Usually I know I did this and that. I have a few ideas, but this will be a really good one for me to kind of like assess and figure out.” While she piled up the unforced errors and her serve was off, Serena admitted what everyone else has been saying. “I just have to always, every time I step on the court, be a hundred times better,” she said. “If I’m not, then I’m in trouble.”
Tomas Berdych was going for his 100th Grand Slam tournament match win when he took on Marin Cilic. He will have to wait until the US Open if he’s going to reach that milestone as the 26th-seeded Croatian upset the sixth-seeded Berdych 7-6 (5) 6-4 7-6 (6) in fading light. “I was very fortunate to be able to win that one,” Cilic said. “It was very close, especially that third set. I have to say that Tomas stayed in the match unbelievably mentally.” The match, played on Court 3, didn’t finish until 9:38 p.m., the latest a match has ever been played at the All England Club outside of Centre Court, which has lights. The dwindling light even caused the electronic Hawk-Eye system to stop working. “It was very, very dark in the tiebreak,” Cilic admitted. Besides having to deal with his opponent and the deepening gloom, Berdych was upset with a linesman for constantly making the wrong calls. “I lost all the will to talk to that guy anymore,” Berdych said. “I saw so many mistakes from him. I ask him (the umpire) three times to change the guy. All he said (was) ‘No, everybody can make mistakes. He’s a great linesman. He’s doing a great job, so give him a chance.’ … Then the end of the match basically there was a third call, and then I look at the line … and there was the same guy. He (the umpire) just put him on another line.” When Berdych went to challenge the call, he was told that was not an option because Hawk-Eye had stopped working due to the lack of light. “I didn’t even have the energy to talk to him when we should stop,” Berdych complained. “I just lost all the will to talk to him anymore.”
SO LONG, JELENA
There’s something about the Wimbledon grass and Jelena Jankovic as opponent that makes Kaia Kanepi a different player. The Estonian upset the seventh-seeded Jankovic in the opening round of this year’s grass-court Grand Slam tournament. It was the third time Kanepi has beaten her Serbian opponent, and the third time Kanepi has beaten a Top 10 opponent at Wimbledon. She also beat Jankovic at the US Open in 2010. Kanepi is a former Top 15 player and a six-time Grand Slam tournament quarterfinalist, including at Wimbledon in 2010 and 2013. Kanepi wasn’t as fortunate this year, dropping her second-round match to Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3 3-7 (4) 6-2.
Twice Lleyton Hewitt staved off match points. But in the end it was Jerzy Janowicz who prevailed in their five-set battle, winning 7-5 6-4 6-7 (7) 4-6 63. “Even though I felt like I was starting to turn the match around throughout the fourth set, you’re only sort of a few points away from him opening it again,” said Hewitt, who won Wimbledon in 2002. “That’s what happened. He saved a couple of big break points first game of the fifth, then he sort of took it upon himself to take the match out of my hands.” The match took two days to finish, play having been suspended at 4-4 in the second set the first day due to rain. Janowicz, who was seeded 25 at this year’s Wimbledon, considered his victory over the veteran Hewitt a big win. “It’s a really good win for me,” said Janowicz, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals last year. “I think Hewitt is a really dangerous player. Doesn’t matter how old he is and doesn’t matter his ranking, he’s an extremely good player, especially on grass. I was a little bit unlucky in the third set tiebreak. I took a small risk on the second serve when I had the first match point. I missed like by four centimeters, and the next match point he played winner down the line backhand exactly middle of the line. But luckily I played an unbelievable fifth set, and I’m really happy.”
Sloane Stephens was riding a streak of reaching the second week at six consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. This ride ended at Wimbledon when she was ousted in the opening round by Russia’s Maria Kirilenko 6-2 7-6 (6). Stephens saved five matches points in the 11th game, sending the second set into a tiebreak. But it was Kirilenko who prevailed. Seeded 18th this year, Stephens held the longest active run of fourth-round appearances at majors by a woman, dating to a semifinal showing at the Australian Open. All of that’s gone now, however. Whileher Grand Slam tournament match record is 31-12, she is just 55-54 everywhere else.
Wimbledon just isn’t Samantha Stosur’s cup of tea. The 2011 US Open champion lost her first-round match at Wimbledon to Yanina Wickmayer, the sixth time in her 12 appearances at the All England Club that the Australian has failed to reach the second round. Stosur has never gotten past the third round at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament. She recently dropped her coach Miles Maclagan after the two were together for just seven months. She said she is not in a hurry to hire a replacement. “By no means a rush … I want to really take my time and think about it and make sure I’m doing the right thing,” Stosur said. “There’s probably a handful of coaches that you might want to think about. They’ve probably all got jobs.”
With the top two seeded players gone, Maria Sharapova is putting on a strong bid to capture her second Wimbledon and her second straight Grand Slam tournament title. The 27-year-old Russian has been on cruise control through the first week of the year’s third major tournament, dropping just seven games in three matches. When American Alison Riske lost the first set of their third-round match 6-3, it was the most games Sharapova had given up in any first-week match. “I’m quite happy with the way I’ve gone about things so far,” Sharapova said. “I’m happy I’ve gone further than last year, erasing those memories and trying to form new ones.” Seeded fifth, the Russian is seeking a rare French Open-Wimbledon double.
Fabio Fognini is gone from the men’s draw at Wimbledon. He didn’t go quietly. The Italian was fined USD $27,500 by Wimbledon for unsportsmanlike conduct during his first-round match. Then, after losing to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in a second-round battle, the Italian complained about the All England Club’s all-white clothing policy. “The only things I don’t like are the rules, Wimbledon’s rules, the white color,” Fognini said. “Today I crashed the racquets against my knee because the court is really soft and I can damage it a lot.” Seeded 16th, Fognini also complained about his match being put on a small court. “It’s strange because in the first round (against a qualifier) I play on Court number 18,” the Italian said. “Today, I am 16 and he is 20 and we play on Court 17. But I don’t really care.”
It is normal at Grand Slam tournaments that players see action every other day: in 14 days the finalists will have played seven matches. Tell that to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman played five consecutive days at Wimbledon before finally getting a day off. That’s because the tournament’s 14th seed had his first two matches each completed over two days at the All England Club. His third-match was much quicker. He defeated Jimmy Wang of Taiwan 6-2 6-2 7-5 in one hour, 43 minutes.
CoCo Vandeweghe finally won a match at Wimbledon. Finally. The American had suffered first-round losses in her first three trips to the grass court Grand Slam tournament. This year, she finally won – but needed 13 match points to finally knocked off Garbiñe Muguruza, the Spanish player who upset Serena Williams at Roland Garros. “It was a tough match and it was crazy at the end,” said Vandeweghe, who also beat Muguruza in a Wimbledon warm-up event the week before. “The toughest part for me was that I played her the week before. I knew she would come out even more fired up because of the recent memory of her loss.” Vandeweghe, who won the TopShelf Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, increased her grass-court match win streak to eight before falling to Tereza Smitkova of the Czech Republic 6-3 7-6 (4) in the second round at Wimbledon. “There was too many (match points) too count,” said Vandeweghe, who currently is ranked a career-best 51st in the world. “After having all those chances and then losing it to come back, bounce back, and hold, I don’t think, before in my past matches, mentally I would have been able to come back. Because to be honest, coming in here I was a little bit mentally fried.”
SKIPPING A MISTAKE
China’s Li Na said her biggest mistake came before The Championships at Wimbledon even began. After losing her third –round match 7-6 (5) 7-6 (5) to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, Li said it was her preparation that let her down. “I think I made the wrong decision,” said Li, who skipped a Wimbledon warm-up event for the first time in six years. “I need to play some matches before the big one. You know, it is not only about technique. I think sometimes I don’t know how to play the point, especially in the important moment. I think today I make a lot of mistakes.” Grass admittedly is Li’s least-favorite surface, “I always play Eastbourne every year, but it is always rain, windy,” she said. “I say, ‘OK, I cannot practice in that.’ I make a decision. I say: ‘Oh, maybe I should change a little bit.’ I come here pretty early to try to play on the grass court.” Li has won two Grand Slam tournaments – Roland Garros in 2011 on clay and the Australian Open in January on hard courts.
Wimbledon Tennis: www.wimbledontennis.co.uk/
Bad Gastein: www.gastein-ladies.at/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
Wimbledon, Wimbledon, Great Britain, grass (second week)
$144,861 Sparkassen Open, Braunschweig, Germany
Wimbledon, Wimbledon, Great Britain, grass (second week)
$100,000 Lorraine Open 88, Contrexeville, France, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$571,617 SkiStar Swedish Open, Båstad, Sweden, clay
$571,617 Mercedes Cup, Stuttgart, Germany, clay
$474,005 Hall of Fame Championships, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, grass
$226,750 Nurnberger Gastein Ladies, Bad Gastein, Austria, clay
$226,750 Bucharest Open, Bucharest, Romania, clay
$100,000 Open GDF Suez de Biarritz, Biarritz, France, clay