Wimbledon: Paying the Price
The repercussions came quickly. The chair umpire who cost Venus Williams so dearly will not be working again at this Wimbledon. But the real question was, which player in the bottom half would take advantage of her absence?
It was not to be Anastasia Myskina. In a third round match on Friday, she took on Amy Frazier, and it was about a un-grass-like as a match could get. It really looked like two hardcourters struggling on clay. But finally Frazier managed to get enough balls in on a match point to win it. She put herself back in the Top 30 -- indeed, probably put herself back in the Top 25 -- 4-6 6-4 6-4.
You have to wonder a little bit about all the people oohing and aahing about Maria Sharapova. Maybe that cute little dress of hers keeps the men from looking at her lousy little footwork, but we thought the women would notice. Crummy footwork or not, she once again proves the rule: Hit hard enough, and it doesn't matter too much if you're tripping over your feet. She won the all-glamour (and all lowcut-dress-with-bare-shoulders) contest with Daniela Hantuchova 6-3 6-1.
That was about typical of the six third round matches on Friday. Other than Frazier vs. Myskina, all the matches were two sets, and the winner in no case lost more than six games. #5 seed Lindsay Davenport lost exactly three in beating Tatiana Panova 6-2 6-1 (though the Russian at least is back in the Top 100); #11 Ai Sugiyama also lost three in beating Marion Bartoli 6-1 6-2, putting herself briefly at the head of the group of five players (Sugiyama, Petrova, Suarez, and Zvonareva, with Sharapova on the outside of the race) looking for two or at most three spots in the Top Ten. #12 Vera Zvonareva is at the back of that pack, but she too looked good, beating Gisela Dulko 6-4 6-2; that leaves Dulko just short of the Top 50.
The one third round upset was rather mild. Tamarine Tanasugarn has made the Wimbledon fourth round in five of the last six years. She made it six of seven with a 6-2 6-4 win over Alicia Molik -- only the second time this year (in 14 events) that Molik has lost to a player ranked below her (the first being to Nagyova at Estoril). Tanasugarn, #66 coming in, will gain at least a dozen places, and is one win away from the Top 50; Molik, who had just hit a career high of #26, will lose at least two spots but should stay Top 30.
In addition to the six third round matches, 17 second round matches remained to be completed. One went very quickly: Meghann Shaughnessy, who had been tied 8-8 with qualifier Nuria Llagostera Vives, polished off the last two games for a 6-4 4-6 10-8 win. Llagostera Vives still earned her first WTA win since Bogota 2003.
Few of the high seeds needed much more time on the court. #1 Serena Williams pounded Stephanie Foretz 6-0 6-4 to put herself one win away from the Top 25. #4 Amelie Mauresmo was almost as quick in disposing of qualifier Jennifer Hopkins 6-3 6-3 (it's still the first WTA win since Charleston 2002 for Hopkins, and her first Slam win since the 2002 Australian Open). Jennifer Capriati had much more of a struggle against the still-not-fully-well Elena Baltacha, but even on grass, Capriati was able to handle Baltacha's serve, and advanced 6-4 6-4. #9 Paola Suarez is usually vulnerable on grass, having come in with a 5-9 career record at Wimbledon, but Els Callens just isn't herself these days, and lost 6-2 6-2. And #14 Silvia Farina Elia took advantage of her last grass event of the year with a 6-3 6-3 win over namesake Silvija Talaja.
The highest seed to struggle, once again, was #10 Nadia Petrova -- though, admittedly, she faced the highest-ranked opponent; Maria Vento-Kabchi was the #2 unseeded player. Petrova edged her 6-3 3-6 6-2.
Patty Schnyder, in a way, justified her low opinion of her results on grass. Her two worst losses of the year, in terms of opponent rankings, came on the green stuff: She lost to #58 Medina Garrigues at 's-Hertogenbosch, and at Wimbledon topped it off with a loss to #115. Countrywoman Emmanuelle Gagliardi, who has been in a horrible slump, beat the #16 seed 6-2 6-7 6-2.
If Karolina Sprem is looking like the Most Impressive Newcomer of late 2003 through early 2004, Tatiana Golovin is looking like the Most Impressive of 2004 as a whole. She put herself on the verge of the Top 40 with a 6-1 6-0 drubbing of Francesca Schiavone, ending the Italian's quest for a Top 15 ranking. Even more amazing, Ludmila Cervanova -- who came here with a four match losing streak and who is mostly a clay player anyway -- upset #26 Lisa Raymond 6-4 6-3, raising a real possibility that Raymond would drop out of the Top 30.
The other seed in action was #25 Nathalie Dechy, who beat Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 6-1 6-1 to become the player most likely to dump Raymond from the Top 30 (except for the minor detail that she had to face Capriati).
Another Frenchwoman, Virginie Razzano, provided the biggest surprise among the unseeded players, posting her second big win of the tournament as she beat Elena Likhovtseva 6-1 6-2. Nor is she the only player ranked below #100 to reach the third round: Rita Grande beat Arantxa Parra Santonja 5-7 6-2 6-3, while Anne Kremer beat qualifier Sun Tian Tian 6-3 7-5. Kremer is up to 16 events now, and can't get more injury exemptions -- but she has her ranking up to around #120, so she will at least be able to get into better qualifying fields. And, by the looks of things, she might at last be ready to do damage again.
Virginia Ruano Pascual, in her past Big Wimbledon Wins, has tended to lose in the next round. Not this time; she beat Henrieta Nagyova 6-4 6-4, putting her just below the Top 50. Magui Serna is already there; she set up a meeting with Serena by beating Jane O'Donoghue, the one remaining British player, 6-3 6-3.
Friday's other singles match ended with Tatiana Perebiynis beating Milagros Sequera 6-2 7-5.
Saturday's entire action, of course, was rained out, forcing play on the middle Sunday.
It's interesting to note that the men are now further along than the women, despite finishing on Sunday whereas the women's final is on Saturday: Men's third round singles action is done; the women have two matches still to complete. Tatiana Golovin and Emmanuelle Gagliardi were at 3-3 in the third set, and #14 Silvia Farina Elia had split sets with Virginia Ruano Pascual, before Sunday's rain ended action.
Eight matches did complete on Sunday, every one of which followed form. (A rather surprising statement, given that the women will have five or six unseeded players in the fourth round, equalling or nearly the six the men have; the women, what's more, have lost four of their top eight seeds, the men three of seven players seeded #8 or higher.) Serena Williams beat Magui Serna 6-4 6-0, though she needs at least one more win if she wants to stay in the Top 20. Amelie Mauresmo is one win away from taking the #3 ranking back from Anastasia Myskina after her 6-1 6-4 victory over Ludmila Cervanova. Jennifer Capriati saw to it that Nathalie Dechy did not stay in the Top Thirty 7-5 6-1. Paola Suarez kept herself in the race for the Top Ten with a 6-1 4-6 6-0 victory over Anne Kremer. Nadia Petrova is now at the head of the block of players trying to hit the Top Ten after she finally won an easy match, 7-5 6-2 over Tatiana Perebiynis. Magdalena Maleeva will probably be Top 20 following her 7-5 6-3 win over Denisa Chladkova. Rita Grande won a battle of players just getting back into the Top 100 as she beat Virginie Razzano 6-4 4-6 6-3. And Karolina Sprem won two more tiebreaks, over Meghann Shaughnessy, to clinch a Top 25 spot and move to within one win of hitting the Top 20. (Yes, we know, Shaughnessy was seeded and Sprem wasn't, but Sprem came in ranked higher even so, so it isn't an upset.)
The doubles was about as productive of withdrawals as upsets; not only did Jelena Dokic bail out, but #10 seeds Elena Dementieva and Lina Krasnroutskaya withdraw. The Russians had, of course, made the semifinal last year (and beaten the Williams Sisters, though that didn't matter rankings-wise); they will be falling out of the Top 50. Taking their place as seeds were Alicia Molik and Magui Serna, who took part in a mass advance by seeds on Friday: 14 seeded pairs in action, 13 through. The one pair to fall were #12 Li Ting and Sun Tian Tian, who haven't been the same since Li got hurt this spring; they lost their fourth straight match 6-2 6-3 to qualifiers Dominikovic and Rodionova. But #1 Ruano Pascual/Suarez won their nineteenth straight Slam match 6-2 6-2 over Lucky Losers Augustus and Grandin (who took Dokic's place). Also advancing in straight sets were #3 Navratilova/Raymond, #4 Petrova/Shaughnessy, #5 Huber/Sugyiama, #6 Black/Stubbs, #9 Casanova/Pratt, #11 Bartoli/Loit, #13 Myskina/Zvonareva, #14 Farina Elia/Schiavone, #15 Callens/Mandula, and of course #17 Molik and Serna. If they win their next match, or if Casanova and Pratt do, then Kim Clijsters will be out of the doubles Top 20.
One other seeded team advanced in straight sets, but that deserves particular mention. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario came back in doubles at least partly with an eye on the Olympics, and has played her last two events with Anabel Medina Garrigues as a result. Unfortunately, Medina Garrigues isn't much of a doubles player; she came in ranked #102. And so the all-Spanish team of Medina Garrigues and Sanchez-Vicario, who were wildcarded in, lost to the half-Spanish team of Husarova and Martinez, the #7 seeds, 6-2 6-2. If we were the Spanish Olympic officials, we'd name Martinez and Ruano Pascual for doubles -- but we'll find out soon enough; final rosters are due today (Monday).
What we had thought would be the most interesting unseeded match proved instead a blowout; Lisa McShea and Milagros Sequera had just come off a title at 's-Hertogenbosch, but they lost to Prakusya and Tanasugarn 6-1 6-3. Tanasugarn, who until about two years ago was a singles specialist, finds herself on the verge of the Top 30 in doubles.
The rain on Sunday meant that the first round still isn't over; Nathalie Dechy and Daniela Hantuchova are up a set on a pair of wildcards, but will have to wait to finish.
Most of the schedule, of course, was second round matches, and form once again held (though the top two teams, #1 Ruano Pascual/Suarez and #2 Kuznetsova/Likhovtseva, didn't get a chance to play). #3 Navratlilova/Raymond, #4 Petrova/Shaughnessy, #5 Huber/Sugiyama, #6 Black/Stubbs, #11 Bartoli/Loit, and #15 Callens/Mandula all advanced in straight sets, though #7 Husarova/Martinez needed three sets, and #8 Vento-Kabchi/Widjaja were pushed to 16-14 in the third by Prakusya and Tanasugarn.
Only one team was upset; #9 Casanova/Pratt, who haven't played all that much together, lost in three sets to the Chinese team of Yan and Zheng. The draw also lost #13 seeds Anastasia Myskina and Vera Zvonareva; Myskina, for the second time this year, has a toe problem.
We currently calculate the doubles rankings as follows:
1..(2) RUANO PASCUAL ..... 4623*
2..(1) SUAREZ .............4623*
3..(3) KUZNETSOVA .........3319*
4..(4) LIKHOVTSEVA ....... 2978*
5..(6) NAVRATILOVA ....... 2704*
6..(7) PETROVA ........... 2606*
7..(8) SHAUGHNESSY ....... 2601*
8.(10) BLACK ............. 2307*
9..(9) RAYMOND ........... 2126*
10..(5) SUGIYAMA ...........2124*
11.(12) STUBBS .............1967*
12.(13) HUSAROVA ...........1720*
13.(14) MARTINEZ ...........1625*
14.(15) HUBER ............. 1576*
15.(18) BARTOLI ........... 1322*
16.(16) WIDJAJA ........... 1259*
17.(21) ZVONAREVA ......... 1216
18.(17) VENTO-KABCHI .......1204*
19.(20) CASANOVA ...........1203
20.(11) Clijsters ......... 1110
21.(23) MOLIK ............. 1107*
22.(24) PRATT ............. 1106
23.(27) SERNA ............. 1087*
24.(22) Maleeva ........... 1074
25.(29) VINCI ............. 1073*
Wimbledon: Rain, Rain, Can We Make a Deal?
At Daily Tennis, we have an interesting relationship between rain and Slams. We cover every match, so the first few days are utterly exhausting. (Go ahead. You try to figure out the significance of, say, Popp vs. Montanes or Grande vs. Santangelo when it's match #54 you've had to cover in the day.) Rain can sometimes be a welcome break.
But the price can be high -- as on Thursday, when they played about two and a half days' worth of matches.
The price for the players can be pretty high, too. On Thursday, Goran Ivanisevic had to play five sets to reach the third round. Which put him up against another past champion, Lleyton Hewitt. (Talk about a top-heavy draw: There were only three past champions in the field, all in the top quarter.) You could see some of the weariness. The serve was working pretty well, but of course Hewitt is a great returner. And he lobs pretty well, too, and Ivanisevic isn't really a natural volleyer, so the Australian was murdering him there at the net. Left with just the serve, Ivanisevic didn't last long. Hewitt eliminated the 2001 champion 6-2 6-3 6-4. And that was it. The End, in big curlicued Olde English letters. After 15 Wimbledons, and 49 Wimbledon wins, Goran Ivanisevic was retired.
Today's feature looks back on the distinguished career of one of tennis's most outspoken characters.
The rain may also have cost Juan Carlos Ferrero, who had been pushed deep into the fifth set by Stefan Koubek in the first round. Ferrero just didn't seem to be there against Robby Ginepri, who is liking grass more and more with each passing year. His routine 6-3 6-4 6-1 win over Ferrero will almost certainly put him in the Top 30. Ferrero, though, will fall from #5 to no better than #6.
The Spanish did manage to get a player into the fourth round despite Ferrero's loss. Carlos Moya is now certain to be the top Spanish player after Wimbledon; he beat Dmitri Tursunov 6-1 6-4 7-5.
It's not just chair umpires who make mistakes. The ATP does it, too. And, in the urgency of Thursday's immense number of matches, we didn't check it. Jan-Michael Gambill did not lose on Thursday; he made it through to the third round.
Which just meant that he had to face Sebastien Grosjean. Some reward. Even the television commentators are finally noticing just how much Grosjean likes grass. He took out Gambill 7-6 6-3 6-3.
Even with Ivanisevic gone, Croatia is not without its influence at Wimbledon. The matches above were all third rounders, but most of Friday's schedule was second round matches -- no fewer than nineteen of them. Including two big-serving Croats, Ivo Karlovic and Mario Ancic. For the second straight year, Karlovic is in the third round, having beaten Gilles Elseneer 6-4 6-4 3-6 7-6. As for Ancic, he finally beat a non-seeded player at Wimbledon, making the third round for the first time with a 4-6 7-6 2-6 7-5 6-4 win over Lucky Loser Julien Benneteau.
Nor did every veteran go out; Wayne Ferreira, playing in his fifteenth consecutive Wimbledon, made the third round for the tenth time by beating Karol Kucera 7-6 6-3 6-1.
The top seed to lose, not surprisingly, was #3 Guillermo Coria, who seemed to be spending almost as much time talking to the trainer as actually playing. He lost to the promising German Florian Mayer 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-4 (and would later lose in doubles, too); at least he can boast of his first Wimbledon win, and he is guaranteed to keep the #3 ranking.
Still, his loss guarantees that Andy Roddick will end up no worse than #2. Not that there was much question about that, based on the way he is playing; he handily beat Lucky Loser Alexander Peya 6-3 7-6 6-4.
For Tim Henman, it took a couple of games longer to get in gear, but only that; the #5 seed beat qualifier Ivo Heuberger 7-5 6-3 6-2. Other seeds advancing quickly were #30 Vincent Spadea, who made the Wimbledon third round for the first time in nine tries, 6-1 6-1 6-2; #26 Taylor Dent, who beat Lucky Loser Stefano Pescosolido 6-3 6-3 7-6; and #25, who also made his first third round, beating wildcard Mark Hilton 7-5 6-4 6-2.
#20 seed Tommy Robredo, though, is out, and it just might cost him his Top 20 ranking; he took on Karol Beck, who is turning into a very good grass player; Beck made his first-ever third round at any Slam 6-3 6-2 7-6. Also out is #22 Andrei Pavel, who will probably make the Top 20 despite his 7-6 6-3 6-3 loss to Kenneth Carlsen.
Rainer Schuettler has shown a clear ability to make life tough for himself this year. It's just possible that he would be on his way home by now had not Greg Rusedski slipped and fallen in a heap in the forth set; it looked as though he banged up his serving wrist just a little, and he was never the same. Of course, the very fact that it was well into the fourth set might have been the cause. The #8 seed beat Rusedski 6-7 7-6 6-7 6-2 6-2. There is speculation that it might be Rusedski's last Wimbledon -- though it's hard to imagine Rusedski wanting to retire with his ranking in the pit where it is now. On the other hand, will he want to play enough qualifying to get back into main draws?
Other seeds to advance with a lot of effort included #11 Mark Philippoussis, last year's finalist, who won a serving battle with Martin Verkerk 4-6 6-3 7-6 7-5; #12 Sjeng Schalken, who took out a tired Todd Martin 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-3 and will probably stay Top 30 at least as a result; #24 Fernando Gonzalez, who almost blew a two set lead but put things together in the fifth to beat Igor Andreev 7-5 6-3 5-7 6-7 6-3; and Hicham Arazi, who is in the third round for the third time after his 6-7 6-4 6-3 7-6 win over David Ferrer.
If you took your scores from the ATP, watch out for the result of the contest between #21 Juan Ignacio Chela and Thomas Enqvist; for the second straight day, the ATP had the score wrong. Enqvist blocked Chela's attempt to make the third round for the first time in his career 6-3 6-7 6-1 3-6 6-3.
Alexander Popp continued his streak of never losing early at Wimbledon; he had the day's most lopsided win, beating Albert Montanes 6-1 6-0 6-1. Also reliving past glories was Xavier Malisse, a 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 winner over Tommy Haas.
Then came Saturday, and more rain, and more waiting to see just how far behind the tournament would fall. By late afternoon, it was far enough behind that they decided to play on Sunday. And the rain never did stop; for the second time in four days, the entire session had to be postponed.
By the end of Sunday, there was a certain air of deja vu around the place. All eight of last year's quarterfinalists had reached the third round -- and, as it turned out, seven of eight would reach the fourth round.
The one exception was Jonas Bjorkman, who for the second straight week found himself facing a young countryman with a big serve. At Nottingham, it was Robin Soderling who disposed of his nation's #1 veteran. At Wimbledon, Joachim Johansson did the damage, beating Bjorkman 6-7 7-6 7-6 6-3. The loss costs Bjorkman his Top 30 ranking; he'll end up around #35.
The other Johansson, Thomas, had the bad luck to run into Roger Federer, who continued to be his incredible grasscourt self. The result was an easy 6-3 6-4 6-3 win for the #1 seed. It appears that Johansson, #123 coming in, will end up just short of the Top 100. Federer, incidentally, made it that much harder for Andy Roddick to get to #1. With Federer in the fourth round, Roddick has to reach at least the final to have a chance.
The American once again looked ready for the challenge. He, too, remains undefeated on grass this year following his 6-3 7-6 7-6 win over Taylor Dent. Dent will probably be Top 30 next week (up from #31), but he can't hit the Top 25.
The Great American Surprise of this Wimbledon, though, is surely Vincent Spadea, who now has as many wins at this Wimbledon as at his entire previous eight. He took out #8 seed Rainer Schuettler 6-4 6-2 6-3, which may well be enough to put him in the Top 25. Schuettler, though, ends up at no better than #8, and it will be #9 if Lleyton Hewitt makes the semifinal or Sebastien Grosjean wins Wimbledon.
Even so, Germany finds itself with two players in the fourth round. Florian Mayer continues to look like the country's Next Big Thing, having ended Wayne Ferreira's final Wimbledon 4-6 6-4 6-1 6-4. The German came in at #66, and at this time last year didn't even have an ATP qualifying match; he was still playing mostly Challenger qualifying. He is very close to reaching the Top 50.
Alexander Popp isn't going to hit the Top 50 any time soon, unless he goes beyond his standard quarterfinal here -- but, for the third time in three tries, he's in the fourth round, having beaten Kenneth Carlsen 7-5 6-4 6-4. That at least will keep the German within spitting distance of the Top 100.
Feliciano Lopez is finally out before the fourth round. In the biggest-serving match of them all, Ivo Karlovic beat the #18 seed 7-6 7-6 6-7 7-5.
And Karlovic has company from his homeland (on both the men's and women's sides, since Karolina Sprem is also in the fourth round). Mario Ancic is in his first Slam fourth round with a 7-5 6-3 7-5 win over #25 Dominik Hrbaty, who once again fails to perform at the required events. Ancic too is knocking on the door of the Top 50; Hrbaty falls just short of the Top 20.
This is supposed to be Tim Henman's big chance. He's not doing a very good job of taking advantage, having struggled in his first match and at the beginning of his second. And, in his third, he struggled again, despite facing Hicham Arazi, who was having neck problems and who prefers clay anyway. Henman kept getting in trouble on serve, and while he rescued things in the first two sets, he couldn't overcome it in the third. He needed four sets to advance 7-6 6-4 3-6 6-2. Once more win and he will be in line for the #5 ranking -- but if he loses his next match, he'll fall to no better than #7.
And that next match will be against last year's finalist Mark Philippoussis. Philippoussis beat Fernando Gonzalez 6-4 6-1 6-7 7-5 (meaning that Gonzalez won't be making the Top 20 just yet), and faces a bleak prospect: If he wins that fourth round match, he'll stay Top 50. Otherwise, he looks to be out.
Sjeng Schalken has that dilemma cut in half: Win his fourth round match, and he should be Top 25. Lose it, and he won't be. He gave himself the chance to reach that ranking with a come-from-behind win over Thomas Enqvist, 5-7 6-2 3-6 7-6 6-2.
The other player to reach the Round of 16 was 2002 semifinalist Xavier Malisse, who beat Karol Beck 6-3 6-3 6-4. Beck still has his best-ever Slam, and is very close to the career-high #60 he briefly reached last fall.
Friday's doubles was, as usual, far more routine than the singles; almost all the seeded teams, especially the high-seeded teams, advanced. In fact #1 Bjorkman/Woodbridge, #3 Bryan/Bryan, #6 Black/Ullyett, #7 Arthurs/Hanley, #8 Damm/Suk, and #9 Etlis/Rodriguez all advanced without loss of a set; they had to play a combined one tiebreak. The top team to lose was last year's semifinalists Erlich and Ram, the #10 seeds; they took one on of the best unseeded teams, Novak and Stepanek, and lost 6-4 7-6. The Israelis will be falling from #19 and #20 to probably somewhere around #30. Also out are #13 Cermak and Friedl, but #11 Paes/Rikl advanced in three sets, and #12 Palmer/Vizner in straights.
The biggest loss, in fact, wasn't even as a result of match action. Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro, who were supposed to be the #4 seeds, withdrew, replaced by Lucky Losers Ayala and Vahaly, who promptly lost to Lopez Moron and Skoch. It appears likely that Santoro will keep his #7/#8 ranking even so, though Llodra is in danger of falling out of the Top Ten.
Sunday's action was mostly more of the same: #5 Knowles and Nestor became the final seeded team to reach the second round with a 6-1 6-3 win over Ginepri and Merklein (though there is one first round match still to complete: Sa/Saretta and Karlovic/Thomas were at 6-6 in the third -- no tiebreak, remember -- when the weather halted play). In second round action, #2 Bryan/Bryan, #3 Bhupathi/Mirnyi, #7 Arthurs/Hanley, #8 Damm/Suk, #12 Palmer/Vizner, and #16 Knowle/Zimonjic all advanced -- though #9 Etlis and Rodriguez, who made the third round last year, are out, as are Leander Paes and David Rikl, last year's semifinalists; they'll be heading down to around #30. Also out are #15 Hood and Prieto. #1 Bjorkman and Woodbridge were about to win their match against Arnold and Garcia when play was stopped, but #14 Malisse and Rochus were in a dogfight with Leach and MacPhie, on serve late in the third set. #6 seeds Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett didn't play; they're awaiting the Sa/Saretta/Karlovic/Thomas winner.
At present, we calculate the men's doubles Top 18 (which is as far as we trust our list) as follows:
Women's Match of the Day
Wimbledon - Third Round
Amy Frazier (31) def. Anastasia Myskina (2) 4-6 6-4 6-4
Yes, we know, this happened on Friday. It's hardly a strong candidate for Match of the Day for Monday. But look at Sunday's matches; the only "upset" was Sprem's win over Shaughnessy, and that wasn't actually an upset, and in any case, Sprem doesn't really need any more publicity right now.
And this was the biggest outcome of the tournament so far, men or women. Anastasia Myskina has never won a grass tournament, but she has a couple of finals, and she likes the surface, and she came into this match with a nine match losing streak.
You probably have seen the match by now: Breaks all over the place, Frazier having half a dozen match points and blowing all but the last (of course, every winner blows everyone but the last), and seeming unable to serve the match out. Myskina scrambling like mad but having more than usual trouble keeping the ball in. As it turned out, Myskina would withdraw from her doubles match on Sunday, so she may have been suffering already. It was still a shock. Frazier has some very good wins in her career -- she retired Steffi Graf, she took out Martina Hingis at San Diego 2000, she beat #8 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario at Roland Garros 2001. But the Hingis win was her last Top Five victory, and her only Top Ten win in the last two years was over Hantuchova at Stanford 2003, and her only Top Twenty win this year was over Dokic at Amelia Island. She didn't seem to be ready for an ambush. Wrong, obviously. And, with the win, she puts herself back in the Top 30 -- close to the Top 25. For at least the third time, after people have written off her career, she's back.
And, as a result, Myskina may lose the #3 ranking she gained at Roland Garros. Certainly she won't be moving up. If Amelie Mauresmo can win her fourth round match, then Mauresmo will be #3 and Myskina #4. Though neither has much to defend this summer. With Kim Clijsters losing points fast, we could have a wild race for the #2 ranking this summer.
Men's Match of the Day
Wimbledon - Third Round
Ivo Karlovic def. Feliciano Lopez (18) 7-6(14-12) 7-6(7-3) 6-7(2-7) 7-5
When two of the biggest serves in tennis meet, something has to give. And the something, in this case, was Feliciano Lopez's streak of Wimbledon fourth rounds.
Lopez is a very atypical Spaniard; he's never had much luck on clay, posting most of his big career results on hardcourts, indoor and out.
Well, plus on grass. In fact, it's been largely Wimbledon that's made him what he is. When he arrived at Wimbledon 2002, he had exactly one Slam match win, but he made the fourth round with wins over Canas and Schuettler. Last year, he did it again, though he beat rather lesser players (the best of them was probably Youzhny).
Now, finally, he's out in the third round, to the Incredible Tiebreak-Playing Croat. Given how big Wimbledon has been for Lopez, it will cost him surprisingly little -- he came in at #22, and will lose between one and four places, with two being perhaps the most likely number. It will be more interesting to see how this affects his future results.
And Ivo Karlovic's, too. It was his breakthrough here last year that made him a respectable player, and now the 25-year-old has gone himself one better. He still doesn't have much of a ground game -- but with that serve, it almost doesn't matter. #62 coming in, he joins the large clump of players just on the edge of the Top 50. Now if only he didn't have to face Roger Federer next....
The Good, the Bad, and the Retired
You could make the case that some guys with a single Slam title don't deserve it. Not so Goran Ivanisevic. The surprise in his case is not that he had so many but so few.
People think of Ivanisevic as a grass-court player, and of course that's where he won his only Slam and had his other three Slam finals. But though Wimbledon was his best major, with a winning percentage in excess of 75%, he had a winning record at all four Slams, with two Australian Open quarterfinals (1989, 1994), three Roland Garros quarterfinals (1990, 1992, 1994), and a U. S. Open semifinal (1996). In terms of titles, he covered everything. In his career, he had a total of 22 titles:
Clay: Stuttgart 1990, Bucharest 1993, Kitzbuhel 1994
Grass: Manchester 1991, Wimbledon 2001
Hardcourt: Adelaide 1992, Dubai 1996
Indoor Hardcourt: Sydney 1992
Carpet: Stuttgart 1992, Stockholm 1992, Vienna 1993, Paris 1993, Tokyo 1994, Grand Slam Cup 1995, Zagreb 1996, Milan 1996, Rotterdam 1996, Moscow 1996, Zagreb 1997, Milan 1997, Vienna 1997, Split 1998
It's obviously the portrait of a guy who likes fast surfaces (in addition to Wimbledon, his two Masters Series titles were on carpet: Stuttgart 1992 and Paris 1993), but he could survive anywhere, and he really liked clay a lot -- to the very end, you could see him trying to slide on grass; indeed, he appeared to twist his ankle one last time in the last service game of his career.
All those singles titles naturally translated into some pretty good rankings as well. He peaked at #2 in 1994, and ended the year in the Top Ten six times (1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996); he was Top Five in 1992, 1994, and 1996.
Nor was he, like so many other great singles players, allergic to doubles; in fact, his first title came in doubles in 1988, at the age of 17, when he won Frankfurt; he ended up with nine doubles titles, and he twice made the Roland Garros doubles final (1990 and 1999). His best ranking in doubles was #20. And what American tennis fan could forget his dramatic doubles match against the United States in Davis Cup two years ago? Unable to play singles, Croatia put him in the doubles almost more as a good luck charm than anything else -- and the Croats won the match, and the tie, even so. Pain seemed to inspire him; he was popping painkillers on his way to the 2001 Wimbledon title, and was playing with a shoulder that would require surgery later that year.
In Dubai, Ivanisevic quit after trying to slide for a ball on hardcourt one too many times. If there's ever a wing in the Hall of Fame for bizarre injuries, it could easily be named after the Croat. Not only has he managed to injure himself sleeping and splashing on the beach, but also suffered a hand injury while shutting a door and required stitches after banging into his doubles partner. In fact, as far back as 1998, a web site calculated that Ivanisevic was one of the all-time leaders for receiving stitches with 28 -- and that's only on his head. (Does running out of racquets count? How about getting hit on the back of the head with Marc Rosset's serve?)
That Davis Cup result was emblematic of his service to his country in national competition. He did have a brief quarrel with the Croatian tennis federation, but could usually be counted on to play where needed. He also brought home an Olympic bronze medal in 1992 -- the first Olympic medal won by his newly-created country.
And his service extended beyond just Davis Cup and the Olympics. When local tournaments needed him, he turned up, even if it didn't fit his schedule. He even helped to manage Zagreb 1996, where he was part-owner. "For the first time in my life I see what it is like to run a tournament," he told an interviewer that year. "When I got to Zagreb they tell me Yevgeny Kafelnikov has pulled out and we need another big name. So I sit in the office and start calling players. But they won't come. They are busy. They are tired. It is tough.
"So my colleagues on tournament committee say, 'OK so you must win tournament yourself or you are in big trouble.' Great! Very relaxed I am after that. Never felt such pressure. They are going to hang me if I don't win the tournament!"
That was typical of an interview style that endeared him to fans and press: He said what he thought, and what he thought was often hilarious. He himself spoke of a "Good Goran," a "Bad Goran," and an "Emergency Goran." Neither did he hesitate to caricature his own famous serve; when they reduced the time between points to 20 seconds, he declared "It doesn't matter to me. I can play four points in twenty seconds."
But perhaps his most significant legacy to the sport and his country is the generation of Croatian players he has inspired and supported. Mirjana Lucic (who, ironically, falls off the WTA rankings the week Ivanisevic plays his last match) was called "female Goran" because of her serve; Mario Ancic is still the "baby Goran"; Ivanisevic has played mixed doubles with Iva Majoli, Croatia's other Slam winner. Karolina Sprem, their biggest young female talent, talks freely of how his results influenced her. And Ivan Ljubicic, Croatia's #1 in his absence, admits to being inspired by him.
The crowd went wild when he won his first round match at Wimbledon. And his second, which he won in five sets. But they applauded even more when he lost, in the third, to Lleyton Hewitt. He will be missed.