Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Big W, Week 2

The first week of Wimbledon has ended and now we've got the final 16 players remaining on the men's and ladies' draw.

The big upset on the men's side was Argentine 5th seed JMDP (that's Juan Martin Del Potro) losing to oldster and former #1 player (before the era of Federer) Lleyton Hewitt in the second round. Hewitt is also a one-time Wimbledon champ (again, before the era of Federer), so while it shouldn't be a huge shock, I expected more from JMDP, who plays well on the fast hard court surfaces. I guess he hasn't figured out how to play on grass yet. Also going out early are:

  • Russian #14 seed Marat Safin, who is making his final Wimbledon appearance this year after he lost to American qualifier Jesse Levine
  • #9 JWT (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga), who lost to Croatian ace machine Ivo Karlovic
  • #10 Gonzo (Fernando Gonzales), who lost to another former #1, pre-Federer, Juan Carlos Ferrero (or as I'd like to call him: Juanqui) (Great result for JCF, who has fallen even further in the rankings than Hewitt)
  • #12 Nikolay Davydenko, who lost to big-hitting Czech Tomas Berdych, in a not-so-huge-upset.
  • Croat youngster Marin Cilic lost in an epic match (10-8 in the fifth set) to Tommy Haas, but I was expecting Tommy to get to the semifinals here, so I wasn't that surprised of the result even if Cilic, at #11, was the higher ranked player.
A few years ago, it would've been easy to predict that most of the upsets would come from the men's side, because the higher-ranked ladies would usually just breeze through the first few rounds without breaking a sweat... But that's not the case anymore. Whether it's because the depth of competition among the women has improved or because the top women are just much more vulnerable to playing badly these days is hard to say (I'd say it's a mixture of both...) If anything, at least the upsets make the women's draw a bit more unpredictable.

The big upsets on the women's side are the losses of French Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova and former #1 Jelena Jankovic. Sveta Kuz lost in straight sets to 19 year-old German Sabine Lisicki, who is ranked #41, while the Serbian JJ lost to 17 year-old American Melanie Oudin. Oudin is currently ranked 124, so she had to go through the qualifying stage before getting into the main draw. She won 3 matches in the qualies, and 2 more matches in the main draw before beating JJ, so this has been a great tournament for her.

Other players who lost early were:

  • #7 Vera Zvonareva, who had to pull out because of an injury
  • #12 and former finalist Marion Bartoli of France
  • #14 and recent French Open semifinalist Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia
  • #15 Flavia Pennetta of Italy, who lost to former #1 and 2006 Wimbledon Champion Amelie Mauresmo, in a slight upset
  • and #16 and last year's surprise semifinalist Jie Zheng of China, who lost to my awesome girlfriend Daniela Hantuchova. Daniela is back in the 4th round of Wimbledon after she defeated her doubles partner Ai Sugiyama last Friday. Woohoo! She'll be facing #2 Serena Williams in the round of 16. That's gonna be a tough match for sure.
  • Maria Sharapova, seeded #24 here thanks to the Wimbledon seeding committee's power to give out random seedings to players they like, lost to unseeded Gisela Dulko (who's actually ranked higher than her.) Shazza was seeded by the Wimbledon powers that be despite being ranking #60, having played only 2 tournaments this year because of a shoulder injury, and having not gone past the 4th round of Wimbledon in the past two years. Yup, I'm pretty sure looks counted in the "formula" for figuring out the player seeding.
Can't wait for the second week action to start!



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