WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIPS, LONDONJUNE 23 - JULY 6
SECOND-seeded Jelena Jankovic and No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova were ousted in the fourth round yesterday, leaving Wimbledon without any of the top four women in the quarter-finals for the first time ever.
A hobbled Jankovic fell 6-3, 6-2 to Tamarine Tanasugarn, while 2004 US Open champion Kuznetsova lost 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 to 19-year-old Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
With top-seeded Ana Ivanovic and No. 3 Maria Sharapova eliminated last week, none of the top four women reached the quarter-finals – the first time that’s happened at Wimbledon and also the first time at any Grand Slam tournament in the 40-year history of the Open era.
The highest seeded player left is No. 5 Elena Dementieva, who cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 win over Shahar Peer.
The Williams sisters, meanwhile, moved closer to another Wimbledon final with back-to-back victories on Court 2 – nicknamed the Graveyard of Champions for its history of upsets. They questioned why they weren’t put on Centre Court or Court 1.
Defending champion Venus Williams beat Russian teenager Alisa Kleybanova 6-3, 6-4, while two-time winner Serena Williams downed Bethanie Mattek – the only other American left in the men’s or women’s draw – 6-3, 6-3.
“It wasn’t what I would have liked to see,” Serena said of the Court 2 scheduling. “Initially, I thought, ‘Is this the right schedule?’ I thought maybe there was a mistake. But I can’t dwell on that. I just have to focus on doing the best that I can whether I’m on Court 2 or Court 20.”
In men’s play, five-time champion Roger Federer swept Lleyton Hewitt – the last man to win the title before him – 7-6 (9-7), 6-2, 6-4 on Centre Court to extend his winning streak on grass to 63 matches and 38 in a row at the All England Club. Federer, who served 21 aces, has now beaten his Australian rival in 12 consecutive matches.
Federer will next face the last player to beat him on grass and at Wimbledon – Croatian Mario Ancic, who won in the first round in 2002. Ancic came from two sets down yesterday to beat Fernando Verdasco 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 13-11. The final set alone lasted one hour, 35 minutes.
“I completely under-estimated him back in 2002,” Federer said. “I was a little shell-shocked and didn’t know what happened to me. What it taught me was not to under-estimate any opponent.”
Number 2-ranked Rafael Nadal, runner-up to Federer the last two years, overcame an injury scare in the second game of the match and beat Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.
Nadal slipped on the worn turf behind the baseline on Court 1 while stretching to hit a forehand, with his right leg bending awkwardly. After losing the point, he took a medical time-out, and a trainer wrapped his leg below the knee. The Spaniard lost the next point and the game, but showed no sign of trouble and dominated the rest of the way.
“I feel something behind the knee, but it seems better,” the four-time French Open champion said. “I’m going to get it checked for a precaution but I hope that I’m fine.”
Playing with her left knee heavily strapped, Jankovic was never in serious contention against the 60th-ranked Tamarine. The 31-year-old Thai, playing in her 12th consecutive Wimbledon, also was treated for a lower back problem during changeovers in the second set.
After converting on match point to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time, Tamarine covered her face with her hands and broke into tears.
“Wow, wow, wow,” Tamarine said. “Being in the fourth round so many years, making it to the quarter-finals is really a good feeling.”
Jankovic, who complained about being scheduled out on Court 18, said she played with a tear in her knee sustained during her third-round win on Friday over Caroline Wozniacki.
“I was always a step behind,” said the Serb, who committed 19 unforced errors. “It was very hard for me. I tried the best I could and she was quite solid and didn’t make any mistakes. I wasn’t moving the way I usually move. I just couldn’t play at my best.”
Also advancing was Chinese wild-card entry Zheng Jie, who followed up her upset of Ivanovic last week to beat 19-year-old Hungarian Agnes Szavay 6-3, 6-4. Zheng Jie was down 4-1 in the second set and then won five games in a row before securing her first Grand Slam quarter-final berth.
Other women’s winners were Nicole Vaidisova, who downed No. 8 Anna Chakvetadze 4-6, 7-6 (7-0), 6-3; and Nadia Petrova, a 6-1, 6-4 victor over Alla Kudryavtseva, who had beaten Sharapova in the second round. – AP
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