The 2013 Wimbledon Championships haven't been short on surprises thus far, as the early going Round 2 has fostered several surprising outcomes, wherein many of tennis' big names have bowed out unexpectedly.
Injury has played a factor in a staggering amount of showdowns, and it's making the road for the favorites remaining even easier while also providing others golden opportunities to exceed all expectations.
When Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was being tended to—and, eventually, was forced to withdraw from his match against Ernests Gulbis—the New York Times' Ben Rothenberg couldn't help but notice the discouraging trend of players going down:
Trainer was out for Tsonga, looks like his left knee. This tournament has to have run out of body bags, surely… #wimbledon— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 26, 2013
Wimbledon's official website has results and all the key statistics as they come in, and here's a look at the most shocking outcomes from Wednesday's early action.
Michelle Larcher De Brito defeats Maria Sharapova (3)
2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova was knocked out by a qualifier (6-3, 6-4) on Wednesday. She fell during the second set and was tended to during a medical timeout but could not quite get herself back into the match.
It marked one of three times that Sharapova fell during the match, but she refused to use that as an excuse afterward, per Tennisreporters.net's Matt Cronin:
Sharapova: 'Dont think Ive ever fallen 3 times in career but thats no excuse. Seen other players fall. Part of what we have to deal with'— Matt Cronin (@TennisReporters) June 26, 2013
Sharapova had plenty of opportunities, yet she failed to convert six of seven break-point opportunities and frequently threw away points with five double faults to almost completely offset six aces.
Credit was given where it was due by Sharapova when she faced the press, as she felt her underdog counterpart played extremely well (h/t Wimbledon on Twitter):
Larcher De Brito took Sharapova's best shot in a desperate situation to stay in the tournament in London, and it was impressive of her to keep her composure—even if the Russian was hobbled by a hip issue.
Ernests Gulbis defeats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6)
After winning the first set 6-3, it appeared as though Tsonga was going to continue rolling and build off the momentum of his past two efforts at the All England Club.
Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be, as Tsonga became the latest to literally fall victim to the slick grass courts. Tsonga could not muster hardly any strength and did not hit a ground-stroke winner in the third and ultimately final set. He was forced to retire trailing 6-3, 3-6, 3-6 with a left knee injury.
Romi Cvitkovic of World Tennis Magazine got the closeup shot of Tsonga getting wrapped and also provided historical context with regard to the Frenchman's health history:
Tsonga getting his left knee taped up. Same one that sidelined him for 3 months in 2010 (per TC). pic.twitter.com/NQr89ouuL4— Romi Cvitkovic (@RomiCvitkovic) March 13, 2013
So those weren't as surprising as this development, because Tsonga had been a semifinalist the past two years, and his road perceptibly got easier as many others were falling out of the tournament.
Renowned tennis writer Irvine Welsh logged a quote from former player Tim Henman, who elaborated on what Tsonga's absence means for No. 2 seed Andy Murray in the men's draw:
"With Tsonga now eliminated this gash of a draw has suddenly opened itself up like the Grand Canyon for Andy." Tim Henman.— Irvine Welsh (@WelshIrvine) June 26, 2013
Tsonga would have been a formidable threat to take home his first Grand Slam championship hardware if he were healthy.
Petra Cetkovska defeats Caroline Wozniacki (9)
It wasn't even close for the former No. 1 Wozniacki, who continues to struggle in recent Grand Slam events, as Cetkovska bounced her in straight sets, both of which were by a score of 6-2.
Rothenberg highlights how unkind tennis' biggest tournaments have been lately for Wozniacki:
Wozniacki out 6-2, 6-2 to Cetkovska. Hasn't reached the quarterfinals in her last six Slams, out first week in five of them. #wimbledon— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 26, 2013
Ankle problems appeared to be hampering Wozniacki, according to the account provided by ESPN Tennis' Twitter:
Whose loss was most surprising?
Wozniacki has clearly been in a funk, especially at the Grand Slams. She is too talented of a player to be losing this early. The slick grass court certainly isn't helping her cause, but Wozniacki has never made it to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, either.
The key to the match was Wozniacki's serve—or lack thereof. The Dane lost 55 percent of her first-serve points for the match and hit just six winners compared to the 30 her opponent hit.