Wimbledon 2013: Biggest Storylines to Follow in Final Week
The 2013 Wimbledon Championships have taken several shocking turns, and as the saga continues to unfold at the All England Club over the final week, there are some key storylines to monitor.
There is ample opportunity for superstars to enhance their legacies to be sure. Additionally, though, some others also benefit from the more level playing field and can advance further than they likely thought possible before the year's third Grand Slam tournament began.
Let's take a look at the most notable developments to watch for at the All England Club.
Can No. 1 Seed Dominance Continue?
Novak Djokovic hasn't dropped a set thus far and polished off a simply marvelous performance in the third round against No. 28 seed Jeremy Chardy on Saturday.
The Serbian hit 38 winners compared to a mere three unforced errors—a ratio almost unheard of at any level of tennis, much less on one of the sport's four grandest stages.
ESPN's Darren Cahill highlighted how Djokovic actually didn't have any errors in the first two sets en route to his 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 triumph on Centre Court:
2 sets in the bank and Novak Djokovic has made 0 unforced errors. Yes, 0. #ESPNWimbledon— Darren Cahill (@darren_cahill) June 29, 2013
Tommy Haas has battled through several injuries and is making quite an impression in 2013 at the age of 35. Formerly ranked as high as No. 2 in the ATP rankings, he's the 13th seed at Wimbledon, but he's unluckily drawn Djokovic in the Round of 16.
The underdog storyline that Haas has provided would be amplified to an inconceivable degree if he somehow upset Djokovic, but with how well Djoker is playing right now, it seems that may be cut short.
Meanwhile, Serena Williams looks absolutely unstoppable herself and hasn't been in danger of dropping any sets either.
Williams notched her 600th career victory against 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-2, 6-0 on Saturday to get to Round 4 and shows no signs of slowing down. BBC Sport logged Williams' summary of the special occasion:
Considering all the wackiness that has occurred thus far in London, it's conceivable that either of these superstars could be blindsided and knocked out of the tournament.
The remaining respective lenses through which to view the 2013 version of Wimbledon encompass some of the best candidates to do so.
Andy Murray and Laura Robson: Great Britain's Great Hopes
To start with ladies first this time around, the impressive run by the unseeded Robson could be undone in swift order by Williams, who will be the teen's likely foe in the quarterfinals.
Firstly, though, Robson must get past Kaia Kanepi, who knocked off seventh-seeded Angelique Kerber in the second round. If Robson makes a run to the final eight at age 19, though, she will undoubtedly be adored even more so by the UK faithful.
Murray is facing very little to thwart him from returning to the final for the second consecutive year. Federer beat him on that stage, but it seems the only one capable of denying Murray at this point is Djokovic.
Any result that has Murray fall short of the final would be among the biggest letdowns in recent memory.
Simon Briggs of The Telegraph reported on Saturday that Murray feels a Wimbledon championship would not be as significant as the gold medal he won at the Summer Olympics over Federer.
Such talk is sure to raise some eyebrows, but if Murray truly feels that way, perhaps he will have felt he already got the monkey off his back at the All England Club. Should that be the case, it wouldn't be a shock to see him beat Djokovic in the end.
Sloane Stephens: The Next Surefire Superstar?
Other than Williams, the 20-year-old is the top-ranked American woman and has the game that can translate to any surface, as well as the physicality to keep up with Williams' prowess.
The reason an inquisitive question mark lingers in the headline is due to Stephens' lack of consistency.
Stephens beat Williams at the Australian Open earlier this year, but she could barely get past 196th-ranked Petra Cetkovska in the third round and needed to push the final set to 8-6 against her second-round opponent, Andrea Petkovic.
Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times noted how Stephens lost eight consecutive games when facing Cetkovska:
Sloane Stephens loses eight straight games but survives Cetkovska 7-6, 0-6, 6-4. Win is a win, but burn the tapes, that was ugly. #wimbledon— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 29, 2013
In the two aforementioned matches combined, Stephens has a total of 41 winners and 68 unforced errors. Plus, the command on her serve is off.
It's actually remarkable that Stephens has advanced this far as the No. 17 seed with past champions such as Maria Sharapova and other top women falling by the wayside. This is Stephens' big chance to have her official coming-out party by capturing a Grand Slam title, and she won't have to face Williams until the final.
Stephens has proven herself against Williams, but the true test will be whether or not she can get up for all her other opponents.
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