Wimbledon likes to consider itself the marquee Grand Slam event in pro tennis with players clad in classy whites against a backdrop of finely manicured grass.
After England fell out of the World Cup, all British attention can focus on rooting for Andy Murray to deliver a consolation prize.
Wednesday's second-round action brought some expected outcomes for favorites, but several upsets peppered the results while one struggling female superstar succeeded in moving on.
No. 7 David Ferrer fell in five sets to Russia's Andrey Kuznetsov. Ferrer needed a tiebreak to claim the first set before getting blanked 6-0 in the second. According to ESPN, the defeat snapped Ferrer's "streak of reaching at least the third round at 17 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments," dating back to the 2010 Australian Open.
It also came against a player ranked 118th. Ferrer had not lost at a Grand Slam to a player ranked so low since No. 126 Kei Nishikori downed him at the 2008 U.S. Open.
A frustrated Ferrer could only tip his cap afterward, telling reporters about Kuznetsov: "He was better. A lot of winners. In important moments, he was more aggressive than me.''
The result could not have been more different for third-ranked Andy Murray, who made short work of Blaz Rola by beating him in straight sets and losing only two games in the process.
However, Ferrer did not represent the only upset from the early matches on Wednesday, as Latvia's Ernests Gulbis, ranked No. 12, fell in straight sets to Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky.
Perhaps Gulbis was still preoccupied with the danger posed to pro tennis by vampires after an amusing instance of aural hallucination caused him to think a reporter had asked a question about the supernatural blood-slurping creatures. In fact, the question concerned "umpires." You know, as in tennis umpires?
Also, in a match with great potential for confusing announcers and fans, No. 6 Tomas Berdych won tiebreakers in the second and third sets to defeat Bernard Tomic. And not to disappoint the Tomic fans out there, but it's actually Berdych who stripped down for the "Bodies" issue of ESPN The Magazine.
No. 2 Li Na advanced in straight sets Wednesday, but the women's side did not lack its own high-profile upsets.
No. 8 Victoria Azarenka stubbed her toe on Serbian Bojana Jovanovski, who took the third and deciding set 7-5. Azarenka had advanced to the semifinals at the tournament in both 2011 and 2012, and after winning the Australian Open and reaching the finals of the U.S. Open in 2013, a second-round exit in London will come as a huge disappointment for her.
The most notable ranked woman who cracked the third round was Venus Williams. She took the first set on a tiebreak before dispatching Japan's Kurumi Nara 6-1 in the second set.
Williams has not won a Grand Slam singles title since 2008, and things looked grim when she opened the match by losing the first three games. However, she battled back and countered her doubters with the victory.
As Williams told Stephen Wilson of The Associated Press after the win: "It's definitely a step in the right direction. The thing that I just have to really work on is being on tour consistently and playing tournaments."
In February, Williams claimed the title at the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which included wins over Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals and Caroline Wozniacki in the semis. However, Wednesday's win marks "only the second time in her last 10 Grand Slam tournaments" that Williams has advanced past the second round.
Now, she will have to contend with a very tough challenge against 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in Round 3. Kvitova ranks sixth on the tour and will offer Williams a true test of her current fitness.
The week prior to Williams' win in Dubai this year, she fell to Kvitova 9-7 in a third-set tiebreak in the second round of the Qatar Total Open in Doha. With just a 15-7 singles record on the year, Williams faces a massive task in taking on Kvitova.
They are similar players, and the matchup could work in Williams' favor if she can stand back on the baseline and crush heavy hits at her opponent. Williams clearly has something left in the tank, but she's always just a lunge or a slide away from aggravating another injury.
While Murray and Na were Wednesday's big winners, Williams has to be brimming after getting over that second-round hurdle.
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