Following two days that provided many storylines but few upsets, Day 3 of Wimbledon was when the drama really started. There were upsets, including top-10 players going down in both the gentlemen's and ladies' brackets, and stars who didn't live up to their potential.
In other words, it was a great day at the All England Club.
As much pleasure as there is to take from run-of-the-mill results, Wimbledon is more exciting when the unexpected happens. When you see the exuberant expression on an underdog's face, you see how much this means.
The highest seed to fall thus far, on either side, was No. 7 David Ferrer. The 32-year-old Spanish star made it to the quarterfinals of his last 10 Grand Slam events prior to Wimbledon, but was taken out in five sets by Andrey Kuznetsov on Wednesday.
That was just one of the many storylines to follow on Day 3. Below is a recap of the scores, results and highlights from the All England Club.
|No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. Radek Stepanek||6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5)|
|No. 3 Andy Murray def. Blaz Rola||6-1, 6-1, 6-0|
|No. 6 Tomas Berdych def. Bernard Tomic||4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3), 6-1|
|Andrey Kuznetsov def. No. 7 David Ferrer||6-7 (5-7), 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2|
|No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov def. Luke Saville||6-3, 6-2, 6-4|
|Sergiy Stakhovsky def. No. 12 Ernests Gulbis||6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)|
|No. 14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Sam Querrey*||4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 9-9|
|No. 16 Fabio Fognini def. Tim Puetz||2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3|
|Jimmy Wang def. No. 17 Mikhail Youzhny||7-6 (7-1), 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3|
|No. 20 Kevin Anderson def. Edouard Roger-Vasselin||7-6 (7-0), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4|
|No. 21 Alexandr Dolgopolov def. Benjamin Becker||6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-0), 6-3, 6-4|
|No. 26 Marin Cilic def. Andreas Haider-Maurer||3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4|
|No. 27 Roberto Bautista Agut def. Jan Hernych||7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2|
|Gilles Simon def. Robin Haase||7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 6-4|
|Leonardo Mayer def. Marcos Baghdatis||7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4|
*Match was suspended due to darkness and will resume on Thursday
|No. 2 Li Na def. Yvonne Meusburger||6-2, 6-2|
|No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska def. Casey Dellacqua||6-4, 6-0|
|No. 6 Petra Kvitova def. Mona Barthel||6-2, 6-0|
|Bojana Jovanovski def. No. 8 Victoria Azarenka||6-3, 3-6, 7-5|
|No. 10 Dominika Cibulkova def. Alison Van Uytvanck||3-6, 6-3, 8-6|
|Lauren Davis def. No. 12 Flavia Pennetta||6-4, 7-6 (7-4)|
|No. 16 Caroline Wozniacki def. Naomi Broady||6-3, 6-2|
|No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova def. Misaki Doi||7-5, 6-4|
|No. 23 Lucie Safarova def. Polona Hercog||7-6 (9-7), 7-5|
|No. 30 Venus Williams def. Kurumi Nara||7-6 (7-4), 6-1|
|Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova def. No. 32 Elena Vesnina||6-4, 6-2|
|Peng Shuai def. Maria Kirilenko||6-0, 6-3|
|Vera Zvonareva def. Tara Moore||6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 9-7|
|Zarina Diyas def. Kristina Mladenovic||7-6 (7-4), 6-4|
|Tereza Smitkova def. Coco Vandeweghe||6-3, 7-6 (7-4)|
Full results from Day 3 can be found at Wimbledon.com
David Ferrer and Victoria Azarenka Heading Home Early
One of the most impressive, albeit least-talked about streaks in tennis came to an end when Ferrer lost to Kuznetsov in the second round at Wimbledon. He had played in the quarterfinal round of every Grand Slam dating back to 2012.
Tennis journalist Chris Goldsmith pointed out on Twitter this is also the first time since 2010 that Ferrer hasn't won at least two matches in a Grand Slam:
First time David Ferrer hasn't reached 3rd round of a Grand Slam since Australian Open in 2010.— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) June 25, 2014
To his credit, Ferrer didn't make any excuses after the match, simply stating what happened and moving on, via Wimbledon's official Twitter account:
Kuznetsov is still learning his way on the ATP Tour, having just turned 23 in February, and by seeding this is the biggest win of his young career. The marathon match concluded with elation from the underdog and a show of appreciation from the crowd:
Also getting bit by the upset bug was No. 8 seed Victoria Azarenka, who lost in three sets to Bojana Jovanovski.
Azarenka's loss wasn't as surprising as Ferrer's because she missed more than three months nursing a foot injury that kept her out of the French Open and dropped her out of the top five in the WTA rankings.
Novak Djokovic Gets More Than He Bargained For
While not quite falling under the upset spell, Novak Djokovic had his hands full in the second round with Radek Stepanek and provided the best possible quote after the match, via Sports Illustrated Tennis:
“I should not have complicated my life in this way.” — Reusable post-match analysis by Novak Djokovic.— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) June 25, 2014
Djokovic needed four sets and three hours to secure a spot in the third round. It was also notable for the way it ended, with Djoker's forehand shot being ruled out before a replay challenge showed the ball hit the line.
Even though it wasn't a banner performance for Djokovic, he did provide some notable highlights with his ability to glide across a grass court the way a hover board glides off the ground in Back To The Future, via ESPN Tennis:
This guy can slide! Novak Djokovic shows the rest of us how you successfully slide on a grass court - http://t.co/a1G0qVbT7q— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) June 25, 2014
In an event like this, you take any win you can get. But Djokovic can't be feeling good about what awaits moving forward, especially since he's been unable to seal the deal in Grand Slam events for the last 12 months.
The Djoker is still getting to finals, but hasn't won on the biggest stage tennis has to offer since the 2013 Australian Open. Stepanek's performance showed the world that Djokovic is still vulnerable.
Venus Williams Wins Two Matches at Wimbledon for First Time Since 2011
While there's still a long way to go before we declare her a champion again, Venus Williams moved closer to history with a victory over Kurumi Nara:
Which player will have the shorter run at Wimbledon?
It was also a key moment in Williams' return to Wimbledon, as she had to gut out a slow start by falling behind 0-3 in the first set to secure her first appearance in the third round at the All England Club for the first time in three years.
Even though she's not what she once was, both because of age (34) and being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2011, Williams is still playing at a high level. She won a singles title in 2014 for the first time in two years.
Greg Garber of ESPN.com wrote about Williams' resolve and perseverance after the win and included quotes from the five-time Wimbledon champion about retirement:
Well, I don't like watching [tennis] on TV. I want to be out there. I'm not about the easy thing. Life is a challenge. For me, when I leave tennis, I want it to be on my own terms. I want to know that I rose to every challenge.
The next challenge for Williams is a matchup with No. 6 seed Petra Kvitova, who won this event in 2011 and has made the quarterfinals every year since 2010. It won't be easy, but she probably wouldn't want it any other way.
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