As the days go by, the action at Wimbledon heats up. There hasn't been a signature upset through four days at the All England Club, but a number of top players have received scares from inferior competition.
Now, with more ranked players going up against each other in the third round, upsets should become more frequent. There is also the very real possibility that chalk will hold until we get to the second week, leading to more marquee matchups.
Whatever is going to happen in England, we have all the action covered with the top storylines and notable results from the last 24 hours.
|Gentlemen's Draw: No. 2 Rafael Nadal def. Lukas Rosol||4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 6-4|
|Gentlemen's Draw: No. 4 Roger Federer def. Gilles Muller||6-3, 7-5, 6-3|
|Gentlemen's Draw: No. 9 John Isner def. Jarkko Nieminen||7-6 (19-17), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5|
|Gentlemen's Draw: No. 14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Sam Querrey||4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 14-12|
|Gentlemen's Draw: Nick Kyrgios def. No. 13 Richard Gasquet||3-6, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-5, 10-8|
|Ladies' Draw: No. 1 Serena Williams def. Chanelle Scheepers||6-1, 6-1|
|Ladies' Draw: No. 5 Maria Sharapova def. Timea Bacsinskzy||6-2, 6-1|
|Ladies' Draw: No. 11 Ana Ivanovic def. Jie Zheng||6-4, 6-0|
|Ladies' Draw: Zarina Diyas def. No. 15 Carla Suarez-Navarro||7-6 (14-12), 5-7, 6-2|
|Ladies' Draw: Madison Keys def. No. 31 Klara Koukalova||7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2|
Rafael Nadal Keeps Playing With Fire
Two days after winning his first match in four sets, Rafael Nadal once again looked sluggish in his victory over Lukas Rosol. He lost the first set, 6-4, starting off exactly like he did against Martin Klizan.
Rosol, who made a name for himself at Wimbledon two years ago with a victory over Nadal in the second round, had the world's No. 1 on the ropes in the second set before losing a tiebreaker, 7-6.
After the match was over, nearly three hours after it began, Nadal sounded more relieved than confident to reporters, via the New York Times' John Branch: "Every match is so difficult here. Especially when you play against players that really decided to play every shot full power, with serve, with the forehand, with the backhand. When that happens, you are in trouble if the inspiration is there for the opponent."
On the positive side, Nadal did advance to the third round for the first time since 2011. However, if this trend continues, with slow starts against inferior competition, he's not going to last much longer.
Serena Williams Is On Fire
What's the biggest story at Wimbledon thus far?
There's no more frustrating player in tennis to watch than Serena Williams. When she really wants to win an event, no one can touch her. When she goes into an event knowing she's better, seeming to lose interest as a result, we see her lose in the second round at the French Open.
While acknowledging the opposition hasn't been up to snuff at Wimbledon thus far, Williams is playing like a woman possessed. She lost three games to Anna Tatishvili in the first round and disposed of Chanelle Scheepers in less than an hour on Thursday.
Wimbledon's official Twitter account posted stats from Williams' dominating victory:
The efficiency with which Williams won that match is alarming. She barely had to break a sweat to set up a third-round battle with No. 25 Alize Cornet.
Maria Sharapova is also running through her opponents, possibly leading to a quarterfinals battle with Williams, but all things being equal, the Russian star can't compete with the five-time Wimbledon champion.
John Isner Remains America's Hope
American tennis on the men's side has been a disaster for years. John Isner is the only player ranked in the top 60; Sam Querrey is next at 67 and he lost a marathon match to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
By defeating Jarkko Nieminen in the second round, Isner has already put together his best showing at Wimbledon. He lost in this spot three of the last four years, with a first-round loss in 2012 thrown into the mix.
That doesn't begin to tell the story of how dire things are for men's tennis in this country. Carl Bialik of FiveThirtyEight.com has an even more alarming take on the situation:
Even with all the early exits, Isner has to win just one more match for this tournament to count as a good Grand Slam by recent low standards. He’d be the lone American man in the fourth round for a second consecutive major, after five consecutive Grand Slams without any American man to make it to the Round of 16. The U.S. hasn’t had a male quarterfinalist at a Grand Slam since Isner and Andy Roddick reached that stage at the 2011 U.S. Open, nor a semifinalist in the five years since Roddick lost in the final at Wimbledon.
Isner will take on No. 19 Feliciano Lopez in the third round. Their last grand slam matchup was at the 2012 Australian Open, with Lopez winning a five-set thriller in the third round.
No one expects Isner to walk out of Wimbledon with a championship, but it would be a step in the right direction to get one American male into the second week.
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