It's funny to look at the trajectory of this year's Wimbledon event. The first week started in typical fashion, with the seeded players taking care of business and little drama. Then the foundation cracks started to show, starting with Serena Williams' loss in the third round.
Now, as we are immersed in the second week of action from the All England Club, the drama has been ratcheted up to 10. The gentlemen's draw looked like it would play out as expected until Rafael Nadal lost on, and the ladies' draw has taken on a whole new shape with results from Tuesday.
The good news is there's no shortage of things to discuss as we head into the quarterfinal rounds on Wednesday. We should expect nothing more from the biggest event of the year, yet it's still amazing to look at how the brackets have played out.
|Nick Kyrgios def. No. 2 Rafael Nadal||7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3|
|No. 4 Roger Federer def. No. 23 Tommy Robredo||6-1, 6-4, 6-4|
|No. 5 Stan Wawrinka def. No. 19 Feliciano Lopez||7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (9-7), 6-3|
|No. 8 Milos Raonic def. No. 10 Kei Nishikori||4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3|
|No. 3 Simona Halep def. Zarina Diyas||6-3, 6-0|
|No. 9 Angelique Kerber def. No. 5 Maria Sharapova||7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-4|
|No. 6 Petra Kvitova def. Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova||6-1, 7-5|
|No. 19 Sabine Lisicki def. Yaroslava Shvedova||6-3, 3-6, 6-4|
|No. 23 Lucie Safarova def. No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova||6-3, 6-1|
Full Day 8 results, including doubles action, can be found via Wimbledon.com by clicking here.
Rafael Nadal Trips on Grass Again
Nadal's streak of losing before the quarterfinals at Wimbledon was extended to three years following a shocking defeat at the hands of 19-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios in four sets.
This wasn't a fluke win either; it was a destruction of the No. 1 player in the world, as you can see from the match stats, courtesy of Wimbledon's official Twitter account:
The good vibes don't stop there, as Kyrgios hit what's probably going to be the signature shot of this tournament:
Watch the casualty of that shot again, then realize we are talking about a teenager going against a 14-time Grand Slam winner on the biggest stage tennis has to offer. It's safe to say Kyrgios has a bright future ahead of him.
As for Nadal, he's been flirting with disaster virtually all tournament. He lost the first set in all four of his matches and didn't dominate a single opponent. Even his last three sets against Mikhail Kukushkin, which Rafa won 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, didn't do justice to how well the Russian looked.
Grass has never been Nadal's favorite surface, so expecting a championship run this year seemed like a pipe dream. Who would have guessed that the journey would end in this fashion, though?
Roger Federer Owns Wimbledon
It's fascinating to see the mirrors of Nadal and Roger Federer depending on the surface they are playing on. For instance, at the 2014 French Open, Nadal cruised to a title for the ninth time in 10 years. Federer tripped in the fourth round against Ernests Gulbis.
Put Federer on the grass at Wimbledon, and he's looked unstoppable. The 32-year-old has yet to drop a set through four matches, including a stellar showing against Tommy Robredo on Tuesday.
Despite the win and performance thus far, Federer sounds like someone who is ready to end a two-year Grand Slam drought. He told reporters after the Robredo match that he feels as good now as he ever has:
I was able to start off strong and I kept up momentum. I’m serving well, moving well, returning all right, and physically I am in tip-top shape – all the things are happening for me to do well. I feel my game is right there. Things are exactly where I want them to be. Meeting Stan in the quarter-finals will be amazing.
No one has been better than Federer on grass at the All England Club. He's faced adversity in recent years, as it appeared the field was catching him, but so far all we've seen is the old FedEx who could run through anyone at any given time.
It will take a special effort to knock off Federer. The one man who knows that better than most is Federer's next opponent, Stan Wawrinka, who is a fellow Swiss countryman and will face the seven-time Wimbledon champion in the quarterfinals.
The Ladies' Draw Is Wide Open
After Williams' loss to Alize Cornet last week, Maria Sharapova seemed poised to capture her second Wimbledon title 10 years after making her mark on the sport. She hadn't dropped a set in three matches and lost a total of seven games in the process.
Angelique Kerber couldn't have cared less about what Sharapova did in the first three rounds. She made a statement right out of the gate by winning the first set and closed the match in dramatic fashion on her seventh match point:
To her credit, Sharapova didn't make any excuses after it was over. She told reporters that nothing is assured regardless of how you are playing before a tournament:
Looking at the ladies' bracket now, four of the top five seeds are out (Williams, Li Na, Agnieszka Radwanska, Sharapova). The highest remaining seed is No. 3 Simona Halep, who has looked impressive by dropping just one set.
However, the 22-year-old has yet to be challenged in a match having not played a ranked opponent until this point.
Kerber has had success at Wimbledon before, playing in the semifinals in 2012, but this looks like her best chance to complete the breakthrough.
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