Wimbledon 2011: Most Intriguing Matchups for Day 3 at the Championships
As action got underway at the Wimbledon tournament, there were some very exciting matches during round one–which is almost over after being slowed by rain on the opening day.
Almost half of the matches on Monday's slate needed to be resheduled for Tuesday in an attempt to keep the tournament's agenda intact. A few of Tuesday's matches could not be completed before darkness fell. They will have to be squeezed in during Wednesday's "Order of Play."
There were a few surprising results in the opening round. Lleyton Hewitt, we were told, could barely walk. Yet, the Aussie managed to out hit and out think Kei Nishikori over four sets 6-1, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3.
Another man who was touted as being as good as dead on his feet was Fernando Gonzalez who rose and ran, upsetting the No. 22 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4. That was a shocker.
Marin Cilic continued his disappointing results, losing to country Ivan Ljubicic 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Cilic will, undoubtedly, fall out of the top 30.
Additionally, on the ladies side of the draw, Shahar Peer lost her opening round match as did the No. 15 seed Jelena Jankovic.
There will be more upsets and surprising results as the tournament progresses.
Day 3 promises some top-notch action with Nadal, no doubt, overcoming Ryan Sweeting and Andy Murray getting past Tobias Kamke of Germany.
Nothing is guaranteed, however, especially in the following 10 matches that promise some entertaining action on Wednesday at Wimbledon.
Juan Martin Del Potro ARG (24) V Oliver Rochus BEL
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Last year, as Juan Martin del Potro was attempting to come back from his long layoff after wrist surgery, he found himself across the net from Oliver Rochus on the hard courts in Bangkok in the second round.
The Argentine lost that encounter to Rochus 7-6, 6-4. It is the only time the two met.
Rochus, 30 years old and ranked No. 73, made it to the quarterfinals at the Queen’s Club losing to Andreas Seppi of Italy 2-6, 7-6, 3-6.
The Belgian had not gotten beyond the first round at the All England Club for the past two years. Making the second round therefore, is a real accomplishment as Rochus rallied past Kenny De Schepper of France 6-7, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in a match played on Tuesday after being rained out on Monday
Del Potro, former world No. 4, saw his ranking drop as low as 485. The Argentine, however, has worked himself back to a No. 21 ranking. His game is returning slowly.
He made it as far as the third round at the French Open, losing to Novak Djokovic. Del Potro also made the third round at the Queen’s Club, losing to Adrian Mannarino of France.
In each of his last three appearances, the Argentine has lost in the second round of Wimbledon.
But not this year.
Del Potro in 4.
Petra Kvitova CZE (8) V Anne Keothavong GBR
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Over the past year, Petra Kvitova has become accustomed to the grass.
At last year’s Wimbledon Championship, unseeded and unknown Petra Kvitova found herself in the semifinals where she lost to eventual champion Serena Williams 7-6, 6-2.
After that, the young Czech fell into a bit of a slump making everyone feel her inroad at Wimbledon was a fluke.
People are no longer looking at Kvitova as an anomaly. When Kvitova won the title in Madrid over the hottest player on tour, Victoria Azarenka , she marked her arrival in the top 10 and as a top contender.
The Czech took less than an hour to eliminate American Alexa Glatch 6-2, 6-1 from the Wimbledon tournament. Now, Kvitova will face Brit Anne Keothavong during the second round on Wednesday.
Keothavong advanced by defeating countrywoman Naomi Broady 6-2, 6-4 on Monday, insuring that one of the Brits would make it through to play another day.
Keothavong who was once the No. 1 British woman has suffered through numerous injuries and a dip in her form.
But the second round will probably be the extent of Keothavong’s advancement in the women’s draw.
Kvitova in straight sets.
Gilles Muller LUX V Milos Raonic CAN (31)
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Milos Raonic moved ever closer to a third round matchup with the No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal, who should handle American Ryan Sweeting with few problems.
The Canadian’s first order of business on Wednesday will be to take care of Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. The two men have never met on the tennis court.
Raonic advanced to the second round by dispatching Marc Gicquel of France in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 36 minutes. Muller also made it to the second round of the tournament by upending Tommy Haas 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3.
Haas was attempting to make a comeback after being out for an extended period after surgery.
Muller, age 28, ranked No. 92 in the world, once defeated Rafael Nadal in the second round on grass during the 2005 Wimbledon Championship.
Last year, Muller did not qualify and in 2009 the man from Luxembourg was dismissed in the first round.
Muller has gone as far as his talent allows.
Raonic in three.
Kimiko Date-Krumm JPN V Venus Williams Maria USA (23)
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Venus Williams showed no rust, winning in straight sets over No. 97 ranked Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan in her first-round match. Williams did, however, show a little skin wearing the latest addition to her ever-expanding avant garde tennis wardrobe.
Despite the fact that Williams cracked seven aces at speeds up to 118 mph, totaled 23 winners while compiling only five unforced errors, commentators were still discussing her attire. In the process, Williams totally derailed and overwhelmed Amanmuradova 6-3, 6-1 in their first-round match at the All England Club.
Williams will next face Kimiko Date-Krumm, the oldest woman in the draw.
Date-Krumm advanced to the second round by dispatching Brit Katie O’Brien 6-0, 7-5, making the lady from Japan the first player to advance to the second round.
Williams, 31, will face Date-Krumm at age 40. Hopefully, it will not be billed as a senior moment for either of these seasoned veterans.
Williams wins in three.
Robin Haase NED V Fernando Verdasco ESP (21)
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After all, Verdasco had crashed out of the French Open in the third round. In fact, the Spaniard seemed to be on a steady downward spiral. Most assumed Verdasco would be bounced from the tournament in the first round.
Verdasco, however, came alive in the third set and began to hit the ball better, with accuracy and depth. Playing level with Stepanek, Verdasco began to move ahead because his strengths were greater.
On Wednesday, Verdasco, once ranked in the men’s top 10, will meet world No. 58 Robin Haase of the the Netherlands, now 24 years of age. The two men have never played each other. Haase advanced to the second round by defeating Spaniard Pere Riba 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Haase has only played Wimbledon twice, advancing to the second round in 2010 where he lost to Rafael Nadal. Last year Verdasco was eliminated from the field in the first round of Wimbledon.
After his marathon match that ended on Tuesday, the question is, will Verdasco have enough left in the tank for Haase? If Verdasco could win in straight sets, then yes. But if Haase resists, then no.
Haase in four.
Elena Vesina RUS V Vera Zvonareva RUS (2)
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The No. 2 seed Vera Zvonareva advanced to the second round by defeating an aggressive Alison Riske of the United States 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.
Despite dropping the second set, the Russian held onto her nerves and came back to take the third set.
Her experience on the courts of the All England Club made the difference in the match, allowing the champion to advance while sending the youngster back home to ponder her loss.
Elena Vesnina of Russia had to get by Laura Pous-Tio of Spain 6-4, 6-3 in order to meet Zvonareva in the second round.
The two players have met six times with Zvonareva winning five. They have never before played on grass. The last time they met was on clay at Madrid with the No. 2 seed winning 0-6, 6-3, 6-3.
The only time Vesnina won was on hard courts in Sydney in 2010, when Zvonareva had to retire.
Last year Zvonareva made it to the finals of Wimbledon where she lost to Serena Williams 6-3, 6-2. The Russian would like to make it back to the finals again.
Zvonareva in three.
Richard Gasquet FRA (17) V Igor Kunitsyn RUS
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But on his way to the second round of Wimbledon, the Frenchman dispatched Santiago Giraldo of Columbia in straight sets 7-5, 6-3, 7-6.
It was a very competitive match but Gasquet prevailed in two hours and three minutes.
Now the Frenchman will face Igor Kunitsyn of Russia, currently ranked world No. 66.
The Russian advanced to the second round by defeating Dutchman Igor Sijsling 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Kunitsyn reached the semifinals at Eastbourne before losing to Andreas Seppi.
The Russian has played the Wimbledon tournament six times, advancing to the second round twice. The two men have never met on court.
In 2007, Gasquet advanced to the semifinals of Wimbledon, losing to Roger Federer in straight sets 5-7, 3-6, 4-6. That was his best year.
Gasquet in four.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS (14) V Nadia Petrova RUS
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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had a few tense moments in her first-round match, but eventually, she overcame Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 7-6.
It was a nervous start but it was enough to send her into the second round where she will face veteran Russian Nadia Petrova.
The two met once before on clay in Madrid in 2010 with Petrova winning 6-2, 7-5.
Petrova has all the tools necessary to win this match. She possesses a good serve, good volleys and a solid slice. For Petrova, it is all about her mindset because if she really wants to win the match, she can play high quality tennis.
Pavlyuchenkova on the other hand does not have a game that translates well on grass. Her big swings do not bring positive results get and she's not a great server.
Petrova has had a lousy season, but I think she wants this one.
Petrova in three
Andy Roddick USA V Victor Hanescu ROU
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Andy Roddick knows all about playing tennis on grass. The American has made the finals at the All England Club three times, each time dismissed by Roger Federer.
The Swiss, who has won this title six times, has proven to be a huge hurdle Roddick has not managed to sail over.
His greatest match against Federer took place in 2009 when Roddick extended the Swiss to five sets, losing 14-16 in the fifth set. Last year, Roddick was upset in the fourth round by Yen Hsun Lu of Taipei.
Roddick has a 3-0 winning record over his opponent Wednesday, Victor Hanescu. They met in Doha in 2009, in Rome in 2006, and in Paris on carpet in 2003. So far the Romanian has not managed to win a set against the American.
Hanescu, age 29, ranked world No. 63, had a memorable outing at the All England Club in 2010. He was playing German Daniel Brands in the third round in a match that would be extended to five sets with the score at 7-6(7), 7-6(3), 6-7(7), 3-6.
Hanescu was up two sets to love before Brands began a comeback. Leveling matters at two sets a piece, Hanescu complained about the fading light while at the same time he appeared to be suffering from a hip injury. The Romanian requested the match be suspended because of the failing light.
His request was denied. In response to that denial, Hanescu foot-faulted his way to a 0-2 deficit in the fifth set.
Some fans began to jeer at him. At that point Hanescu began to spit and swear at people in the stands. When the Romanian got a code violation for his behavior, Hanescu retired, down 0-3 down in the fifth, walking off the court.
There will not be five sets on Wednesday.
Roddick in three.
Iveta Benesova CZE V Victoria Azarenka BLR (4)
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The No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka advanced to the second round where she will meet Czech Iveta Benesova. They will play on Wednesday on Court No. 12.
Azarenka, after moving to No. 4 in the women’s rankings, finds herself at the top of her game. She won titles this year in Miami and Marbella. The lady from Belarus also made it to the quarterfinals of the 2011 French Open, where she lost to the eventual champion Li Na.
Azarenka had to withdraw in her match against Marion Bartoli in the Eastbourne quarterfinals, but so far it appears there are no lingering effects because Azarenka managed to get past Magdalena Rybarikova during the first round at Wimbledon.
Azarenka's opponent, Czech Iveta Benesova, finds herself currently ranked No.53 in the world. Benesova has been a moderately successful player, winning two WTA singles titles during her career. Her best result came at the 2011 Australian Open when the Czech reached the fourth round.
Benesova has not fared too well on the grass although she made it to the second round of Wimbledon in 2007 and 2009.
The two players met once before at 2008 U.S. Open with Azarenka winning 6-2, 6-3. Azarenka is definitely favored going into this match but you have to wonder about the extent of her injury and if it could slow her down.
Azarenka in three.