Qualifier Oudin Ousts J. J., Lisicki Downs Kuznetsova
June 27, 2009 -- The hottest temperatures at Wimbledon this year wrested the hottest upsets as the formally named Graveyard Court, the new Court 3, gave birth to an American tennis star Melanie Oudin who defeated the #6 seed Jelena Jankovic 67 (8) 75 62, in one of two big upsets of the championships so far and the biggest match win for the petite 17 year old from Georgia.
In the other shocker of the day, unseeded Sabine Lisicki defeated the French Open Champion, and #5 seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova 62 75. Kuznetsova is the highest seed on the women's side to lose at The Championships Wimbledon this year.
From the beginning of her encounter with Miss Oudin, Miss Jankovic acted out of sorts, not an unusual stance for a tennis star that has been called a 'Drama Queen' by more than one observer. On the other side of the net, Melanie Oudin focused on rearranging her strings between points, on changeovers, and during a thirteen-minute medical timeout called by Jankovic after she won a tight first-set tiebreak.
"It was very warm out there," Jankovic began. "After the first set, I felt really dizzy, and I thought that I was just gonna end up in the hospital. I started to shake. I was losing my consciousness. I was feeling quite weak."
Oudin's concentration and resilient attitude helped her overcome several disappointments, especially the time she blew a five set points in the first.
"I had so many chances," Oudin began. "So, you know, after that first set I was right there with her, so all I had to do was keep going, keep fighting, and eventually it pulled through in the end."
In the second set, Oudin pulled off a perfect drop shot, after a long rally with her determined opponent. This burst of courage and skill drew her even with Jankovic at 5-games all. It was the last game Miss Jankovic won, as Oudin went on to close the set 75.
Jankovic called the trainer once again, this time for a problem with her left foot. It didn't matter what part of her body was aching, she was out of the match before the third set started.
Oudin remained on top of her game, though. She continued her steadfast assault -- a mixture of enthusiasm and fierce competitive nature -- gaining a double break in the third set when she fired off a down-the-line backhand winner. The usually spry and speedy Jankovic slumped, flat-footed and miserable.
The loss for Miss Jankovic is another on a dismal list for the year. She has not beaten one top-ten player. On the other very bright side, Miss Oudin's victory was her first defeat of a top-ten player in her first-ever Wimbledon. That's impressive, especially being currently ranked #120.
"I just went out there today and I did my best," Oudin said. "It ended up being good enough today, so I'm thrilled."
This was Oudin's sixth match of the championships -- three qualifying rounds and three in the main draw. Her goal coming in was to get through qualification, one match at a time. She also didn't seem to be enamored by her opponent, telling herself that she only controlled her play and not her opponent's. Simple logic, well executed.
In her press conference Miss Jankovic agreed that Oudin ran down a lot of balls, but also said, "She can play if you let her play. But she cannot hurt you with anything. She doesn't have any weapons, from what I've seen."
As Miss Jankovic left Court 3, tears formed in her eyes.
Sabine Lisicki had tears in her eyes, too, the moment she realized she'd upended the #5 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova. The German's win was the biggest of her young career, having only won the Tier 1 Family Circle Cup this spring and never having won a match on grass until here this year.
"I just kept fighting. I missed some opportunities at 5-4 [in second set], but I managed to serve well at 5-all to go up to 6-5 and just fought to finish up the match," Lisicki said.
Evident on the clay of Charleston, as on the grass of Wimbledon, was Lisicki's big serve, multi-dimensional ground game, and strategic sense. She also used a crafty two-handed drop shot to her advantage.
Throughout the match, though, the French Open Champion Kuznetsova played inconsistently and struggled on serve, Lisicki winning 80% of her first service points compared to 56% for Kuznetsova. She didn't play big points well, either, losing the first set on a double fault.
Miss Lisicki, who is 19 year old, is scheduled to play Caroline Wozniacki, another nineteen-year-old, in the round of sixteen on Monday. Wozniacki is the woman Lisicki defeated to win the Family Circle Cup.
"I'm looking forward to the match," Lisicki began. "She fought her way to the top 10 and is playing well. She won Eastbourne, too, so I think she can play on grass. But, I'm pretty young, too. I'm climbing up the rankings. I'm happy about the way I'm playing here right now."
Lleyton Hewitt continued his run with a win today over Phillipp Petzchner 75 76 (3) 63. Hewitt's first serve percentage was below 50%, but his winners to unforced errors ratio was a very positive 32 to 18. He mixed up his tactics, as well, as the flashy German Petzchner served and volleyed with success over much of the match. However, in the second set tiebreak Petzchner lost crucial points and confidence, opening the door for the 2002 Wimbledon champion to win the third set with one break.
"I was fortunate," Hewitt began. "I wasn't quite able to break halfway through the first set, and then I was able to get the break the end of the first set to go up 7-5. Played a great tiebreak, too. That was the key to the match in the end to go up two sets to love."
Andy Roddick advanced to his fifth round of sixteen Wimbledon, punctuating the last point of the match over Jurgen Melzer with an ace, his 33rd of the match that he won 76 (2) 76 (2) 46 63.
The other 'Andy,' the prevailing sweetheart of every British citizen, Andy Murray, defeated a sullen Victor Troicki 62 63 64, in little over an hour and a half. Troicki had one break chance for the match, which he couldn't convert; whereas Murray converted 4 for 8. However, Mr. Murray's 17 aces and +20 differential of winners from unforced errors, plus his capable all-court game, made the definitive difference in this match.
The #3 seed Murray will play Stanislas Wawrinka in the round of sixteen. They played five times in 2008, an extraordinarily high number of encounters. Four of these matches were played on hard courts, with the one on clay won by Wawrinka -- the ATP Masters Series in Rome.
Based on statistics, Murray's chances of making his way to the quarterfinals seems assured especially with England behind the young Scot. But Murray will have to be a bit more aggressive against Wawrinka who has a solid ground game, dangerous serve, and formidable backhand side off of which he can hit miraculous winners. It will interesting to see whose backhand will win out because Andy Murray's backhand is his strongest side, too.
The #10 seed Fernando Gonzalez was annoyed at himself this afternoon, smashing one Babolat racquet after losing the second set to a resurging Juan Carlos Ferrero. The match went on for another three sets. At the stroke of three hours into the competition, Fernando Gonzalez doubled faulted sending his opponent into the round of sixteen 46 75 64 46 64.
These highly entertaining players seemed to have equal support from a packed Court 1. The British fans love the American wave and on several occasions held up play while it continued round and round the stadium.
Gonzalez and Ferrero have never been farther than the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, Gonzalez in 2005 and Ferrero in 2007. Before today, their match record was 3 and 3. The confidence Ferrero gained from this win could be enough for him to upset Gilles Simon, his next opponent. A lot will depend on how well he recovers from today's lengthy and physical match.
Earlier Columns from this Event:
June 26, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: As The Draw Turns
June 25, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Hewitt Takes Charge as Murray Rolls
June 24, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Young and Old Compete at Wimbledon
June 23, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Sunny Wimbledon
June 22, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Wimbledon... The Perfect Grand Slam