With the second round coming to an end at Wimbledon, we witnessed some amazing performances from many players, but also some astonishing losses from a few seeds. Here are the major stories of days three and four at Wimbledon.
Andy Murray d. Dustin Brown (6-3, 6-2, 6-2)
In his 2nd round match against tricky opponent Dustin Brown who is at his best on grass, Andy Murray made no mistake, winning convincingly in straight sets. During this match, Sir Andy moved well, stayed focused and did not fall into any sort of trap. With his current form and seeds Pouille and Wawrinka falling early in the tournament, you have to like Murray’s chances at reaching at least the semifinals this year.
Kevin Anderson d. Andreas Seppi (6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3)
In a collaboration with our friends at Tennis Pulse, my colleague Luca and I talked about Kevin Anderson’s chances to be a dark horse at Wimbledon this year. It turns out that Anderson’s deep run is becoming real and could even continue with Wawrinka’s loss in the 1st round. Throughout his first matches, Anderson looked very solid against fellow veterans (Verdasco and Seppi). In his 2nd round match against Seppi, Anderson did not face any break point, served 14 aces and won 58% of the points in the match, so he has to be very satisfied with his performance at this point of the tournament.
Marin Cilic d. Florian Mayer (7-6 (2), 6-4, 7-5)
In this match, Marin Cilic played an exquisite tiebreak in the 1st set and served 31 aces to Mayer’s 0. Even thought this win is no surprise to anybody, I insisted on adding this match to “the good” of the 2nd round, because Cilic really performed as a contender up to this point of the tournament. He beat successively Kohlschreiber and Mayer, two german grass-court specialists, without dropping a set. He moved well, served well and was focused in the most important parts of the matches, which has not always been the case throughout his career. Keep an eye on Marin!
Jerzy Janowicz d. Lucas Pouille (7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1)
Expectations were high at Wimbledon this year for Pouille, who won the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart a few weeks ago beating a few grass court specialists (Lopez, Kohlschreiber) en route to his 2nd title of the year. Unfortunately, he met an in-form Janowicz in the 2nd round, who played an aggressive game. Even if he played most of his 2017 season at the challenger level, Janowicz is still a former top-15 player who plays really well on grass, as you can see on this graph.
Source: Tennis Strange Forest Software
Even thought this is a though loss for Pouille, he should be able to regroup and be ready for a strong hard court season.
Dudi Sela d. John Isner (6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3)
Another slam, another deception for the likeable American John Isner. Historically, Isner has never performed at his highest level during Grand Slams, and this match was unfortunately no different. After leading two sets to one, Isner was unable to win a crucial tiebreak in the 4th set, losing the set on Sela’s first set point when serving at 5-6. In the 5th set, Isner converted 0/6 (0%) of his breakpoints, while Sela converted 1/1 (100%). Regrettably for John, he made a fatal unforced error at the net on the only breakpoint he faced in the deciding set and was not able to recover from it. The American usually plays well in the US Open Series tournaments in North America, so it will be interesting to see how he will bounce back from his disappointing Wimbledon.
Sebastian Ofner d. Jack Sock (6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3)
Everybody loves Jack Sock and wants him to succeed on the ATP tour. He’s funny, sweet and has a very interesting skill set when it comes to his tennis game. His forehand is super compact and impressively effective, his serve is very reliable with one of the best kicks on tour, and he also has a very good net game. However, to this point of his career, he has not been very consistent, losing many matches in his reach. At the beginning of the 2017 season, he won two titles in Auckland and Delray Beach, before seeing his level drop throughout the year. He just lost in the 1st round in Roland Garros against Vesely, and now lost here at Wimbledon against Challenger player Sebastian Ofner, who never cracked the top-200 before the tournament.
As Sock has never really been consistent and never reached the 4th round at Wimbledon, I would put this match into the “bad” category rather than the “ugly”, but I must admit that Sock’s play and energy really worried me today. I hope he can bounce back during the hard court season, because guys like Berdych, Pouille, Bautista Agut and Kyrgios could all definitely pass him in the rankings.
Ernests Gulbis d. Juan Martin Del Potro (6-4, 6-4, 7-3 (3))
In 2016, Del Potro came back from injury in a stunning fashion, beating Djokovic en route to a Silver Medal at Rio and Murray to win Argentina’s first ever Davis Cup. In 2017, we have not seen the Argentinean that much. First, Del Potro was not ready for the beginning of the season and skipped the Australian Open. Then, he missed some tournaments to heal minor injuries and for family related reasons. Before Wimbledon, the “Tower of Tandil” played a total of zero grass tournaments and headed into Wimbledon in an uncertain shape. As a big fan of Juan Martin’s game, I am really concerned by his performance against Gulbis today. Some might say that he has been very unlucky with draws since his comeback and they are totally right to say so, but he seemed very underwhelming in this match against Gulbis. Delpo was not moving very well and took doubtful decisions when unloading his huge forehand. Losing in straight sets against a guy ranked #589 is not an encouraging result for Delpo’s fans. In January, I projected Del Potro to be back in the top-10 or top-15, but this seems less likely at this point. I really hope he can come back stronger in the hard court season, but I really did not like today’s match against Gulbis.
Sorana Cirstea d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (4-6, 6-4 (4), ret.)
Even if this article focused on the gentlemen’s singles, I just cannot pass what happened during the women’s match opposing Sorana Cirstea to Bethanie Mattek-Sands. When coming at the net, Mattek-Sands did her split-step to prepare her forehand volley, but unfortunately, she slipped and got injured on the play. It appears that she was heavily injured, and we could hear her yell “Help me, help me”, begging for any kind of assistance she could get. Just an awful ending to her tournament. Let’s hope this injury does not compromise the rest of her career. Get well soon, Bethanie!
What About the Rest?
A lot of players were not covered in this article, simply because their matches did not showcase any particular surprise or history. To name a few, Nadal, Dimitrov, Thiem, Berdych, Djokovic, A. Zverev and Federer unsurprisingly all won their matches quite easily and should all reach the fourth round, making the second week very exciting! To give you an idea, here are a few potential 4th round matches that could be very interesting:
- Nadal (4) vs Muller (16)
- Nishikori (9) vs Cilic (7)
- Raonic (6) vs Zverev (10)
- Dimitrov (13) vs Federer (3)
- Thiem (8) vs Berdych (11)
I do not expect the Big 4 to lose before the semifinals, maybe with the exception of Nadal, who could have a very tough opponent in the quarterfinals in Marin Cilic. That would be an awesome quarterfinals match!
Until that, enjoy watching some of the best classic tennis at Wimbledon!