1. As Bernard Tomic has been slipping down the rankings for reasons related to his attitude and his health, another young Aussie, 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios, currently ranked No. 144, has begun to make a name for himself, today beating Richard Gasquet in five sets, and saving nine match points in the process. Unable to defend his points from last year’s good run at Wimbledon, Tomic will slip down to around No. 119, while Kyrgios will rise to around No. 120 with today’s win, and will pass Tomic in the rankings if he goes any further. Your move, Bernie.
Gasquet said Kyrgios could be Top 5 and win GS. That he was the future of the game. Via @romlef
— Carole Bouchard (@carole_bouchard) June 26, 2014
Up next for Kyrgios is another up-and-comer, Jiri Vesely, who beat Gael Monfils in a tough five-setter to reach the third round. That should be a fun match to watch.
2. I don’t know how I missed mini Mad Dog.
— Jurgen Melzer (@jojomelzer) June 25, 2014
3. I can’t believe how much drama, both real and manufactured, centered around Rafael Nadal’s first two matches against Martin Klizan and Lukas Rosol. With Nadal past these two overhyped early matches, will he round into form?
Speaking of overhyped matches, I’m not sure why such a fuss was made over Roger Federer’s second-round match against Gilles Muller. It’s Roger Federer and Gilles Muller. These days, I’m not sure what would constitute an easy draw for the top guys, judging from the reactions to these early round matches against Klizan, Rosol, and Muller. There is a reason these guys aren’t ranked higher.
4. Vera Zvonareva, now ranked No. 566, is into the third round of Wimbledon after a 6-4, 6-4 win over promising youngster Donna Vekic. This is the first time she’s won back-to-back matches since the 2012 Olympics, and her first win against a top 100 player since then. Her next match against World No. 72 Zarina Diyas is also very winnable, and reaching the fourth round of a slam would help lift her ranking from the abyss.
5. I really think the Wimbledon website could’ve found a more flattering photo of Madison Keys for her player profile page.
6. This excerpt from Serena’s presser is golden.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 26, 2014
7. This might be the quintessential Jo-Wilfried Tsonga picture.
1. It was not a good day for the French Brain today. It was overworked and way underpaid.
First, we had Richard Gasquet go up two sets on 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios before losing 3-6 6-7 6-4 7-5 10-8. This is, of course, after Richie seemed to find his form last week in Eastbourne.
Then there was Monfils, who looked like he could not care less when dropping the first two sets to Jiri Vesely, before Vesely’s level dropped and Monfils seemed to take the next two sets in spite of himself. However, the Frenchman couldn’t close the deal, falling 6-4 in the fifth.
As frustrating as it was to see two undeniably talented players mentally and physically get outclassed in their matches, it was great that Vesely and Kyrgios were able to take advantage. There has been much said about how the younger generation has left something to be desired, but these are two incredibly entertaining prospects who have a lot of fight in them, and it gives me hope for the future of the ATP.
Of course, I’m not done. Adrian Mannarino fell in straight sets to Tommy Robredo (a rough result on grass), while Tsonga came back at 9-9 in the fifth to defeat Querrey 14-12, and Alize Cornet won but not without being super Alize Cornet about the whole thing:
— Steph (@StephintheUS) June 26, 2014
2. I’m disappointed but not surprised to see Sam Querrey fall to Tsonga today late in the fifth set. The guy has an abysmal five-set record in his career (now 2-9). Plus, Querrey was fired up yesterday, but that’s the exception, not the norm. Usually, whether for good or for bad, he’s chill. He had no energy at all when the fifth set resumed today, and it all very quickly fell apart for him. Still, his game looks better than it has in a while. Dare I be hopeful for the U.S. Open Series?
The rest of the American men had bad days too; Jack Sock looked positively lost on court against Milos Raonic, and Denis Kudla was completely outclassed by Kei Nishikori. The lone exception was John Isner, who made this his best Wimbledon ever by taking out Jarkko Nieminen in straight sets, though there was a 19-17 first-set tiebreaker just for funsies.
The American women were on fire. Serena cruised through, expectedly, but she has company. Madison Keys took out Klara Koukalova in three and Alison Riske took care of Camila Giorgi, joining Venus and Lauren Davis in the third round.
Victoria Duval’s much anticipated (by me at least!) match against Belinda Bencic was postponed until tomorrow because of rain.
Still, with these results added to a World Cup advancement, not a bad day at all for #merica.
3. I get so sick of complaining about ESPN because I know I sound like a broken record, but there was a time in the middle of play today, with six intriguing live singles matches happening, that there was a full 20 minutes without a point of live tennis being shown.
I understand that there needs to be a time to go back to the studio and catch people up on what’s going on. Show some highlights. Let Chrissie hit her talking points. But get in and out. Twenty minutes is inexcusable.
I will, however, give kudos where kudos is due. During the fourth set of Nadal/Rosol, when
Nadal was up a break and seemed to be in control, ESPN went and showed us the thrilling end of Gasquet/Kyrgios. They are much better at bouncing around to matches than they used to be, and that’s not an easy thing to do. I just wish they’d keep the desk time to a minimum.
And seriously, somebody stop John McEnroe. This was RIDICULOUS, I had to rewind my DVR to make sure I had heard correctly.
John McEnroe said Federer's match against Paolo Lorenzi "doesn't count." Not often you hear such disrespectful words in tennis commentary.
— Kyler Watters (@KylerNotTyler) June 26, 2014
4. I’ll join the Vera Zvonareva cheering squad. Love her and am oh so happy to have her back.
5. “It was myself and a bunch of tanned Spaniards,” said Isner, with a laugh. “I don’t know how I fit in that equation, but it was very neat.”
Neat. I’ll say.
6. Some tweets of the day:
I would love Wimbledon to get rid of this 'gentlemen' and 'ladies' nonsense. To paraphrase Murray, 'Man and woman. Let's stick with that.'
— Hannah Wilks (@newballsplease) June 26, 2014
I'm determined to ask Rafa why he needs two towels. Ball kids flock around at each change of ends, each bearing a towel. A bit much
— Neil Harman (@NeilHarmanTimes) June 26, 2014
Thanks for all the towel responses. I'm wiping myself down even as we speak.
— Neil Harman (@NeilHarmanTimes) June 26, 2014
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) June 26, 2014
@SteveTignor Is it ever possible 4 John Isner 2 win a match in a straightforward manner? For goodness sake. Does he know the court is booked
— Craig Gabriel (@crosscourt1) June 26, 2014
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) June 26, 2014
7. God, I love this:
To underscore the point, Nara had this to say about her 1-hour-31-minute meeting with the older of the famed American Williams sisters: “It’s very special for me because I saw the Venus like when I was a child.”
English not being her first language, it might have been an affection of speech, but it nonetheless made the mention of Williams sound almost sacred, a treasure of the sport who said she remained determined to hang around until the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil for another shot at doubles gold.
8. I will never, ever be surprised if Rafael Nadal wins a match. Impressed, maybe, but never surprised. However, I also still wouldn’t be surprised if Nadal still lost in the first week. That low bounce is just not comfortable for his back or knees.