1. Fate Can Be Cruel
As the full slate was under play today, the seeds started to fall. Ana Konjuh was poised to join the giant killing brigade, as she had Aga Radwanska on the ropes, down 3-5 in the final set. Konjuh lost two match points, but had a third one at 4-5, where a lucky net cord denied her the third one, and Radwanska managed to pull even. But it was at 7-7, when Konjuh rushed towards the net, and stepped on the ball due to her forward momentum, painfully wrenching her ankle, and compromising her movement for the rest of the match — which Radwanska won handily.
Just as we were relieved that the apparent curse of recent first-time Grand Slam champs seemed to have skipped Garbine Muguruza, out came giant killer (and qualifier) Jana Cepelova, who previously defeated Simona Halep at last year’s Wimbledon, and Serena Williams the year before in Charleston. Cepelova clearly enjoys the big stages, but it was surprising to see the Spaniard out in two relatively quick sets — 6-3, 6-2. There’s no doubt Muguruza can play on grass — she made the final a year ago in impressive style, but it goes to show that the feats of consistency that we’ve become accustomed to on both the WTA and ATP tours are much harder than they look.
3. Fate Takes Time, Part 2
Perhaps it was too much to expect Dominic Thiem to play every tournament under the sun and make a strong run at Wimbledon. Or perhaps he just got unlucky with his draw. After a good showing against Florian Mayer in the first round (yesterday), recent Djokovic-slayer Jiri Vesely brought down the young Austrian in three tiebreak sets. Thiem is young enough that it’s hard to imagine that he was physically compromised by playing so much tennis, but even the most precocious talent can get mentally overwhelmed by that much competition. And, Vesely is a solid player who can capitalize on an off day. But, both youth and tennis can be remarkably forgiving of an off day — there’s always another tournament to play next week (not that you should, Dom, some rest would be “mega” right about now).
Lots of coverage of Gilles Simon’s threats to sue Wimbledon when play wasn’t stopped during a light drizzle, in a match that eventually was won by Grigor Dimitrov. I wouldn’t advise litigation to anyone, and Simon’s reaction amused some, but he has a point. While there’s never a point where everyone will be happy with weather decisions, we’ve seen time and time again that different chair umpires have different ideas about what constitutes safe playing conditions, so that matches on adjacent courts will be stopped at different times.
There are competing agendas here — the tournament needs to get matches completed, which also serves the needs of ticketholders and TV viewers, but players obviously don’t want to play when conditions are dangerous. And, the players should push for greater uniformity and standards they can live with. But, Gilles, don’t litigate, unionize! And don’t forget to add Hawkeye and roofs to your demands!