Wimbledon is officially into the business end of the tournament and as expected both the men’s and women’s side have interesting storylines. Here are the main three.
Rafa eliminated by Gilles Muller
In the past couple of years, it wouldn’t be shocking that Rafael Nadal lost in the fourth round. After all, Rafa has not been pass the fourth round since 2011. However, this year considering how dominant Rafa has looked, it is a bit surprising to see him lose. For three rounds, Rafa looked like a true contender to take home the Wimbledon trophy. He didn’t not drop a set and his opponent had difficulties winning games. But in the fourth round, Rafa encountered someone who is equally playing the best tennis of his career and he faced a player who loves playing on grass.
Giles Muller reached a semi in one grass court title and was a winner on another grass court tournament, leading up to Wimbledon. Muller is full of confidence and perhaps it was the confidence that allowed him to remain calm and come out victorious against Rafa in a five-set thrilling match.
After his loss, Rafa discussed his thoughts, he said “I lost in the fourth round. That’s not the result I was expecting. It’s true that I played some good matches, but the same time is true that I didn’t want to lose that match.”
Despite Rafa’s statements of disappointment and his acknowledgement of a “lost opportunity”, Rafa showed that he can still play on the grass. Though he wasn’t successful this year, he may very well come back next year, even stronger.
Wimbledon “favorites” on the women’s side lose early; Venus remains a contender
Petra Kvitová and Karolina Pliskova were first and second on the list of favorites to win Wimbledon, both lost in the second round. Kvitová lost in three sets to American Madison Brengle and Pliskova lost in three tight sets to Slovakian Magdaléna Rybáriková. Though Kvitová is a two-time Wimbledon champion and just won a grass tournament a few weeks ago, the lost should not be that surprising. Many were shocked that Petra came back this early after suffering an injury to hand after fighting off a burglar who invaded her home. So even though she lost early, her being on the court is by all considered a win.
Pliskova’s lost probably was the most shocking of the two. Though Pliskova had never been past the early rounds at Wimbledon, Pliskova has been consistent in her past three slams, making two semis and a final. She, also like Kvitová, won a warm up tournament. Karolina had the powerful serve and consistent powerful groundstrokes for the grass. Pliskova will undoubtedly consider this a blown chance for her winning a grand slam.
The player who has not been considered a heavy favorite (who ironically is also a five-time champion) is Venus Williams. Many wondered how Venus would play following that tragic car accident she was involved in, where an elderly passenger lost his life. After getting through a three-set match in the second round, Venus has shown that she believes in herself and her abilities and is now in her tenth semifinal. Using her powerful serve and equally powerful groundstrokes, Venus continues to show everyone that she is a force to be reckon with.
Murray, Djokovic, Federer all look strong
Though Nadal faltered, the rest of the big three look strong. Murray had a slight hiccup against the crafty, unpredictable Fabio Fognini, losing a set. But other than that Murray’s matches have been routine.
Djokovic and Federer have yet to lose a set and have both benefitted from retirements in the early rounds. Both players enter the business end of the tournament refreshed and motivated to take home the trophy.
Of the remaining big three, Federer has looked the best. Roger was supposed to be challenged in the fourth round by Bulgarian and clone, Grigor Dimitrov but Roger did not get that memo (Dimitrov is known as baby Fed because of the similarities he and Roger share in their playing style and techniques) Roger won the match handily in straight sets. But it only gets tougher for Federer as the tournament progresses.
The remaining days at Wimbledon will be intriguing to see. With Venus looking to recapture the Wimbledon trophy at age 37 and Federer looking to do the same, with the Murray and Djokovic still in the way, fans are in for a treat. Therefore, as always, all must stay tuned!