Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 7/1/12
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First of all, we have to give major credit to Yaroslava Shvedova. Shvedova, who really caught a lot of attention with her great French Open run, completed the first “golden set” in women’s tennis in the Open Era against Sara Errani in her third-round match. She won all 24 points to take the first set 6-0, which is quite a feat.

Roger Federer survived quite a scare in his third-round match at Wimbledon. He played uninspired tennis for most of the match and faced an opponent who didn’t bow to the occasion. Like Lukas Rosol against Nadal last round, Julien Benneteau really just outplayed Federer. He won a lot of baseline exchanges and didn’t do it by blasting the ball past Federer, which should tell us just how far from his best Federer played this match.

In the end, though, fatigue and apparent cramping caught up to the Frenchman after he could not win the fourth-set tiebreak. He squandered a two sets to none lead against Federer, though if Federer was playing his best he wouldn’t have been in this match at all. Still, though, we cannot take away from the guts and mental fortitude that Benneteau showed. Federer gets off until Monday before his next match, but he really needs to step things up if he doesn’t want to be going home early.

Top Players Roundup:

Novak Djokovic started out play a little uninspired and off form as well, squandering break chances in nearly every game in the first set before finally losing it to Radek Stepanek. He rebounded well though, and was never in any danger after that. Even as the defending champion, he still does not look wholly comfortable on grass yet. Andy Murray got a decent fight from Marcos Baghdatis, but was just too solid in the end and came through in four. He seems to be handling the pressure of being the favorite in his half of the draw pretty well, actually.

Who Looked Good:

1. Viktor Troicki- Okay, so beating Juan Monaco on grass doesn’t mean much, even if it was in straight sets. And yes, I’m still not happy with him over his incident with the ballkid at the French Open last year. But Troicki has done very well to get this far. He has had quite a poor season but is showing some good form now. And while it’s probably not good enough to take Djokovic to five sets (like at the 2010 US Open), it shows some promise for his immediate future and deserves a mention here.

2. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga- Tsonga has been absolutely untouchable on serve recently. He has not been broken on grass yet this year. He has held serve over 70 straight times overall. When he plays like this, he really is almost impossible to beat. His ground game has also been impressive, though he is not quite at his absolute best in that regard. Still, if he can never be broken then there really is no way to beat him. We will see what Mardy Fish, who has one of the best returns in the game, can do against Tsonga’s current serve.

3. Mardy Fish- Fish hadn’t played in months. He discovered a heart condition and was worried about his life, let alone his tennis career. Wimbledon was his first tournament back since Houston in early April and he really luckily got an easy draw. Still, he has taken advantage of that and his straight-sets victory over David Goffin was pretty impressive. He got three rounds to play himself into shape and now we will see what kind of form he really is against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Who Looked Bad:

1. Nicolas Almagro- Yes, this was a match he was expected to lose. And sometimes there is no shame in being beaten in straight sets by Gasquet on grass. But this was not a great match by Gasquet, though he did play well. Almagro hit far too many errors and made some poor decisions. The scoreline was much closer than the match was, and Almagro at his best definitely could have made it much, much closer.

2. Andy Roddick- Roddick just doesn’t get it. His forehand is still one of the biggest weapons in tennis. He just refuses to use it. He showed us in Miami what he can do when he unleashes it. And he can definitely beat players like Ferrer on grass if he does. And if he can get to the later rounds of Wimbledon, who knows what can happen? But he just refuses to do it. I have no idea why, but it’s frustrating as a Roddick fan, and a tennis fan in general, to watch. I just don’t get it. It’s like he refuses to do what is necessary to win. As such a great competitor, I don’t know how Roddick can do that.

Match of the Round:

One again, the best match was obviously Federer against Benneteau (though Cilic/Querrey was pretty close). But since we talked about that in the opening, I’m going to give mention to Malisse over Verdasco here. The match was not a great match, in terms of level of tennis. There were too many errors and poor play by both palyers at times. But this was one of the most emotional tennis matches I have seen in a long time. Malisse, who was depressed with his play and almost retired two months ago, actually cried on court after grinding out the tough, emotional victory in the fifth set. Malisse dug deep and it was very touching to see him care so much for such a tough win. He faces Federer next, and their recent matches have been quite lopsided in favor of the Swiss. Hopefully Malisse will have enough self-confidence and belief to make a match out of this, especially considering Federer’s poor performance this round.

What to Watch in Round 4:

The Wimbledon fourth round, held on Manic Monday (or Magic Monday or whatever you want to call it) is by far the greatest day in all of tennis. All 8 of each of the men’s and women’s fourth round matches are held in a single day. That being said, none of the men’s matches in the top half of the bracket look exciting to me at all. Maybe Malisse/Federer has potential if Malisse can play inspired tennis, but he hasn’t played well against Federer in a decade. Nope, if you want matches with great potential, you have to head towards the bottom half of the draw.

In that half, David Ferrer will meet Juan Martin Del Potro. Delpo has to be the favorite, but Ferrer is playing the best he’s ever played on grass in his career. Mardy Fish is starting to play well again, but his lack of match experience will probably cost him against Tsonga. Tsonga has not been broken on grass yet this year but Fish has one of the best returns. This rematch of a very good fourth-round match at last year’s US Open should also be high quality, especially as that US Open match was played in heavy wind.

Marin Cilic against Andy Murray also has potential if Cilic can stay strong on serve and play some of his best tennis. He hasn’t shown his top level in almost 2-and-a-half years, but if he does he’ll be tough to deal with. And, of course, we can’t forget two of the most surprising players left in this field of 16: Philipp Kohlschreiber was not intimidated by Lukas Rosol and made it to the fourth round while Brian Baker continues his amazing comeback run. Baker is can’t-miss tennis right now and a quarterfinal for him here would only increase his confidence and chances at future Slams.


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