Thursday, June 27, 2013

Staggering Seismic Jolt and Ensuing Tsunami stun Wimbledon in UK


In what was without question one of the most chaotic days in professional tennis history, yesterday at Wimbledon in London there was more carnage and casualties than at any time since King Henry VIII put a revolving door on the prison in the Tower of London and began beheading wives and opponents.
In a single day at the revered Championship at Wimbledon saw seven former world number one seeded players go down in defeat and seven other tennis stars go down with injuries and withdraw.  Never have such a staggering seismic jolt and ensuing tsunami reached so far inland as what happened in a single day in jolly old England.

June 26 is a day of infamy in the UK as it was the same day the Beatles released their new album "A Hard Days Night" 49 years ago and the same day UK subject Elizabeth Taylor got her  fifth divorce from fellow UK subject Richard Burton 39 years ago.  Here in the colonies it was the day Elvis Presley performed his final concert in 1977.

Following are quotes from a number of stunned tennis reporters on the day of June 26 when darkness descended on the 2013 Wimbledon Championships.
By Martyn Herman
Reuters News Service
LONDON (Reuters) - Wimbledon king Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova endured jolting second-round losses to opponents outside the world top 100 in a freakishly dramatic 'Wednesday Wipeout' that saw seven players withdraw injured and the draw shredded.
Second seed Victoria Azarenka, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and even Steve Darcis, man-of-the-moment after his opening day victory over Spaniard Rafa Nadal, were among the casualties as the medical bulletins piled up.
With title contenders dropping like flies, some before even striking a ball in anger, home favorite Andy Murray must be licking his lips after avoiding the scrapheap with an incident-free second round win over Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun.
By Douglas Robson USA Today SportsWed Jun 26, 2013 4:58 PM
WIMBLEDON, EnglandWimbledon went wobbly on Wednesday.

It started with a rash of withdrawals. It ended with a rash of upsets. By the time it was over, it felt like the tournament had slipped off its axis.

"The whole day ... has been bizarre," said the USA's Sloane Stephens, who survived and advfanced. "I don't know what's going on."

All told, it produced one of the most extraordinary days in Wimbledon history.

Twelve seeds fell, including seven former No. 1s — none more shocking than defending champion Roger Federer.

Playing last on Centre Court, the seven-time Wimbledon winner lost in the second round to 116th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), snapping his run of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals that began here in 2004.

It was his worst defeat at a major since losing to No. 154 Mario Ancic in Wimbledon's first round in 2002, and the earliest loss for a defending champion since Lleyton Hewitt exited in the first round to Ivo Karlovic the same year.

"It's always a disappointment losing any match around the world, and particularly here," Federer said.

Federer had plenty of company. No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, No. 3 Maria Sharapova, No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 12 Ana Ivanovic joined him by failing to reach the third round.

The men lost No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 10 Marin Cilic and No. 18 John Isner, plus Hewitt. Together, players with a combined 26 major singles titles were sent packing.

Perhaps it was an omen when Isner, the top-seeded American, pulled up lame three points into the day's opening slate of matches. The nearly 6-10 player felt a sharp pain in his knee when he came down on his serve against Adrian Mannarino. A game later at 1-1, he was forced to quit.

"I just landed and something happened," added Isner, who speculated it might be a tendon tear. "Severe pain. I mean, it hurt."

Three hours into the day, five players had retired mid-match or pulled out, including Azarenka (bone bruise), Cilic (left knee), 2006 quarterfinalist Radek Stepanek (left hamstring) and Steve Darcis (right shoulder), who upset Rafael Nadal in the first round.

They were joined by two-time Wimbledon semifinalist Tsonga, who threw in the towel because of a troublesome knee trailing Ernests Gulbis trailing 6-3, 3-6, 3-6.

"I tried, but no chance for me to beat a guy like this without my legs," said Tsonga, who was the seventh player to retire — the highest number on a single day at a Grand Slam event in Open era history, according to the International Tennis Federation.

AP - Associated Press
updated 4:55 p.m. ET June 26, 2013
LONDON - Seven-time champion Roger Federer was stunned by 116th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round of Wimbledon on Wednesday, his earliest loss in a Grand Slam tournament in 10 years.
The 27-year-old Ukrainian outplayed Federer on Centre Court, serving and volleying his way to a 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5) victory that stands out as one of the biggest upsets in Grand Slam history.
"Magic," Stakhovsky said. "I couldn't play any better today."
The result capped a chaotic day at Wimbledon when seven players were forced out by injuries, and former champion Maria Sharapova fell in the second round to a qualifier.
Federer's loss ended his record streak of reaching at least the quarterfinals at 36 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, a run that began at Wimbledon in 2004, shortly after a third-round exit at that year's French Open.
The owner of a record 17 major championships, Federer hadn't been beaten in the second round or earlier since a first-round defeat at the 2003 French Open.
Federer's shocking defeat was his earliest at the All England Club since a first-round loss in 2002 to No. 154-ranked Mario Ancic. Stakhovsky is the lowest-ranked player to beat Federer at any event since then.
Wednesday's defeat came on the same grass court Federer has made his own for nearly a decade.
The International Tennis Federation said the seven players forced out is believed to be the most in one day at any Grand Slam event in the 45 years of the Open era.
"I would say (it's a) very black day," Cilic said of the spate of injury withdrawals. "The other days, other weeks, there were no pullouts. Everything just happened today."
2013 Wimbledon: Stunning Day 3 ends with biggest surprise of all
By Bill Connelly on Jun 26 2013, 3:41p
SB Nation

Seven former No. 1s fell at Wimbledon on Wednesday, one of the most ridiculous, destructive days at a slam in tennis' long history. Victoria Azarenka couldn't go at all. Caroline Wozniacki slipped and fell, then fell again. Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic were blown off the court. Lleyton Hewitt was outhustled and outhit. Maria Sharapova slipped repeatedly, tweaked her hip, then was taken down by an opponent who wouldn't buckle.

Of those six, only Sharapova was a true surprise. We could at least envision those losses taking place.

But how in the world were we supposed to see Roger Federer's loss coming? Federer had made 36 consecutive slam quarterfinals, pulling rabbits out of his hat on multiple occasions (including at Wimbledon last year, when he fell two sets behind Julien Benneteau in the third round), but he had no answer for the serve-and-volley game of Sergiy Stakhovsky. The No. 116 player in the world, a lanky 27-year old from Kiev, Ukraine, Stakhovsky ended one of the more incredible streaks in sports with a 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-6 win over the seven-time Wimbledon champion. Federer served well and showed some fire, but his return game has slowly disintegrated over the last couple of years, and Stakhovsky took full advantage. With a game straight out of 1986, Stakhovsky frustrated and eventually defeated the all-time slams leader.

The last time Federer lost before the third round of a slam was at the 2003 French Open. He lost two tiebreakers and was swept by Luis Horna in the first round and responded with his first of 17 slam titles. Wimbledon was the most likely place for Federer to pick up an 18th, and that opportunity is now gone. We always rush to proclaim a once-amazing athlete done!, over!, but while Federer probably has quite a bit of elite tennis left in him, he probably doesn't have as much. We've assumed his mortality for a few years now, and today we saw proof that it exists.

The carnage of this incredible Wednesday at Wimbledon will be felt for the rest of the fortnight. Azarenka and Sharapova were easily the two players with the best shot of preventing Serena Williams from winning her sixth Wimbledon title, even if their odds weren't great. In all, seven of the top-13 women's seeds failed to reach the third round, and we're only halfway through the second round.

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