Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day 1: Hewitt loses marathon in his last Wimbledon

Lleyton Hewitt fell to Jarkko Nieminen in a 4-hour battle.
2013 photo by Paul Bauman
   Match of the day -- In the last Wimbledon for both players, Lleyton Hewitt "Packard" of Australia lost to Jarkko "LeRoy" Nieminen of Finland 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, 11-9 in 4 hours. Hewitt, the 2002 champion, turned 34 on Feb. 24. He will play doubles with 19-year-old countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis. Nieminen will celebrate his 34th birthday on July 23. 
   Upset of the day -- Latvian wild card Jelena Ostapenko, last year's junior girls singles champion, ousted No. 9 Carla "Bruni" Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-2, 6-0 in 52 minutes. 
   Notable -- Australian qualifier John Millman -- a quarterfinalist in Napa, semifinalist in Sacramento and runner-up in Tiburon on the three-week Northern California Challenger swing last fall -- surprised 19th-seeded Tommy "Holy" Robredo 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. It was the 26-year-old Millman's first singles main-draw victory in a Grand Slam tournament and his first main-draw match in a Slam other than the Australian Open. See my 2014 profile of Millman here.
   Men's seeded winners -- No. 1 Novak "It's No" Djokovic, No. 4 Stan "The Man" Wawrinka, No. 5 "Special" Kei Nishikori, No. 7 Milos "And Otis" Raonic, No. 9 Marin "County" Cilic, No. 11 Grigor "Mortis"  Dimitrov, No. 14 Kevin Anderson "Cooper," No. 16 David "Gerry" Goffin, No. 17 John "Wayne" Isner, No. 21 Richard "Don't Blow A" Gasquet, No. 24 Leonardo "Da Vinci" Mayer, No. 26 Nick "I'm Just" Kyrgios, No. 27 Bernard "A." Tomic, No. 32 Dominic "Home" Thiem.  
   Men's seeded losers -- No. 19 Robredo, No. 28 Pablo "Cruise" Cuevas.
   Women's seeded winners -- No. 1 Serena "Vanessa" Williams, No. 4 Maria "Shriver" Sharapova, No. 6 "I Love" Lucie Safarova, No. 7 Ana "Karenina" Ivanovic, No. 11 "North" Karolina Pliskova, No. 14 Andrea Petkovic "Park," No. 16 Venus "And Mars" Williams, No. 19 Sara "No Runs, No Hits, No" Errani, No. 22 Samantha "Stephens" Stosur, No. 23 Victoria "Station" Azarenka, No. 29 Irina-Camelia "Ain't Too Proud To" Begu, No. 30 Belinda "Johnny" Bencic. 
   Women's seeded losers -- No. 9 Navarro, No. 24 Flavia "Adriano" Pennetta, No. 27 Barbora "Streisand" Strycova.
   Stars and stripes -- U.S. women went 6-6 (including one all-American match), and the men went 3-1. Sloane "Ranger" Stephens and wild card Denis "The Menace" Kudla knocked off low seeds, and qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands "Of Time" eliminated French Open quarterfinalist Alison "Moving" Van Uytvanck.
   Alison "Take A" Riske almost pulled off a major upset, falling to No. 6 seed and French Open runner-up Safarova 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. Riske served for the match at 5-4 in the second set.
   Two young American women, Shelby "Ginger" Rogers and Madison "Avenue" Brengle, were shut out. Petkovic annihilated Rogers, 22, in 38 minutes, and Venus Williams drubbed Brengle, 25, in 41 minutes.
   Fast fact -- Tommy "White" Haas became the oldest winner of a men's singles match at Wimbledon since Jimmy "Carter" Connors was 38 in 1991. Haas, a 37-year-old German, beat Serbia's Dusan Lajovic, playing one day before his 25th birthday, 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
   Northern California connection -- Nicole "Kidman" Gibbs, a two-time NCAA singles champion from Stanford, lost to Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-3, 6-3. Gibbs, 22, made her Wimbledon main-draw debut.
   Quote -- Hewitt on Wimbledon: "For me, it's the home of tennis. I don't get the same feeling walking into any other grounds in the world -- no other tennis court, no other complex -- than I do here. I do get goosebumps walking into this place."
   Today's top matches (beginning at 5 a.m. PDT on ESPN) -- Centre Court: Petra "-Fied Forest" Kvitova (2) vs. Kiki "Dee" Bertens, Roger Federer "Express" (2) vs. Damir Dzumhur, Andy "Bill" Murray (3) vs. Mikhail "Gorbachev" Kukushkin.
   Court 1: "San" Rafael Nadal (10) vs. Thomaz "John" Bellucci, Simona "I Need" Halep (3) vs. Jana "Novotna" Cepelova, Tomas "Free As A" Berdych (6) vs. Jeremy "Don't Be" Chardy.