On the seventh day, they rest. As the players get a break on the traditional middle Sunday, it gives a moment to reflect on what has occured to this point at Wimbledon 2014. Some things have gone to form this fortnight, but some have not. I’ll start off with my most outstanding players of the first week for both the men and women.
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER-MEN
1R: d. Paolo Lorenzi, 6-1 6-1 6-3
2R: d. Gilles Müller, 6-3 7-5 6-3
3R: Santiago Giraldo, 6-3 6-1 6-3
The 17-time Major winner has long said there are more Majors in him. He’s certainly looking like that through the first 3 rounds. His serve has been nothing short of devastating, not only having not been broken but difficult to even get back in play with any power or depth. 25 aces versus 1 double fault against Gilles Muller? That’s insane. Obviously, the road gets tougher for all the players in the draw heading into the second week. But mission accomplished for the 32-year old 7-time Wimbledon Men’s Singles champion. Get on the court and off as quickly as possible and conserve energy for what lies ahead.
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER-WOMEN
1R: d. Andrea Havláčková, 6-3 6-0
2R: d. Mona Barthel, 6-2 6-0
3R: d. Venus Williams, 5-7 7-6 (2) 7-5
This was a razor thin call. I had to think about this pick. Certainly, the odds-on favorite to win is Maria Sharapova, and she has been a wrecking machine so far. But with both Petra Kvitova and Masha playing exceptional tennis, the tiebreak for me was Kvitova’s competition. Sure, she was pushed to three sets by Venus Williams while Sharapova hasn’t come close to losing a set or even sniffing the possibility of losing a set. However, Masha also hasn’t faced an opponent the caliber of Venus playing at a very high level. In Petra’s first two rounds, playing opponents slightly better than who Sharapova played, Kvitova was just as dominant. Against a motivated and inspired Venus, Petra reminded everybody what she’s capable of when she has her game rolling.
ANDREY KUZNETSOV d. David Ferrer, 6-7 (5) 6-0 3-6 6-3 6-2 (second round)
Maybe Andrey Kuznetsov will one day challenge for a Wimbledon title. He’s still young at 23, still finding his footing. And he did win the Junior Boys title in 2009. However, taking out David Ferrer in the second round is a monumental shocker based on where each player is at this moment. In fact, Andrey didn’t stick around long, losing his next match after upsetting David. While I don’t think anybody really though Ferrer would win the title here, he was coming off back to back quarterfinal appearances at Wimbledon. He also had not failed to reach at least the quarters in any Major since 2011. Until now.
ALIZÉ CORNET d. Serena Williams, 1-6 6-3 6-4 (third round)
Is it still an upset when you defeat the same player for the second straight time? It is when that player is Serena Williams, the occasion is Wimbledon and you’re sitting outside of the top 20 like Alizé Cornet. Things looked especially bleak for the Frenchwoman after being flattened 6-1 in the first set. The aroma of revenge was in the air. Serena seemed set to right the wrong of her loss to Cornet in Dubai. But Alizé bounced back to show it was wrong to assume things didn’t go right in Dubai, taking control of the match and sending Serena tumbling out of the singles draw early for the third straight Major.
QUIETLY MOVING THROUGH-MEN
1R: d. Daniel Smethurst, 7-5 6-3 6-4
2R: d. Jarkko Nieminen, 7-6 (17) 7-6 (3) 7-5
When you can serve like John Isner, you have a chance on grass. After an epic 19-17 tiebreak in the first set of his second round match against Jarkko Nieminen, it’s difficult to say Isner is quietly moving through. Still, I don’t think he’s getting much attention outside of diehard American fans. A lot will be shown in how he performs against his third round opponent, Feliciano López. With John, it all about his health and his serve. If those two things hold up, he will be a tough out. He’ll need to be sharp, as López comes in with high confidence.
QUIETLY MOVING THROUGH-WOMEN
1R: d. Shahar Peer, 6-3 6-0
2R: d. Naomi Broady, 6-3 6-2
3R: d. Ana Konjuh, 6-3 6-0
Like the most outstanding women’s pick, this one was razor thin. It was between Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska. I went with Sunshine because I think less is expected of her than Aga, who has been in the final and semis the past two years. She has to be careful about the upset bug. Don’t catch it. Next up is Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová, who vanquished the #2 seed, Li Na. That was Barbora’s first win against a top 10 player. After taking down Li Na, I am sure she won’t be intimidated by anybody going forward. Caroline will need to be ready for Barbora’s challenge.