Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Coco Vandeweghe Lead American Parade
Forget, if only for a moment, about Americans named Serena and Venus. It was other women from the United States who overshadowed the Wimbledon legends on Day 3.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands showcased her sweet serve-and-volley game to upset seventh-seeded Ana Ivanovic in straight sets on Wednesday. Earlier, Coco Vandeweghe knocked out 11th-seeded Karolina Pliskova, also in straight sets.
In all, six Americans advanced on Wednesday. Here's a closer look.
Mattek-Sands has been celebrating a lot lately. This time, though, she had to do it alone. The 30-year-old Mattek-Sands, who has won the first two Grand Slam women's doubles titles of the year with Lucie Safarova, knocked off Ivanovic, a French Open semifinalist, on Wednesday 6-3, 6-4. Mattek-Sands, who missed most of last year with a hip injury, had to qualify for the singles draw, and now finds herself in the third round, where she'll play Belinda Bencic. "I've been feeling great on the grass," said Mattek-Sands, who had 32 winners to Ivanovic's 15. "This is my first big win in a year, and I'm really happy."
Vandeweghe, ranked 47th in the world, pulled off the second-biggest American upset of the day, beating 11th-seeded Pliskova 7-6 (5), 6-4. Vandeweghe has been clicking on the Wimbledon grass, serving 10 aces in her first-round victory over Anna Karolína Schmiedlova and following that up with 15 against Pliskova on Wednesday. "She has the higher ranking, but I had confidence I'm the better player," Vandeweghe said. "I have more weapons. I thought I could outrally her, and my serve is better than hers." Vandeweghe next plays 22nd-seeded Samantha Stosur. Vandeweghe, though, has a 2-1 head-to-head edge over Stosur, most recently beating the big-serving Aussie at the Australian Open earlier this year.
Unlike the rest of the Americans in action on Wednesday, Madison Keys was still playing a first-round match. Keys, seeded 21st, had started her first-round match on Tuesday but had to come back on Wednesday to finish after it was suspended because of darkness. The big-hitting Keys, who made it to the semifinals earlier this year at the Australian Open before falling to Serena Williams, had 21 aces and 61 winners in her 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4 win over Stefanie Voegele. She'll have a quick turnaround, returning Thursday for a second-round showdown against 19-year-old Russian Elizaveta Kulichkova, who is making her Grand Slam main-draw debut. Keys will look to match her best showing at Wimbledon -- she made it to the third round in both 2013 and 2014.
The good news for fans of American tennis is that Sloane Stephens advanced to the third round of Wimbledon. The bad news is that she had to beat a fellow American -- Lauren Davis -- to do it. With 17 winners to offset 17 unforced errors, Stephens posted a rather routine 6-4, 6-4 win. Next up for her is French Open runner-up Safarova, who struggled a bit back in the first round against American Alison Riske. Safarova made it to the Wimbledon semifinals a year ago. Stephens' best showing was a quarterfinal appearance in 2013. Safarova won their only previous meeting, in 2014 in Dubai.
On a day when lots of players were sweating it out, Williams looked calm and cool in her second-round match. Williams posted a 6-4, 6-1 win over Timea Babos and is five wins from completing her second career Serena Slam. She has won 23 straight matches in majors. Up next is Heather Watson, the last British hope in the women's draw. Williams and Watson have never played each other. Watson already has matched her best showing at the All England Club, and she also made it to the third round in 2012.
Venus Williams didn't keep it quite as simple as her sister did, but the No. 16 seed and five-time champion advanced to the third round with a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Yulia Putintseva. Williams had 28 winners and seven aces, but the 35-year-old was kept on the court for nearly two hours. With the win, Venus stayed on course for a fourth-round collision with her kid sister. First things first. Next up for Venus is Aleksandra Krunic, whom she has never played. It's worth noting that Venus hasn't been beyond the third round at Wimbledon since 2011.