Manic Monday live blog
Editor's Note: With 16 matches on Super Monday, a lot went down, including Serena Williams' stunning loss. Here's a recap off all the action:
Djokovic is the best player in the world and still hasn't dropped a set. Maybe the sting of missing out on the career Grand Slam for the second straight year has lit a fire under him, or maybe he is redeeming himself for a listless semifinal loss to Roger Federer here last year. Or maybe he is simply the best player in the world and needs no reason to play like it, but Djokovic is the clear favorite to reach the final after taking out Tommy Haas in straight sets, 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (4).
Djokovic served for the match 5-4 and was up 6-2 in the tiebreaker before finally winning on his fourth match point. He has been smooth and efficient for the entire tournament, committing only 16 unforced errors against 40 winners and 13 aces. Djokovic is playing without suspense, as though determined not to let his second Wimbledon title slip away or fall victim to the upsets that have defined this tournament.
If Djokovic has been heavily motivated after losing to Haas in Miami, he will have no problem getting up for Tomas Berdych, his next opponent in the quarterfinals. It was on the clay in Rome at the Italian Masters where Djokovic led Berdych 6-2, 5-2 only to lose the next five game and the third set, 6-4. Berdych is a fine grass player, having played in the final here in 2010, but Djokovic is 13-2 lifetime against him.
Tomas Berdych defeats Bernard Tomic 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4
For most of the week, Bernard Tomic made more headlines talking cryptically about his father, John, who after his assault two months ago was banned from appearing at tournaments for the year. Before playing Berdych, Tomic said, "If I play my tennis, he's not going to like what I have to offer." Berdych handled 19 aces from Tomic by dishing out 24 of his own. Berdych absorbed 43 winners from Tomic by producing 68 and booked his slot to the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Berdych took control of the match in the second-set tiebreak, nearly coming back from a 6-2 deficit before sailing a forehand long at 5-6. Still, he regrouped by sticking to his formula of heavy serves (fastest serve was 134 mph) and heavier forehands.
Eventually, Berdych pushed the 20-year-old farther back on the baseline, stretched him laterally and got the early breaks in the third and fourth sets. The remaining pressure was on Berdych to hold serve. (Tomic only had seven break chances in four sets.)
The match would have ended much more quickly and with much less suspense had Berdych been better in the bigger moments. He was 3 for 15 on break chances. If he is this inefficient against his next opponent, Novak Djokovic, in the quarters, the results are likely to be much different.
Andy Murray is a member of the big four, and Juan Martin del Potro is not, even though both have the same number of majors. Naturally, the difference is consistency. Murray is a cemented member of the top three and routinely gets to the second week of Grand Slam tournaments (except the French), while del Potro has struggled with injuries, curiously bad losses and an almost painful script against Roger Federer (until winning the past two) . .
But del Potro, who has never won a title on grass, came through to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the first time in his career with a 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-3 win over the Italian Andreas Seppi, and has a mission to write his way into the main conversation himself (a big five, perhaps?). Del Potro -- he of the monster forehand -- dropped nine aces on Seppi and ripped 36 winners against only 15 unforced errors, and has not dropped a set in the tournament. Del Potro, who won the 2009 U.S. Open by beating Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in succession, would likely have to beat Djokovic, whom del Potro defeated in the semifinals of Indian Wells in March, in order to have a shot at the Wimbledon title.
First, however, he must figure out how to keep last year from repeating itself this year. Next up for del Potro is the punishing David Ferrer, the same Ferrer who destroyed him in straight sets in the fourth round here last year by a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 score. That doesn't sound like much of a reward for winning.
Youzhny has always been a cerebral fellow.
Two years ago, he received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Moscow State University after writing his thesis over a period of six years between tennis tournaments.
And this is the same man who smashed his racket earlier this year at the French Open in the process of losing to Tommy Haas. And there's that 2008 classic from Miami -- a YouTube favorite -- when Youzhny took his anger out on himself and, with that racket, opened up a bloody gash on his head.
On Monday, Youzhny was relatively sedate. He actually served for the second set at 5-3 but went quietly, as they say, when Murray won the tiebreaker and celebrated like it was 1999 with multiple fist pumps and a massive screech. The only thing out of the ordinary for the 31-year-old Russian was a protracted visit from the trainer between the second and third sets.
And so, while the Federers and Nadals are long gone, Murray and top seed Novak Djokovic are still on a path to meet in the final. A finalist here a year ago (he lost to Federer), Murray is trying to become the first British man to win here after a 77-year wait.
Murray's quarterfinal opponent is Fernando Verdasco, against whom he has an 8-1 record.
-- Greg Garber
Agnieszka Radwanska gave herself somewhat of a dramatic off-court makeover this year. Her daily dose of makeup appeared to get a little more extreme and her hair turned a few hues lighter. But please, save the blond jokes for another time. Right now, the focus should be on her game -- make that her winning game.
At some point, someone had to stop the string of upsets that have have turned Wimbledon into a pit of quicksand. Radwanska complied, albeit not without some drama of her own Monday. She needed three sets to thwart Tsvetana Pironkova and reach the quarterfinals. Radwanska played her typical proficient match, converting more than 70 percent of her first serves and making nearly four times as many winners as unforced errors.
Radwanska, the fourth seed here, was a runner-up last year before running into Serena Williams. And the good news, if you haven't heard, is that Williams is out of the tournament. And after a Week 1 that saw Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova fall out of the draw, Radwanska is now the top seed remaining.
But of course, the way things are going this year, that's not necessarily a good thing.
-- Matt Wilansky
Marion Bartoli said before the match that she thought she might be able to unsettle Karin Knapp by getting the Italian's big serve back, and that was how it went in their fourth-round match Monday. Bartoli came through routinely, breaking her opponent five times -- including at love to go up 5-2 in the first set. After serving out the set, the Frenchwoman continued to hold the upper hand in the short, rapid-fire rallies that characterized the match, and now finds herself in her third quarterfinal at this event.
It's quite a turnaround for the 2007 finalist. The first time she has won more than two matches in a row all season, having struggled to adjust to no longer having her father as coach. But with Fed Cup captain Amelie Mauresmo in her corner and her new hitting partner present, Bartoli says she is not feeling lonely at this event so far.
-- Kamakshi Tandon
Better late than never for the 29-year-old Spaniard, who finally reached the quarterfinals in his 11th appearance at the All England Club. Only Andres Gimeno and Manuel Orantes took longer, waiting a dozen years, in 1970 and 1972, respectively.
Verdasco's best major effort to date is reaching the semifinals of the 2009 Australian Open (losing to Rafael Nadal in a five-set, five-hour match) and back-to-back quarterfinals at the US Open in 2009-10.
That past success underlines how far the unseeded Verdasco has fallen in recent months. He was once a top-10 player but now his ranking has fallen to No. 54. His record for 2013 is a middling 13-12, and that includes, of course, his four victories here.
De Schepper, 6-foot-8 Frenchman, entered the tournament having won only four ATP-level matches and he left with a surprising three victories at the All England Club.
And, for fans of statistical mayhem: These two were two of the last four left-handers in the draw. Only Verdasco remains.
-- Greg Garber
Sloane Stephens continues her impressive results at Grand Slams this season, reaching her second quarterfinal of the year with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Monica Puig.
With a similar age and height, it spelled a close match, and it certainly was for the first two sets. Puig was the more daring of the two at the beginning, running down balls and going for her shots to take a 5-2 lead. Stephens clawed back to make it 5-4 before Puig won a six-deuce game to finally close out the set. Then it was Stephens who won a long game at 5-5 in the second to secure a break, helped by two double-faults from her opponent. It remained close as it went to a third, and even at 1-1 there was no sign of imminent collapse.
But Puig was broken to love twice in a row in her next two service games, and though she kept battling and earned a break point in Stephens' last service game, the American was much more authoritative than she had been at the beginning of the match.
Stephens not only won this match, but later in the day got Serena Williams' nomination as a potential winner of the tournament now that Williams is out. Things appeared to be tense between the two earlier in the year, when Stephens accused Williams of ostracizing her after losing their quarterfinal match at the Australia Open. But after Williams' attention-getting pronouncement, Stephens will definitely not feel ignored at this event.
-- Kamakshi Tandon
Serena Williams' 34-match win streak ended in a stunner on Centre Court against the hard-serving, smiling German. Williams was mostly tentative, but Lisicki came out loose as could be on her preferred surface in her favorite tournament, keeping the crowd off balance and perhaps the defending champion, as well, with a 6-2 first set thanks to four aces and a high percentage of second serves.
Williams dropped a practically unheard-of five games in a row but roared back in the second and third sets, ripping off the next nine games. But with the five-time Wimbledon champ leading 3-1 and 40-15 in the third set, Lisicki broke in the fifth game, again in the ninth to go up 5-4, and then closed out the match with a forehand winner.
"I'm so happy," Lisicki said. "Serena played a fantastic match. She's such a tough opponent, and it's just an amazing feeling to win this match. The crowd was amazing. I love this court so much."
-- Melissa Isaacson
If Andre Agassi had watched David Ferrer's tense four-set victory over Croatia's Ivan Dodig, no doubt he would have been proud, for Ferrer booked his place in the quarterfinals by breaking the will of a big server by coming up, time and time again as the match wore on, with even bigger returns.
Dodig, who had reached the fourth round of Wimbledon for the first time in his career, was aided by two retirements along the way (Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round and Igor Sijsling in the third). Hence, Dodig had played only one full match, and his lack of fatigue showed early as he routinely reached 130 mph on serve; he had 14 aces overall.
Ferrer, known for his tenacity, was frustrated by Dodig in the first set, going 0-for-8 on break chances and not even getting a break chance in the second.
The match turned in the second-set tiebreaker. Dodig, leading 3-1 and getting a look at a second serve, sailed a forehand wide and then drove another into the net to let Ferrer get even at 3-3. Dodig ripped an ace to take a 4-3 lead before Ferrer ground his opponent down, stinging Dodig twice with blistering passes when he came to net on serve and volley, the second coming on Ferrer's second set point that gave him the set 8-6.
The missed opportunities of the second-set tiebreaker ultimately broke Dodig, who won just two of the final 14 games of the match as Ferrer raised his defensive intensity. Ferrer broke Dodig in the first game of the third set. It was the first break of the match and deflated the Croatian for the rest of the match. Ferrer was never broken.
After reaching his first final at Roland Garros, Ferrer has now made his eighth straight quarterfinal.
-- Howard Bryant
Janowicz is only 22 years old -- a decade younger than Melzer -- but a week of smashing serves here at the All England Club has (presumably) left his right elbow a bit tender. He played this match with that hinge wrapped in black trainer's tape, but it did not deter him from reaching his first Grand Slam singles quarterfinal.
The 6-foot-8 Pole is still hitting bombs; he had 16 aces Monday and his fastest serve was clocked at 137 miles per hour.
Poland, inexplicably, has two players in the final eight -- Lukasz Kubot, who won a few minutes later, is the other -- and, because they face off in the next round, is guaranteed of having its first-ever Grand Slam singles semifinalist.
Melzer, who was the Wimbledon junior champion 14 years ago, was trying for his first quarterfinal appearance in a dozen appearances in the main draw and would have been the first Austrian man to do it here.
A year ago, Janowicz qualified here and was a surprise visitor to the third round. This one pushed his career record at Wimbledon to a remarkable 6-1. You can count him among the next stars (with a bullet) of the ATP World Tour, along with Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori.
Now, Janowicz faces what could be a tantalizing semifinal match against the winner of No. 2 seed Andy Murray versus No. 20 Mikhail Youzhny. If it's Murray, as expected, don't forget this result from 2012: Janowicz beat Murray in last year's Paris Masters event.
-- Greg Garber
Lukasz Kubot defeats Adrian Mannarino, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Well, somebody had to win this battle of unlikely long shots.
Kubot, ranked No. 130 among ATP World Tour players, and Mannarino (No. 111), were the two lowest men's seeds left entering the fourth round on Monday. And now Kubot -- who is 31, the same age as Roger Federer -- is the lowest-ranked quarterfinalist here since No. 158 Bernard Tomic burst into the great eight two years ago.
That means Poland has landed two players in the quarterfinals and, since Kubot will play Jerzy Janowicz, that country will see its first man into a major singles semifinal.
Kubot dropped only 16 games heading into the fourth round -- the least of any player at Wimbledon in the Open era. There was an asterisk with that number, though, because Kubot benefited from a walkover versus Steve Darcis, who withdrew with a shoulder injury; Darcis had knocked out two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal in the first round. Kubot lost 22 games to Mannarino alone, but 26 aces helped Kubot secure the three-hour, 18-minute match.
The Frenchman entered Wimbledon nursing a 0-for-6 streak in majors but won three of four here.
-- Greg Garber
Disappointing the partisan Court 1 crowd, Kanepi reached her fifth Grand Slam quarterfinal and second at Wimbledon, outlasting the 19-year-old Brit in a tightly contested match.
Kanepi, now 5-0 in Grand Slam fourth-round matches, ended the stirring run of Robson, a former junior Wimbledon champion who was trying to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal and become the first British woman to make the quarters here since 1984. Kanepi won 83 percent of her points on her first serve while Robson had six more unforced errors and capitalized on just one of three break points.
-- Melissa Isaacson
Li Na sailed into her third Wimbledon quarterfinal ('06 and '10) with the easiest women's fourth-rounder of the day. Li converted six of seven break-point opportunities and had 26 winners to just eight for Vinci in a businesslike 55 minutes.
For Li, who reached the finals of the Australian Open in January, this was her steadiest match of the tournament, which should serve her well against either Tsvetana Pironkova or No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanksa, whom Li defeated in the quarters in Melbourne and against whom she has a 6-4 head-to-head advantage.
Li overcame 10 unforced errors to just four by Vinci, but had 26 winners to just eight for Vinci, who has reached the second week in four of her last five Grand Slams.
-- Melissa Isaacson
Kirsten Flipkens (20) defeats Flavia Pennetta, 7-6 (2), 6-3
Net-rushing tennis lives in the women's draw, with Kirsten Flipkens going through to the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (2), 6-3 win over Flavia Pennetta on Monday. Flipkens came to net 41 times in the match, and though she won only 26 of those points overall, her success rate increased along with her lead.
The late-blooming Belgian, 27, has been one of the feel-good stories of the year. She was diagnosed with blood clots in her legs last year, only narrowly avoiding serious health problems, and also had her funding cut by the Belgian federation at about the same time. Her career seemed in serious doubt, but helped by compatriot and friend Kim Clijsters, Flipkens has now broken into the top 20 and will only go higher after this tournament.
Pennetta, a former top-10 player whose ranking has fallen because of a wrist injury, also put on an encouraging performance. But the Italian was the less assertive of the two and could be seen flexing her leg on a changeover toward the end of the first set.
It was a crafty, controlled contest between the two veterans, with Flipkens closing out the first set with three winners to finish the tiebreaker -- including an ace on set point. After some sort of dispute due to a photographer taking pictures on the roof overlooking the court, Flipkens broke to go up 3-2 in the second set and dominated her service games the rest of the way.
-- Kamakshi Tandon
The early exits of Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova have left 2011 champ Petra Kvitova as the biggest name in the bottom half of the women's draw, and she showed flashes of her title-winning form in defeating Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the fourth round Monday. The big-hitting Czech was able to take command of the baseline against the smaller shot-making Spaniard, and Kvitova kept her error count under control in an entertaining but increasingly one-sided contest.
The first set was a tight affair, with Kvitova grabbing control of a seesaw tiebreaker while down 5-4, when she hit a forehand winner to clinch a 19-shot rally and gave one of her biggest fist pumps of the match.
Suarez Navarro is known for her striking one-handed backhand, but it was the forehand that broke down when she lost her serve in the sixth game of the second set, a setback from which she would not recover. Kvitova faced two break points on her own serve in the next game but fended them off to take a 5-2 lead, and won her next service game at love to finish the match with a flourish.
-- Kamakshi Tandon