Lopez's determination carries him to fourth-round win

Updated: June 30, 2008

Lo-pez and behold

WIMBLEDON, England -- Rafael Nadal isn't the only Spaniard having success at Wimbledon. Good pal and big server Feliciano Lopez is doing well, too.

Lopez, renowned for underachieving, saved three match points and rallied from a two-sets-to-one deficit to knock off Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 8-6 in just over three and a half hours, moving into his second Wimbledon quarterfinal in the process. Lopez hit 25 aces -- including 14 in the final two sets -- and leads the tournament with 93.

"I'm happy to be in the quarterfinals, no,'' Lopez said.

The pony-tailed lefty wasn't as jovial at 4-5 in the fifth. He fell behind 0-40, then saved the first two match points by thundering down a pair of first serves. On the third, he went for broke on a second serve and delivered, hitting an ace out wide.

Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Feliciano Lopez improved his career five-set record to 10-5 with his marathon win over Marcos Baghdatis.

"He put two first serves in, the first two points, and then he just smacked a second serve, big second serve on the third one,'' Baghdatis said. "He just went for it with guts, and he took the game. Good for him. The guy served unbelievable during the whole match.''

As the score suggests, not much separated the pair. Both were plus-27 in the winners-unforced errors count, won more than 75 percent of points behind first serves and failed to prosper on break chances (Lopez was 3-for-10 and Baghdatis 2-for-12).

Now working with respected Swedish coach Peter Lundgren, Baghdatis appeared to be gaining momentum, reaching the quarterfinals in Halle, Germany, this month and losing only one set in his three previous matches.

"I had fun during the match,'' the 2006 Australian Open finalist said. "But when you're so close and it just hits you, you know, it's not like I played good and I lost because the guy played better and I had no chances. It's when you have chances like this. It's not easy to accept."

Lopez next meets a resurgent Marat Safin in the quarters. His doubles partner, Fernando Verdasco, wasn't as fortunate in his own five-set thriller, blowing a two-set lead and going down 13-11 in the decider to Croat Mario Ancic.

Nadal eased past Russian Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets.

Ravi Ubha is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com.

Five things we learned on Monday

1. No R-E-S-P-E-C-T? Controversy abounded when Wimbledon sent women's defending champion Venus Williams out to play on Court No. 2 on Monday. Not surprisingly, the never-lodge-a-complaint Williams took the high road on the issue, but her parents were not happy campers. Oracene Price said the referee's explanation was that people now pay for seats on Court 2, so quality matches need to be scheduled there, too. Richard Williams didn't complain that daughter Serena was assigned to Court 2, but called it "ridiculous" to relegate the defending champion to the boondocks. Roger Federer, the five-time defending champion, who played Centre Court, weighed in on the issue: "I hope that day will not come for me, that I will have to play on Court 2. I understand there's a little bit of disappointment maybe, but I don't think it has anything to do with disrespect. I don't think that's what this tournament is all about."

2. The serendipity shower: For Tamarine Tanasugarn, 31, reaching her first Grand Slam quarterfinal could all be due to the shower. A superstitious sort, Tanasugarn has insisted upon using the same shower in the women's locker room this entire Wimbledon. Apparently the strategy is working. After six previous trips to the Wimbledon fourth round, the Thai star finally lucked out, defeating Jelena Jankovic to reach the quarterfinals, where she'll face Venus Williams. Why use the same shower? "I like to be in the comfort zone," she said.

3. Legal eagle: When most people come down with mononucleosis, they usually spend their time resting. Last year, when that was Mario Ancic's fate, he hit the law books, eventually graduating law school this spring. The legal eagle has his mind on tennis for now, but he believes his future could be practicing law. Going to school helped the Croat conquer boredom. Ancic, who reached the 2004 Wimbledon semifinals, said, "If I didn't have [studying], I would sit [the] whole day at home and hit myself, hit my head through the wall all day."

4. Stir crazy stats: When it comes to tennis, there's usually an obsession with statistics. But on occasion it becomes all too true that the stats don't reliably tell the story. Take No. 4 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova's 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 fourth-round loss to Agnieszka Radwanska: If someone was just seeing the stats without the outcome, they would be convinced Kuznetsova was the winner. According to the official stat sheet, Kuznetsova posted 60 winners to 30 unforced errors and won 104 points in the match. In comparison, Radwanska scored 20 winners to 13 unforced errors and won less overall points at 96. Translation: It's not how many points you win, it's where you win and lose them that counts.

5. Elena the literate: After running out of questions for Elena Dementieva regarding her recently secured Wimbledon quarterfinal berth, the topic turned to something more Russian: the pronunciation of some of the new Russian players' names. One journalist asked Dementieva, "The pronunciation has to be easy for a Russian?" Dementieva's answer summed it up: "Of course, I can read." Dementieva did admit, however, that she doesn't know who all the new Russians are because the country is so big, saying, "Sometimes I don't even know if they're Russian or not. They come to me, they say hello in Russian. I'm like, 'Who is that?'"

-- Sandra Harwitt

Surprise, surprise

While the women's elite eight is full of surprises -- the top four seeds are all missing in action -- the men's side has its share of usual suspects.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are through, of course, joined by two-time Grand Slam winner Marat Safin and Mario Ancic ('04 Wimbledon semifinals and '06 quarters). Feliciano Lopez made the quarterfinals here in 2005 and Andy Murray finally reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal on Monday, but was carried by a partisan Centre Court crowd of 15,000 toward an accomplishment long predicted for him.

Two 30-something men, though, qualify as complete surprises. Both of them were once Australian Open finalists, but in tennis terms at least, it was a long, long time ago.

Arnaud Clement, the feisty 30-year-old Frenchman, may be ranked No. 145, but he managed to send home Croatian teenager Marin Cilic 6-3, 7-5, 6-2. Germany's Rainer Schuettler, 32, eliminated the last Serb left in the draw, Janko Tipsarevic, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

"I've never been in the last eight here before," said Schuettler, who is ranked No. 94. "I said after the third round I won, 'I'm so happy I don't have to go to Cordoba [Spain] to play a Challenger,' because that was my schedule this week, actually."

Appropriately, they are scheduled to play each other on Wednesday, so one of them will find himself in the semifinals at the All England Club.

And who would have imagined that?

-- Greg Garber



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Brief scare


Time stood still for a second on Court 1 when Rafael Nadal slid awkwardly, and the biggest threat to Roger Federer's five-year title reign at Wimbledon admitted he was concerned.

"I felt a little bit of pain, and I was scared,'' Nadal said. "I felt a crack, something a little behind [the knee], but I think it is fine.''

Nadal hit the turf after chasing down a shot to his forehand corner in the second game of his fourth-round encounter against what must have been a pooped Mikhail Youzhny. Nadal managed to pop up immediately and was even able to track down Youzhny's volley, but it was a weak reply that gave the Russian an easy put-away.

Nadal immediately called for the trainer, a worried look engrossing his face.

Following the usual medical assessment, he received the maximum three-minute injury time out. The tape below his right knee was removed, then replaced.

Jelena Jankovic suffered a similar fall -- hers appeared more severe -- in the first set of her match against fast-rising Dane Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday.

She kept going and won in three, though was less than 100 percent on Monday and exited meekly against Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn, her movement visibly affected.

Like Jankovic, much of Nadal's game focuses on his ability to patrol the court.

"Right now I am feeling better,'' Nadal said. "Tomorrow we will see how I wake up. But hopefully it's going to be fine.''

No matter how we felt, Nadal, charged up from Spain's win over Germany in the final of soccer's European Championships on Sunday, didn't let it bother him. ( He watched the game at the house he rents, along with fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, and sent a text message of congratulations to Spanish goalkeeper and friend Iker Casillas.)

Against Youzhny, Nadal gained the decisive break of the first set for a 4-2 lead, absorbing the 17th seed's array of shots. He got an early break in the second and cruised in the third, racing out to a 5-0 lead. He wasn't broken in the final two sets and captured 21 of 24 points at the net.

What does that stat mean?

"Unbelievable volley,'' Nadal said, drawing laughter, before getting serious. "That means I was playing very good from the baseline, because when I arrive to the net, I arrive in always very good position.''

Youzhny, who dropped a single game against Nadal in January's Chennai Open final, was coming off back-to-back five-set wins over Italian Stefano Galvani and colorful Czech Radek Stepanek.

-- Ravi Ubha

Court controversy


An ailing Jelena Jankovic was upset in the fourth round at Wimbledon, then took a shot at officials who gave her an early start in a "parking lot.''

Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn sent the second seed packing with a 6-3, 6-2 victory on Court 18 in one hour, 15 minutes. Her match began at noon local time, the earliest start possible, two days after she suffered a knee injury that forced her to undergo an MRI and visibly affected her movement.

Defending champion Venus Williams beat promising Russian Alisa Kleybanova on Court 2, dubbed the Graveyard of Champions, which added to the weird scheduling, according to Jankovic.

"I don't know what they are doing, you know, to put Venus on No. 2 and I'm on No. 18, especially having an injury and asking for a favor to play a little bit later on in the day,'' Jankovic said. "They didn't do it. So it was, you know, quite hard. I was almost playing in the parking lot. I almost need a helicopter to go to my court.''

Not one of the so-called show courts, Court 18 has a seating capacity of almost 800. A constant flow of spectators alongside doesn't make for quiet surroundings, either.

The explanation Jankovic got for being placed out of the way, shall we say, didn't sit well with her.

"They told me Court 18 is, you know, a TV court,'' Jankovic said. "And I said, 'But so are Centre Court and Court 1.' This is not a reason to put me on Court 18. What can I do? I think it's wrong, and hopefully it will not happen in the future in this way.''

Williams refused to court controversy, uttering that she "was here for the tennis on all courts.'' She was due to play doubles with younger sister Serena Williams on Court 2 later Monday.

"There's not too much that I'm going to say about that in [the] press,'' Venus Williams said. "I think that obviously, no matter where we play, we realize we have to play well. That's pretty much all I have to say.''

-- Ravi Ubha

Critics' choice


Serena Williams vs. Agnieszka Radwanska: On paper, the best of the four women's quarterfinals on Tuesday. Radwanska has won three titles this year -- Pattaya City, Istanbul and Eastbourne -- but you'd need an advanced degree in geography to know the country in which they were achieved. Answers: Thailand, Turkey and England. However, in the only previous meeting with Serena (Hamburg 2008), Radwanska managed to win only four games.

ESPN.com prediction: Williams in two

-- Greg Garber