Monday, June 20, 2011
Ryan Sweeting's valuable lesson
By Greg Garber
WIMBLEDON, England -- In another lifetime, a two-set deficit might have sent Ryan Sweeting packing.
But on Monday, two sets down to Spain's Pablo Andujar, a strange thing happened. Actually, Sweeting happened. The 23-year-old from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., via the Bahamas rallied for the third Grand Slam singles match win of his career, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-1.
It was a 3-hour, 44-minute lesson worth learning.
"In the past, I might have gotten down on myself," Sweeting said. "I learned the match is never over -- until it's over."
Sweeting, playing the best tennis of his life, won his first ATP World Tour event earlier this year in Houston. He is a former world No. 2 junior player and won the 2005 junior U.S. Open. He is also, perhaps, this season's unluckiest player.
After winning his first-round match in the Australian Open, Sweeting drew top seed Rafael Nadal. That didn't go well; Sweeting won four games in three sets. At Indian Wells, he took four games from Rafa in two sets. And now -- you guessed it -- Sweeting draws the two-time Wimbledon champion for a third time in six months.
"Man," he said in an interview on the roof overlooking Court 18, "you'd think they'd let me go deep into a Grand Slam. That's tough."
Meanwhile, fellow American Alex Bogomolov crafted the second major win of his career, a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Donald Young. His only previous major win came more than five years ago in Australia. Bogomolov, 28, was born in Moscow but is a longtime U.S. citizen who lives in Miami.
No. 10 seed Mardy Fish won -- but not easily -- against Marcel Granollers, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-4. No. 8 Andy Roddick and qualifier Andreas Beck, the third scheduled match on Court 1, was visited by rain just as it was about to begin. They'll take another crack first thing Tuesday.
Four additional things we know we think after Day 1 at the All England Club:
The 80-million-pound roof could prove exceedingly helpful this week: For the third time since it was installed over Centre Court two years ago, the pricey roof was closed. Showers descended, as predicted by the BBC weather forecasters, about 5 p.m., local time. Thus, the fierce match between No. 6 seed Francesca Schiavone and Jelena Dokic was halted briefly, then resumed. Schiavone, a French Open finalist, prevailed 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. It was the first time she's beaten Dokic in four meetings. "You feel a little more compact, smaller," Schiavone said when asked about the difference the roof makes. "Maybe a little faster. Ask Rafa and Roger [Federer], is better." Actually, ask Andy Murray, the great hope of Great Britain. His match against Daniel Gimeno-Traver was the only match on the grounds as darkness fell. He has played two of the four matches under the roof. More rain is in the forecast.
Rafa-Raonic seems imminent: The most-anticipated match of the early rounds is nearly upon us. No. 1 seed Nadal was down 2-4 to Michael Russell but rallied for a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win. No. 31 seed Milos Raonic dusted Marc Gicquel 6-3, 7-6 (3), 6-3. If they win their matches as expected against Sweeting and Gilles Muller, respectively, they would meet Friday in the third round. Raonic, who leads the ATP World Tour in aces, had 25 (and zero double faults) against Fognini.
The early edge goes to … Indian cuisine: Admittedly, tennis editor Matt Wilansky is a big, big fan, but through three days, he says, it hasn't been close. All three dinners have come at Wimbledon Village's two Indian establishments, Wimbledon Tandoori and Rajdoot. The local favorite, fish 'n' chips -- a monstrous chunk of fried hake and some unimpressive French fries -- did not, apparently, measure up. No. 1 in the power rankings: the murgh raswada (chunky pieces of boneless chicken marinated in tandoori masala and lightly grilled) from Tandoori.
Vera Zvonareva needs to step it up: The defending Wimbledon finalist blew out Alison Riske of the United States 6-0 in the first set but dropped the second. Ultimately, the No. 2 seed took the third set 6-3. Riske, 20, from Hilton Head, S.C., is ranked No. 115 and has yet to win a Grand Slam singles match in three tries. Zvonareva will have to play better against fellow Russian Elena Vesnina in the second round.
Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.