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LONDON -- It was raining on the grounds of the All England Club Thursday evening, but under the roof on Centre Court it was as toasty and dry as a hobbit hole.
That allowed Novak Djokovic to do something unusual for a top seed here -- advance. The only former male Wimbledon champion left in the draw was playing American qualifier Bobby Reynolds, who is ranked No. 156 among ATP World Tour players. Given the fact that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had been knocked out by players ranked somewhere past No. 100, this was not necessarily a good thing.
|Bobby Reynolds' loss means no American man is in the third round of Wimbledon for the first time in 101 years.|
There was a disturbing subtext to the match, a dark piece of history that went with it. When Reynolds joined James Blake and Denis Kudla as second-round losers Thursday, it meant there were no American men left in the tournament.
It has been 101 years since America failed to land a man in the third round. The men's champion that year, 1912, was New Zealand's Anthony Wilding.
A year ago, when Andy Roddick played his last Wimbledon, this day was coming, so this wasn't exactly breaking news. Patrick McEnroe, the USTA's general manager of player development, is bullish on the future, however.
"Rhyne Williams, [Jack] Sock, [Denis] Kudla … I think we'll have quite a few players in the top 100," he said. "Is this going to satisfy people who say, 'Where's the next Pete Sampras? Where's the next Roddick?' No.
"We have players with potential, that I think can compete at the top level. I'm not going to give names because that puts too much pressure on them before they're even professionals, but you're going to start seeing guys in the top 100. Is the next Pete Sampras coming around the corner? No."
With all the fireworks in the bottom half of the draw, the top has been sailing along quite quietly, holding to form. No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych, No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro and No. 9 Richard Gasquet all advanced to the third round with relative ease.
No. 4 David Ferrer, along with numerous others, had his match postponed until Friday. And American Alison Riske will meet Urszula Radwanska.
Keys to victory
Two years ago, at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne, England, Madison Keys played the first grass match of her life.
She beat Lucy Brown of Great Britain 7-5, 6-1 -- even then, she had a sharp learning curve -- and helped lead the United States to the Maureen Connolly trophy challenge. A week later, she won her first two matches at the Wimbledon junior tournament before losing to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty in the third round.
We mention this because Keys, an 18-year-old Floridian, is into the third round of the big-girl Wimbledon tournament. On Thursday, she dusted Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-2 in one hour even. And, unlike the parade of stars who have made a spectacle of themselves slipping and sliding all over these lush lawns, Keys had an exceptionally clean run.
"I did not fall," she said, a little proudly.
In eight WTA-level matches on grass this year (also the total for her young career), she has now won six.
"I think the first time I hit [on grass] I just completely wiped out," Keys said. "It's just a completely different surface than anything you're ever really expecting.
"But I actually really liked it, which was kind of surprising."
Her next opponent, Agnieszka Radwanska, is daunting on a number of levels. She was a finalist here a year ago and in 2012, she wrecked Keys 6-1, 6-1 in Miami.
"I think in the second set I was just happy to not get bageled," Keys said. "She moved very, very well. It was my first time playing her. I don't think I was completely expecting that.
"Definitely going to try to do better this time."
Kimiko Date-Krumm, at 42, is the oldest woman to reach the third round in the open era here at Wimbledon. Never breaking 95 mph with her serve, she nevertheless handled Alexandra Cadantu 6-4, 7-5 … No. 17 seed Milos Raonic was upset by Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands, 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Sijsling was not broken and produced 40 winners -- against only seven unforced errors … No. 6 seed Li Na was extended to three sets by Simona Halep, but won 6-2, 1-6, 6-0 … The best match of the day -- that didn't get finished: Grigor Dimitrov was serving at 8-9 in the fifth set against Grega Zemlja when the rain came. That match has already consumed 3 hours, 34 minutes.
--Howard Bryant contributed to this story