Top women upset early at Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON, England -- It was a day ripe for upsets at the All England Club, with four of the top 13 seeded women sent packing Wednesday, including 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur, 2011 French Open champion Li Na, and former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki.
The fifth-seeded Stosur's 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 loss to 72nd-ranked Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands means Australia will have zero men or women in the third round for the first time since 1939.
"It's a pretty woeful performance by all of us," said Stosur, the last of nine Australians in the tournament.
Stosur was seeded fifth and was a semifinalist at the French Open this month.
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But she has never had much success at the All England Club. She lost in the first round in 2010 and '11, and only once has been as far as the third round in 10 appearances, in '09.
Wozniacki, who hadn't departed any Grand Slam tournament in the first round in more than five years, blew two match points in the second set and was beaten 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-4 by 37th-ranked Tamira Paszek of Austria. It was the first match of the fortnight played with the Centre Court's retractable roof closed.
The former top-ranked Dane saved four set points in the first set but then failed to convert two break points when leading 5-4 in the second. Paszek erased an early break in the decider but failed to serve out the match at 5-3, only to break the seventh-seeded Wozniacki again to clinch the victory.
"It was a good match, good tennis, but that doesn't really help me. I lost in the first round," Wozniacki said. "Tomorrow no one will remember how great a match it was, they'll just remember who won. It's not a nice feeling. Those are some of the matches that it's really great when you win them, but also really sucks when you lose. Especially after having two match points and not taking them."
No. 11 Li lost to 52nd-ranked Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-3, 6-4 in a second-round match, and 13th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova was beaten by 31st-ranked Klara Zakopalova of Czech Republic 6-4, 6-1 in the first round.
Wozniacki's match was halted because of rain on Tuesday with the score at 2-2 in the first set. It was interrupted again Wednesday by showers that forced organizers to slide the retractable roof over Centre Court.
More than 20 matches on outside courts were postponed until Thursday, including Maria Sharapova's. The top-ranked woman led 7-6 (3), 3-1 when her second-round match against Tsvetana Pironkova was suspended because of darkness. Sharapova saved five set points in the first set.
Wozniacki has yet to win a title this year, was eliminated in the third round of the French Open and lost her first match at the grass-court warm-up tournament at Eastbourne.
Having ended both 2010 and '11 as the top-ranked woman -- albeit without winning a major -- she has fallen to No. 7.
So could it be that her highly publicized relationship with golfer Rory McIlroy -- which began a year ago -- is affecting her tennis?
"No," was the short and terse answer.
Instead, she pointed to factors like luck and Paszek hitting two balls on the line when saving one of her match points.
"I didn't think it was a bad match today," Wozniacki said. "You're going through periods where you're lucky, the luck is turning your way, you're not playing great, but you win the matches anyway.
"You go through periods where it's just not going your way. You just need to get through this. Hopefully, sooner than later, it will start turning my way."
She hadn't lost in the first round of a major since the 2007 French Open.
Paszek certainly wasn't an easy opponent, coming off a win at Eastbourne for her third WTA title. Against Wozniacki on Centre Court, she hit two winners to save match points when trailing 5-4 in the second set. Paszek erased an early break in the decider but failed to serve out the match at 5-3, only to break the seventh-seeded Wozniacki again to clinch the match.
"I had over two years where I was winning these matches," Wozniacki said. "I feel lately it's going the other way a little bit. It's not the first match this year where I have match points and not winning. You know, it's frustrating obviously. But it's tennis."
Clijsters never faced a break point and broke her opponent three times, including in the final game to wrap up the win in 1 hour, 5 minutes. The match took place under the retractable roof on Centre Court.
Clijsters is playing in her final Wimbledon tournament, having said she is retiring from the sport after this year's U.S. Open.
She was playing Hlavackova for the first time.
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Meanwhile, 20-year-old Heather Watson of Britain continues to make history in her home country. After becoming the first British woman to win a match on Centre Court since 1985 in Monday's first round, Watson gave Britain a woman in Wimbledon's third round for the first time in a decade by beating Jamie Hampton of the United States 6-1, 6-4.
The 103rd-ranked Watson won the match's first five games to take control as she matched a feat last accomplished by Elena Baltacha in 2002.
The 19-year-old American, who is based in Coral Springs, Fla., is coming off her first run to the fourth round at a major at the French Open.
The match Wednesday was an up-and-down contest. The 59th-ranked Stephens was broken at love while serving for the first set at 5-4. She wound up needing to save five set points before winning the opener. After dropping the second set, Stephens came through in the third.
"I'm 19 and I do still have some lapses," she said. "They're less now than I used to have in the past. I really don't get as upset when I lose points now. I'm not that emotional anymore."
In a match continuing from Tuesday, Sara Errani needed only seven seconds Wednesday to complete a rain-interrupted win at Wimbledon, and she didn't even have to hit a ball.
Errani led American Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 5-3 and held the advantage one point from victory when their match was halted Tuesday evening. They returned to Court 16 some 18 hours later, and when Vandeweghe double-faulted into the net on the first point, Errani had the victory.
Both players smiled as they met at the net to shake hands.
Asked by an Italian reporter to recount what happened, Errani said, justifiably: "There's not much to tell."
Asked by another whether she'd bothered to take a shower, Errani assured him she planned to later.
"I had talked to my coach to plan what I wanted to do in the match," Errani, the runner-up to Sharapova earlier this month at Roland Garros, said, "but there was no need."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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