What’s After Wimbledon’s Wacky Week? : Tennis: McEnroe is still in the running today, when all the men’s and women’s fourth-round matches will be played.
Here’s a checklist for the second week of Wimbledon:
No Jim Courier, plenty of John McEnroe, three qualifiers in the men’s field, the first Japanese woman in the fourth round, one British hope, six former winners, one perennial loser and a Swede who wears Army socks.
On a day when all the men’s and women’s fourth-round matches will be played at the All England Club, gone is No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Courier, who lost Saturday to a Russian he had seen play just once before.
That would be Andrei Olhovskiy, ranked No. 193, who flung Courier out of his confident ride toward a possible Grand Slam with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 upset in the grass of Centre Court.
There was no upset that equaled it in the first week, or for that matter since the Open Era began at Wimbledon in 1968. But if you go by rankings to judge your upsets, remember last year when No. 10 Goran Ivanisevic was bounced by No. 591 Nick Brown, a wild card, the most lopsided victory at Wimbledon since the the advent of the computer rankings in 1973.
One week, three matches and 73 aces since last Monday, Ivanisevic has arrived in the fourth round and will meet Ivan Lendl, who is still stalking the lone major title that has escaped him for 13 years.
Olhovskiy (pronounced ol-HOV-ski), a narrow-faced angular right-hander, performed magic with his racket, which he later described as “overtime.” He meant oversized, as in big, which is what his fourth-round match promises to be.
Waiting for Olhovskiy is none other than McEnroe, at 33 possibly playing his last Wimbledon. With a little luck, he could very well find himself in the semifinals Friday.
Three-time champion McEnroe is one of four former winners in the men’s field, along with Boris Becker, another three-time winner, two-time champion Stefan Edberg and last year’s champion Michael Stich.
“The guys who are left are the guys who have been around,” McEnroe said. “There’s Becker, there’s Stich, Edberg, those are three big guys right there.
“You’ve got Lendl playing Ivanisevic in the round of 16 to play Edberg (and) that’s a very interesting section,” he said.
“And I think a guy like (Wayne) Ferreira, who I don’t consider a dark horse anymore, that’s a tough match potentially for Boris.
“Then there’s the other two Americans--Agassi and Sampras. The surface being a little slower suits Agassi’s game a little better, he’s playing quite well, and Pete seems to be more comfortable. So any one of those guys to me is capable of potentially winning.
“My quarter is probably the most unclear one.”
If McEnroe gets past Olhovskiy, he would meet the winner of the match between Guy Forget, who has never gone past the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, and Jeremy Bates, who outlasted Thierry Champion in five sets Saturday to become the first British man to get this far in 10 years.
Becker played his best match of the tournament, a tough, four-set decision Saturday over hard-serving Byron Shelton, and now faces Ferreira, another hard-serving right-hander. The winner of that match meets either Agassi or Christian Saceanu in the quarterfinals.
Saceanu, Olhovskiy and Henrik Holm are all qualifiers and underdogs in their matches today. Holm plays fellow Swede Edberg and promises to once again wear the thick, padded white Army socks to give him protection from the pounding his feet take on the grass. There may be nothing to protect him from Edberg’s volleys, however.
Ahead for Edberg is a difficult quarterfinal assignment against either Ivanisevic or Lendl, then a potential semifinal against Stich or Sampras. Stich faces wily grass court specialist Wally Masur with the winner going on to meet either Sampras or Arnaud Boetsch in the quarterfinals.
Five of the top six seeded women’s players made it to the fourth round, led by Monica Seles, who faces dangerous grass-court player Gigi Fernandez.
The last time Fernandez played Seles, she lost, 6-0, 6-0, in the Virginia Slims of Indian Wells, but Fernandez has been getting some help lately. Herb Hamsher, her Aspen-based sports psychologist, has tried to get her to forget that blowout.
Apparently it has been working, Fernandez said.
“I think she will have all the pressure on her,” Fernandez said. “She’s going to be playing someone who can beat her on a given day on a grass court. Bad grass, bad bounces, you never know.”
Martina Navratilova, on track to meet Seles in the semifinals, must first win a test of serves and volleys with Yayuk Basuki, a badminton-playing Indonesian who made the third round a year ago in her first Wimbledon.
Jennifer Capriati could face Gabriela Sabatini in the quarterfinals, but meets Naoko Sawamatsu, who made history last week by becoming the first Japanese woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam.
Three-time Wimbledon champion Steffi Graf, who along with nine-time winner Navratilova are the only former women’s champions left, faces Patty Fendick of the United States, then either another American, Zina Garrison, or Natalia Zvereva in the quarterfinals.
So after a day off Sunday, tennis balls are going to be flying like crazy today--all 16 fourth-round matches--hit the grass today. Call it Manic Monday. Check your list. It will be half as long by nightfall.