In a most atypical news conference Monday, the world's No. 31 player, Dmitry Tursunov, described a chair umpire as "terrible" and "an idiot" and said, "I guess a person can be doing a bad job for many years and still get away with it."
As evidence of that, Tursunov actually cited Saddam Hussein.
A four-hour tussle had just concluded with fifth-set histrionics and a stinging point penalty assessed Tursunov by chair umpire Fergus Murphy. Finland's Jarkko Nieminen, ranked No. 18, defeated Tursunov, a Russian living in Granite Bay near Sacramento, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 6-7 (6-8), 9-7, in a fourth-round match that featured a 42-shot rally.
Just after Nieminen broke Tursunov's serve for an 8-7 lead in the fifth, Tursunov sought an outlet for his rage and slammed a ball in the general direction of Murphy. "Hitting the bottom of the chair seemed like the only viable solution," Tursunov said, claiming he hadn't aimed at Murphy.
Murphy thought otherwise, as he said afterward, and instructed Nieminen to start the next game serving into the ad court with a 15-0 lead already granted.
Nieminen served it out, and Tursunov punctuated his post-match handshake with Murphy by yanking on Murphy's thumb as if half-inclined to drag him from the chair. Pulling away, Tursunov then wagged a finger at Murphy.
"Maybe it's something personal now because I've always argued with him during my matches," Tursunov said.
"But I think he's terrible. I mean, he never makes an overrule. Then, he, you know, as you saw, he gives me a point penalty at 8-7. Four hours on the court doesn't seem to be a good enough reason for him to be more lenient.
"You know, if the guy's an idiot, the guy's an idiot. I'm going to let him know that I feel that."
It also set up a curious quarterfinal with Mario Ancic, the No. 7-seeded player still lingering four years down the line as the last player to defeat Federer at Wimbledon in the first round in 2002.
The world's No. 2-ranked player, Rafael Nadal, unbeatable on clay, eased into his first quarterfinal on grass, then responded to a French newspaper report that his name turned up on the list of a doctor suspected of blood-doping for athletes.
"I've never taken anything in my life, and I never will," Nadal said through an interpreter.
"I'm well-enough educated in the sporting world and out of sporting world to not cheat. People who write lies about other people are bad people."
The most unlikely of the 16 quarterfinalists, Frenchwoman Severine Bermond, is ranked No. 129 in the world but No. 1 in Wimbledon resiliency.
Not only has she upset the Nos. 8, 31 and 18 seeded players in successive rounds, but she saved five match points in the third round in a 7-6 (6), 5-7, 7-5 win over No. 31-seeded Gisela Dulko, then nine sets points in the fourth round Monday in a 7-6 (11), 6-3 win over No. 18-seeded Ai Sugiyama.
Former badminton player Na Li, China's first grand slam quarterfinalist from a No. 30 ranking, said of her country's more popular sport, "Probably I would be a champion, a world champion, if I played badminton."
In his 51st grand slam tournament, the aged Swedish gamer Jonas Bjorkman reached his seventh grand slam quarterfinal, beating doubles partner Max Mirnyi in five sets.
The secret to reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals at 34? "No expectations, I guess," Bjorkman said.
At a glance
TODAY'S WOMEN'S QUARTERFINALS
* Mauresmo vs. Myskina
* Sharapova vs. Dementieva
* Saverine Bremond vs. Henin-Hardenne
* Li vs. Clijsters
Source: Associated Press