TODAY’S FEATURED MATCHES
All third round
World rankings in parentheses
Venus Williams (2) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro (34), Spain
Suarez Navarro’s 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Williams in a splendid match at the Australian Open constituted an upset. Any repetition of that outcome would constitute rudeness toward the queen.
Andy Roddick (6) vs. Jurgen Melzer (30), Austria
The Wikipedia page for Melzer reads, “He is often referred to as the best player on the tour to have not reached the fourth round of a major tournament.” Yeah, it’s really tiresome how people in polite conversation just keep bringing this up all the time.
Melanie Oudin (124) vs. Jelena Jankovic (6), Serbia
A 17-year-old delight from Atlanta, Oudin has found her way to her first bout with a top-10 player. Hint: Jankovic is the one who tends to smile the whole time she’s strafing you.
Jesse Levine (133) vs. Stanislas Wawrinka (18), Switzerland
Even if Levine’s plucky run to his first Grand Slam third round ends here, the Canadian-born American achieved a bit of tourism history when he said he won’t be playing Davis Cup for Canada as he’s “100% American.” It marked a strident reversal to years of Americans coming to Europe and pretending they’re Canadian.
Andy Murray (3), Britain, vs. Viktor Troicki (31), Serbia
An Andre Agassi fan as a child, Murray had a pair of pink-Lycra-and-denim shorts. If he wore wear pink-Lycra-and-denim shorts to Centre Court, the media noise would be audible to sheep in Scotland.
Ana Ivanovic (12), Serbia, vs. Samantha Stosur (19), Australia
As Ivanovic won the 2008 French Open, few could have foretold she’d be routed in the fourth round of the 2009 French while Stosur would make the semifinals. And those who could have foretold it would have been in desperate need of a life.
Here’s Dudi Sela, 24, a relatively little guy headed to one exceedingly big week, the second one of Wimbledon. He’s the first Israeli to advance that far since Amos Mansdorf in 1989, and the first in any Grand Slam event since Mansdorf at the 1992 Australian Open. “When my brother was playing he was 200th” in the world, Sela said. “So when he was playing I was admiring him. But now I say that he was not as good.” Sela’s feat has resonance especially because Israel has only hard courts, so he didn’t expect Wimbledon to showcase his breakthrough after he also reached the third round of the Australian Open. To celebrate, “I’m going to go out to 6 in the morning,” he said. Kidding.
TV stations stayed tuned to Los Angeles. “JACKO DEAD,” screamed at least two tabloids. And the very first question to Serena Williams after she advanced to the fourth round: “What did Michael Jackson mean to you personally?” (Eleven more Michael Jackson questions followed.) Turns out Williams met Jackson (and hyperventilated) a few times, learned he liked tennis, learned he had a tennis video game that helped familiarize him with Williams. “He’s just the greatest entertainer of all time for me,” she said. Turns out Roger Federer once went, sans ticket, to a concert in Basel, Switzerland, and stood outside the stadium listening. And it turns out that Novak Djokovic, the gifted impersonator, actually played Michael Jackson two years ago during the Monte Carlo tournament players’ show, which features a dance number. “So we chose ‘Thriller,’ and I was him,” Djokovic said. “So you can imagine what it looked like.” Actually -- special thanks to YouTube -- he looked fabulous.
Eighteen gone, five still scrapping. Serena Williams, of course, booked passage to the second week. Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Jesse Levine and Melanie Oudin still had a chance as of Friday night. Mardy Fish’s exit to Djokovic reduced the number from six.
NEW ROOF UPDATE
Friday morning: Clouds hovered. Forecasters guessed rain. Amateur architects and other roof enthusiasts went aflutter at the prospect of seeing a massive piece of roof history. But, no.
ALSO FRIDAY AT WIMBLEDON
No. 8-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, a looming threat on the teenage tennis horizon, grunted past fellow French Open quarterfinalist Sorana Cirstea and aimed at a potentially juicy quarterfinal with Serena Williams. . . . Trumpeting the times -- plus showing the value of having a competitive group of national players -- three Russian women advanced to the round of 16, with two more likely to follow today. In addition to Elena Vesnina and Nadia Petrova, there’s Elena Dementieva, who has lost only 12 games in three rounds. . . . No. 7-ranked Vera Zvonareva might have joined them but withdrew because of an ankle injury, ceding a fourth-round spot to Virginie Razzano of France. . . . Venus and Serena Williams advanced to the third round of the doubles with a 6-1, 6-4 triumph over Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada and Sabine Lisicki of Germany.
STAT OF THE DAY
31 -- (Amazing) number of consecutive points Ivo Karlovic won on his serve, beginning at the end of the third set against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and continuing all the way until the fifth point of the fourth-set tiebreaker.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Robin Soderling, who’ll play Roger Federer in the fourth round in a repeat of the French Open final, answering a question about whether he has “any reason to think he could get closer to Roger” on Wimbledon grass:
-- Chuck Culpepper