Wimbledon seems to be setting a trend of firsts. Last year Nikolas Mahut and John Isner played the longest match in the history of the game. This year brings a new set of firsts: the world’s No. 3 seeds Roger Federer lost for the first time in a Grand Slam after leading two sets to love. Not to mention the fact that the dynamic duo of Venus and Serena Williams were knocked out of a tournament before reaching the quarters for the first time.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg for Wimbledon excitement.
Let’s start with the ladies.
As I mentioned before, the Williams sisters were knocked out on the same day for the first time since 2008. This not only signified a difficult loss for the women, but also for tennis fans seeing as this is the first time in five years that neither sister will play in the quarters at Wimbledon.
Four-time champ Serena lost 6-3, 7-6 (6), to Marion Bartoli of France, and big sis Venus was knocked out 6-2, 6-3 by Tsvetana Pironkova. Prior to this year, Venus and Serena won the last nine of 11 Wimbledon titles.
You would think with the Williams sisters out of the equation, Danish super-star Caroline Wozniaki, who also happens to be the No. 1 seed, would have a good chance to shine … wrong. The No. 24 seed Dominika Cibulkova defeated Wozniaki 1-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5. Even though she holds the title of No. 1 in the world, the Dane has yet to win a Grand Slam title.
Now, there are just two women standing: No. 5 seed Maria Sharapova and No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova.
Sharapova defeated Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-4, 6-3 to earn her spot in the finals. Her future competitor and fellow finalist, Kvitova, took down Victoria Azarenka to become one step closer to her first Grand Slam title.
And now for the gentlemen.
Six-time Wimbledon champion Federer held a record of 178-0 when winning the first two sets of a grand slam title. No. 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga put an end to that.
In a five-set victory, Tsonga came back from behind, and played arguably the best tennis of his career. He appeared extremely calm and in control on the court. In the latter sets, the Frenchman forced Federer to the net on multiple occasions, and then repeatedly hit the corners with winners.
This is the second consecutive year that Federer has lost in quarters at Wimbledon — even though he is approaching 30 years old in August, he believes that there are many more Grand Slam opportunities to come in the future.
No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic scuffled his way past rising Australian star Bernard Tomic. Djokovic’s body language throughout the match was extremely defeated — which was suiting because he almost lost. If the 18-year-old Aussie hadn’t lost his cool, there’s a very large change that Djokovic would have been knocked out of the tournament. But like any great match, the difference between winning and losing is just a couple of break points, and luckily for the Serb, he broke enough to pull out a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory.
On the other side of the Draw, even with an injured left foot No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal beat American No. 10 seed Mardy Fish 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. There was speculation before the match that Nadal would have a difficult time pulling out a win because of his injury, but the Spaniard proved that wrong.
The final piece to the semi-final puzzle is British hometown hero, No. 4 seed Andy Murray. The Brit has certainly attracted attention at Wimbledon — British Royalty Prince William and Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge graced the grass courts to support their fellow countryman in the round of sixteen. It appears as though the newlyweds brought Murray good luck, because he not only won the round of sixteen, but he breezed through Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the quarters.
If the results thus far are any indication of how the rest of the tournament will play out, then I am certainly double-buckling my seatbelt, because it should be a wild ride.