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Americans Exceed Low Expectations for the Day, Aided by The Luck of the Draw

Falconi only casualty, losing to Vika


June 26, 2012 | 10:03 PM

American tennis can't do any better than today, and as there were no major upsets today - the highest seed to lose was #14 Lopez - the main focus here will be Americans' performance. This focus won't last many more days, and we wouldn't have it were it not for the luck of the draw pitting 5 of 6 American men in action today against opponents who have never won a match at Wimbledon.(several were clay court specialists). Only Jesse Levine's opponent, 94th ranked Karol Beck, had been beyond the 1st round at The W. Needless to say, this lucky streak will end.

But with several American men just back on the grass after injury and illness related breaks, regardless of the competition, expectations were not high today:

- Fish hadn't played a match since Miami in March when he was diagnosed with a heart arrythmia;

- Querrey had missed 3 months last year starting before Wimbledon and saw his ranking drop 100 spots from #26 a year ago, and has experienced no notable success this year;

- Brian Baker, the 27 year old come-back kid, returning from 5 surgeries and over 3 years of inactivity,is competing on grass for the first time in 5 years, and at Wimbledon for the first time ever. But the luck of the draw gave each

Irina Falconi was the only US casualty of the day: unlucky to have drawn #2 seed Vika Azarenka, she lost 6-1, 6-4.

Of course, since it's England, not quite everyone finished before a shower suspended play at 8:30:

- Roddick is up a set (7-6) and a break (4-2) on British WC Jamie Baker

- Wayne Odesnik is at 2 sets each with German Bjorn Phau

- Coco Vandeweghe is down match point at 1-6, 3-5, ad-out to French finalist #10 seed Sara Errani

Even if 2 of those 3 matches are lost tomorrow, Americans have to be happy. There was an expected win (Serena), a couple of wins that should have happened (Fish, Lepchenko), and a couple of pleasant surprises (Querrey, Levine, Baker):

- Serena def. Strycova 6-2, 6-4

- Lepchenko def. Mahr-Achleitner 6-2, 6-3

- Querrey def. Pospisil 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4

- Levine def. Beck 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-2

- Fish def. Hidlago 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (1)

- Baker def. Machado 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-0

Baker, Fish and Levine all have winnable matches in their 2nd rounds. Querrey will probably be up against Raonic, who will resume play tomorrow serving for the match at 5-4 in the 3rd against Giraldo.

Should Roddick win, he'll play the winner of American Odesnik and Phau.

Through the 1st round, 7 of 10 men won, and 2 more are in a position to finish with a win, while 5 of 10 women won.

The prospects are short for any of the Americans to go deep, with the exception of Serena, who looked very comfortable on grass after she got past a few games of jitters.

- Fish didn't look as lost on court as he might have after 9 weeks off - grass is a great surface for him to return to - but his opponent was a clay courter with little aptitude or record on grass, 82nd ranked, 34 year old Ramirez Hildalgo, who has never won gone past the 1st round at Wimbledon. After his match, Mardy was too tired or sick to attend his press conference, but he may have less reason to be discouraged with his game than Isner, who admitted to feeling completely at a loss as to what to do on court these days. Mardy wouldn't be a prospect to go farther if he didn't have a great draw to the 4th round with Tsonga now that #20 seed Tomic has lost.

Odds are that at least Mardy will get though his next one, Jamie Ward, a Brit without prior wins at Wimbledon or anywhere else to speak of, and ranked close to 200 (Ward also benefitted from drawing a clay courter without a Wimbledon win to his name, Pablo Andujar).

After that, Mardy could face David Goffin, the young Belgian who upset #20 seed Bernie Tomic today in 4 sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Tomic's defensive abilities were too limited for him to extend points with the aggressive Goffin, who converted over 80% of 27 points at net and served 11 aces (Goffin reached the 3rd round in Paris and took a set from FED). Goffin will play Jessie Levine before he gets a crack at Fish.

Querrey and Levine both played excellent tennis against serious opposition (though Sam's opponent, the other big Canuck, 6'4" Vasek Pospisil, has yet to win a match at The W., he is only 21 years old). Both Americans were very effective at the net and hit a lot of winners with a low error ratio. Sam popped 19 aces in 4 sets (the same number as his next opponent, Raonic, has in almost 3 sets)

Levine credits some of his savvy to having practiced with Federer at off season camps, remarking that Fed would give him tips as they played to help him take better advantage of situations during points. Fed played Jesse's next opponent, David Goffin, 3 weeks ago in Paris - a phone call might be worth Jesse's time since he can't bump into Roger in the separate lockerroom used by the top seeds (it's a sweet space, as elegant as any private club men's room, though too small for the top guys to feel separate from their high seeded opponents in the later rounds; the women's top seeds also have suitable private space, decorated with the fashionable floral designs of a modern Newport or Cape Cod women's sitting room).

Brian Baker was the sharpest of any of the American men, winning 17 of 17 points at the net and 75% of the points on his serve and 45% on return. His next opponent will be a real test: 42nd ranked Jarko Nieminen has been as high as #13 and, at age 30, has plenty of experience winning on grass (he was a quarterfinalist in 2006). Jarko outplayed #14 seed Lopez in a very close 4 sets, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

AMERICAN WOMEN

The win of the day for US women only took 4 games.

Christina McHale returned to the court for the conclusion of her 3rd set from 7-7, playing against the crowd favorite, Brit Johanna Konta. She got more of what she'd faced yesterday in barely holding on: an aggressive blitz that forced her quickly on the defense. Every game was a struggle, including the last one when she served for the match and fell behind 0-40. An ace gave life, and when her opponent saw her winning forehand attempt sail way long on the next point, she came apart, sending 3 more after it quickly.

Next up for McHale is 81 ranked French woman, 27 year old Mathilde Johansson, with 8th seed Kerber looming in her 3rd round.

In spite of Konta's diasappointment, the Brits are as giddy as the Yanks today about their little fortune: their top 2 women, Keothavong and Baltacha, both won. They too will face better competition in the next round: Errani and Vvitova. On the men's side the two Scots, Jamie Ward and Andy Murray passed the opening bar. Murray's next foe may next need to do some giant slaying, if Ivo Karlovic can finish off Dudi Sela tomorrow.

WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE OF PLAY (4 Show Courts)

Centre Court

1:00 PM

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Roger Federer (SUI)[3]

v

Fabio Fognini (ITA)

LADIES' SINGLES - 1ST ROUND

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[7]

vs

Tamira Paszek (AUT) To Finish 2-2

LADIES' SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Andrea Hlavackova (CZE)

v

Kim Clijsters (BEL)

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Novak Djokovic (SRB)[1]

v

Ryan Harrison (USA)

No. 1 Court

1:00 PM

LADIES' SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Arantxa Rus (NED)

v

Samantha Stosur (AUS)[5]

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - 1ST ROUND

Andy Roddick (USA)[30]

vs

Jamie Baker (GBR) To Finish 7-6(1) 4-2

LADIES' SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Maria Sharapova (RUS)[1]

v

Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Xavier Malisse (BEL)

v

Gilles Simon (FRA)[13]

No. 2 Court

11:30 AM

LADIES' SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Heather Watson (GBR)

v

Jamie Lee Hampton (USA)

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Ryan Sweeting (USA)

v

Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)[8]

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)

v

Richard Gasquet (FRA)[18]

LADIES' SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)

v

Angelique Kerber (GER)[8]

No. 3 Court

11:30 AM

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Jeremy Chardy (FRA)

v

Juan Monaco (ARG)[15]

LADIES' SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)[3]

v

Elena Vesnina (RUS)

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - 2ND ROUND

Nicolas Almagro (ESP)[12]

v

Guillaume Rufin (FRA)

Rick

6.26.12 Wimbledon Day 2 Recap; Previ


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