There was another rain delay at Wimbledon today, so matches are still running behind schedule. 4th seed Victoria Azarenka and 25th seed Daniela Hantuchova had to endure a 40-minute break while the Centre Court roof was put up. Hantuchova entered the tournament with an abdominal strain she sustained in Eastbourne, and then had to have her shoulder taped during today's 3rd round match. She had beaten Azarenka the two other times they had played, but today, it was Azarenka who prevailed. After the rain break, Azarenka came out in a blaze, and her 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory sets up a quarterfinal match against--yes, she's still standing--Nadia Petrova, who defeated Kateryna Bondarenko.
Tsvetana Pironkova, whose dangerous doppelganger has once again appeared on the grass courts of Wimbledon, pulled today's big upset. She defeated 2nd seed and 2010 runner-up Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-3. Zvonareva was having some trouble with her ankle, but my gut feeling was that even a healthy Zvonareva would have gone out to the 32nd seed. Pironkova made it look so easy, as she served extremely well, was a consistent success at the net, and made only five unforced errors.
Pironkova has to face Venus Williams in the round of 16. Last year, Pironkova defeated Williams in the quarterfinals at this event, so there is some built-in drama regarding this year's match. Williams advanced to the fourth round by running over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. I recently mentioned that Martinez Sanchez has a great serve--when it's on. It was way off today, and--to make matters even worse for the Spaniard--Williams did everything just about as well as it could be done. Martinez Sanchez won only two games.
I didn't think Laura Robson would do as well as she did against 5th seed
Maria Sharapova, but the young British player rose to the occasion.
Nevertheless, it was Sharapova's occasion, and she won it 7-6, 6-3.
Observers of women's tennis must have wondered how long Svetlana Kuznetsova could hang on. Well, Yanina Wickmayer answered that question for us today, by defeating the 12th seed 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Wickmayer, who is seeded 19th, will play Petra Kvitova in the next round. Kvitova hasn't dropped a set in three rounds, and today, she hit 37 winners against Unicef Open champion Roberta Vinci.
Eastbourne champion Marion Bartoli had to fight it out against Lourdes Dominguez Lino, while top seed Caroline Wozniacki continued to quietly (probably a good thing) advance. Peng Shuai took out Elena Baltacha--there are now no Brits left in the draw. And Ksenia Pervak upset 11th seed Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 7-6.
6th seed Francesca Schiavone and Tamira Paszek were caught in a rain delay and will have to finish their third set tomorrow.
French Open champion Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, seeded 7th, were defeated in the first round of doubles play by Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska. The big-serving team of Sabine Lisicki and Sam Stosur defeated Jelena Jankovic and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-1.