So much for the light and the joy. Jelena Jankovic made a hasty exit from Wimbledon in the first round today, defeated in straight sets by Kaia Kanepi. JJ did manage to crack up part of the crowd (and herself) over some antic or other she performed (her back was to the television camera) when Kanepi double-faulted on her first match point.
Commentator Chris Evert just couldn't stop making excuses for Sabine Lisicki's loss in last year's final. Of course, every time she did that, she dismissed the considerable accomplishment of Marion Bartoli. Evert was mystified that Lisicki plays well only at Wimbledon. I was waiting for a discussion of Tsvetana Pironkova, but then, the BWOM kind of messed up that discussion by winning Sydney this year. Oh--and she was taken out in the first round today by Varvara Lepchenko.
Lisicki, for her part, cruised into the second round.
Help! The really fun players are disappearing quickly.
No more Sveta. Wimbledon Russian-killer Michelle Larcher De Brito took care of that. There was a time, not that many years ago, when Larch De Brito was considered The One. She turned out not to be The One (though there's still time), but she caused a stir at Wimbledon last year when she beat Maria Sharapova in the second round. And though beating Kuznetsova isn't quite the same thing, it's still worthy of noting.
What's worthy of noting is what Caroline Garcia went through to defeat Sara Errani. She had to serve for the match twice, she saved a match point, and she and won it 2-6, 7-6, 7-5. Karolina Pliskova was down 2-5 in the third set, but beat Karin Knapp 6-7, 6-4 10-8. The match lasted more than two hours and 40 minutes. Pliskova's sister, Kristyna--a former junior Wimbledon champion--didn't make it, losing 6-8 in the third to Yaroslava Shvedova, who saved two match points.
Both Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova advanced easily, though Williams had to work very hard to win the opening game against Anna Tatishvili. Daniela Hantuchova had multiple opportunities to get out alive against Genie Bouchard, and missed every one of them. Bouchard defeated her 7-5, 7-5.
Aga Radwanska (but not her sister), Ana Ivanovic and Simona Halep all advanced, as did Vicky Duval, Heather Watson and Madison Keys. Seeds who were upset today were Jankovic (7), Errani (14), Roberta Vinci (21), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (26), Kuznetsova (28), and Sorana Cirstea (29). Both Donna Vekic and Belinda Bencic advanced to the second round.
A little off-topic--all that "Mrs. Li" stuff is getting on my nerves. I realize that the Brits (and unfortunately, most USA citizens) don't use the "Ms." honorific, but if you're going to use the "traditional" system (which is the only one in Great Britain, and which forces a woman to reveal her marital status), then do it correctly: The Chinese star is not "Mrs. Li;" she is "Mrs. Jiang." So much for Wimbledon propriety.
Don't forget that you can listen to Radio Wimbledon, and you can also listen to Radio Tennis. Ken Thomas is broadcasting from The Rose & Crown Pub every day.