Thursday, July 1, 2021

Gauff, Rogers and Fritz Advance to Wimbledon Third Round; Wild Card Raducanu Shocks Vondrousova; Brantmeier Reaches Third Round at Roehampton J1; Olympic Teams Officially Announced

Three more Americans moved into the third round at Wimbledon with wins Thursday, joining the six that advanced on Wednesday.

Shelby Rogers completed her upset of No. 15 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece today after their match was suspended due to darkness on Wednesday with Rogers leading 7-5. Rogers closed it out by taking the second set 6-4, meaning she will play for the fourth day in a row on Friday, with No. 18 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan her opponent.

Coco Gauff returned to Centre Court for the first time since 2019, beating Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-3. Gauff said felt more jitters today than she did two years ago.

"It did feel a lot different," Gauff said. "I honestly was more nervous today coming into today's match. I think the biggest thing is I don't really remember much from my Centre Court experience in 2019. I don't know, I felt like it was all a blur."

Taylor Fritz was last seen leaving the court in a wheelchair after his second round French Open match 23 days ago, but he is now into the third round after beating Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-7(4), 6-4 in three hours and 47 minutes.

Fritz had surgery a few days later, with his meniscus not as badly damaged as he had feared.

"Yeah, the surgeon told me before we went in, you know, we think it's just you have to just snip the part that I tore off, just snip it out, and then we're good, because the rest of the meniscus looks intact. You don't need all of it. You just need, you know, most of it.

But he kind of warned me, you know, once I get in there, I'm going to check it. If it's a little bit damaged, this one part looks like it could be damaged, then I'm going to have to do a repair.

First thing when I woke up, I was loopy from the anesthesia, and the first thing I said was, did he repair it or did he snip it? They said, he snipped it."

Although four to six weeks is the standard recovery from such surgery, Wimbledon was looming and Fritz was determined to be ready.

"Immediately from then on I was just thinking, like, Wimbledon, everything I can possibly do to be here," Fritz said. "I'm positive this is the quickest anyone has ever returned to, like, actual professional competition from this surgery, definitely any sport that requires direction changes. Maybe someone has done it in golf. I have already done more than I think myself or anyone else expected. You know, taking everything into account. I just played 9 sets in the last 26 hours, three weeks out of a knee surgery."

Fritz has a day to rest Friday before taking on No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany, who beat Tennys Sandgren 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.

Former TCU star Cam Norrie continues to build on his outstanding year, joining Dan Evans and Andy Murray in the third round with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 win over wild card Alex Bolt of Australia, and he is sure to be the focus of all of Great Britain on Saturday, when he'll face Roger Federer.

Emma Raducanu
But his thunder might have been stolen today by 18-year-old Emma Raducanu, the British wild card, who got not only her first WTA Top 100 win, but her first WTA Top 50 win today, with a 6-2, 6-4 decision over No. 42 Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic. Raducanu, ranked 338, had received qualifying wild cards in 2018 and 2019 and lost in the first round both times. She will face Sorana Cirstea of Romania in the third round Saturday.

Mixed doubles will begin on Friday, with both first and second round men's and women's doubles also on the schedule.

Thursday's second round matches featuring Americans:

Alexander Zverev[4](GER) d. Tennys Sandgren 7-5, 6-2, 6-3
James Duckworth(AUS) d. Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-2
Hubert Hurkacz[14](POL) d. Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Taylor Fritz[31] d. Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-7(4), 6-4
Coco Gauff[20] d. Elena Vesnina(RUS) 6-4, 6-3
Shelby Rogers d. Maria Sakkari[15](GRE) 7-5, 6-4
Katerina Siniakova(CZE) d. Coco Vandeweghe 4-6, 6-2, 6-2

Friday's third round matches featuring Americans:

Frances Tiafoe v Karen Khachanov[25](RUS)
Denis Kudla v Novak Djokovic[1](SRB)
Sebastian Korda v Daniel Evans[22](GBR)

Shelby Rogers v Elena Rybakina[18](KAZ)
Sloane Stephens v Liudmila Samsonova[WC](RUS)
Madison Keys[23] v Elise Mertens[13]
Madison Brengle v Viktorija Golubic(SUI)

The sole American left in singles at the J1 in Roehampton is Reese Brantmeier, who defeated Julia Middendorf of Germany 6-4, 6-2. Brantmeier and Ashlyn Krueger have advanced to the doubles quarterfinals, beating top seeds Linda Fruhvirtova and Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic 2-6, 6-2, 10-5. Clervie Ngounoue and Alexandra Yepifanova are also through to the quarterfinals in doubles. 

The boys doubles quarterfinals has eight Americans still alive; Victor Lilov and his partner Peter Privara of Slovakia took out top seeds and French Open champions Arthur Fils and Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard of France 2-6, 6-3, 10-8.

The round of 16 and the quarterfinals of singles are scheduled for Friday after rain on Tuesday kept the first round from being completed.

The official announcement of the Olympic teams was released today by the ITF. From the USTA's release:
"The Olympic team will consist of 12 players – six women and six men – with four singles players and two doubles teams per gender. First-time Olympians Jennifer Brady, Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula and Alison Riske will compete in the women’s singles competition. In doubles, Nicole Melichar, also a first-time Olympian, will look to make her mark at the Games when she partners with Gauff. They will be joined by 2016 mixed doubles gold medalist Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who will partner with Pegula in the doubles draw. The women’s team will be led by coach Kathy Rinaldi (Orlando, Fla.). The men’s singles competition will see all four Americans making their Olympic debuts, as Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, Tennys Sandgren and Marcos Giron look to climb the podium. Rajeev Ram, the reigning mixed doubles silver medalist, will return to the Olympics for the doubles competition, this time partnering with Tiafoe. Austin Krajicek, a first time Olympian, will be teaming with Sandgren. The men will be led by coach David Nainkin (Los Angeles)."
Nineteen former collegians, including five from the USA, will be playing for their countries in Tokyo later this month. The ITA has compiled a list of them, with their schools and current rankings, which can be found here.