The prestigious grass courts of Wimbledon have been subject to controversy, late night finishes, one of the biggest upsets of all time and there is still one more week left.
Two-time champion and one of the greatest players of all time, Rafael Nadal, was beaten by world ranked 100, Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic in a second round match which shook the tennis world.
Nadal was out gunned by the unknown who played the best tennis game of his life and made everyone question his low ranking.
His 95mph ground strokes were nonreturnable even for the best defender the game has ever seen, and he showed no sign of nerves as he hit three aces in the final game to secure an outstanding victory 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
However, it was the circumstances in which the match was finished which will be the benchmark for the future of the tournament
The match was two sets all when bad light forced organizers to close the roof for the final set.
Nadal, who had the momentum at that point, was not happy about the decision.
Previously, organizers had never closed the roof to finish a match after bad light had stopped play.
With rain being the only reason for the roof being closed in the passed, the controversial decision is one that will no doubt spark much discussion in the coming days.
Nevertheless, the result will go down as one of the biggest shocks of all time at SW19 and was much deserved.
The next evening, Roger Federer looked very much like he would go the same way, two sets to love down against Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
The Frenchman was two points off victory on two occasions in the fourth set, but Federer managed to overcome Benneteau’s onslaught, and finished the final set, again played under the roof, with ease.
The final score 4-6, 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-1 sees Federer go in to the second week of his favorite tournament where he faces veteran Xavier Malisse.
Other surprises saw sixth seed, Tomas Berdych lose in three sets to Latvian Ernests Gulbis in the first round and a surprise fourth round appearances Dennis Istomen and American Brain Baker.
Baker, ranked 126 in the world, is playing his first Wimbledon at the age of 27 and will hope he can overcome 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber to get to the quarter final.
Kohlschreiber managed to see off Nadal’s conqueror in the third round, in a match which showed why Rosol is ranked at 100 in the world.
With Nadal out, all eyes are on home favorite Andy Murray to take home his first major, in what would be Britain’s first male Wimbledon winner since 1936.
Murray beat Marcos Baghdatis in the third round in the latest ever finish at Wimbledon, playing the third and fourth set under the roof, in similar fashion to the previous two evening events; Murray sealed a close match a few minutes after 11pm – the latest finish of all time.
Murray is now the highest seed in the bottom half of the draw, but he faces a tough fourth-round match against Croat Marin Cilic, who looks to be back to his best.
Cilic, who was fancied as a top five player has had stuttered progress over the last two years, but seems to be maturing into the player many predicted he would be.
Fresh off, a victory at warm-up tournament, Queens, Cilic will be more than a danger to Britain’s hopes of a home victor.
In the Woman’s side, the last 16 looks as varied as could be expected, however, favorites Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Serena Williams and Victoria Azerenka are still in the mix.
Kim Clijsters, who is unseeded following injury, is looking strong in her last ever Wimbledon.
And Tamira Paszek, who played beautifully on Wednesday to put out seventh seed Caroline Wozniaki plays Italian Roberta Vinci in a fourth round line-up which is typical of the unpredictable women’s game at the moment.
The lack of dominance in the women’s game over the last few years has caused a lower level of interest in the game.
Hopefully, the likes of Kvitova, Azerenka, Sharapova, Williams, Sabine Lisicki and Angelique Kerber can stimulate a new generation of interesting and exciting players to get the public interested in women’s tennis again.
The dominance of characterless Eastern European players hitting the ball hard from the baseline seems to be in slow decline, and the last 16 of Wimbledon sees players from China, Italy, Germany and the USA very much in the mix.
Wimbledon looks set for an exciting second week, and the grass will likely churn up a handful of upsets.
Whatever happens, the new precedent has been set for the roof on center court, and Wimbledon will never be the same again.
Late night finishes were the pattern of the first week, and with rain on the horizon, they seem to be the order of play for the next seven days.
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