Amer­i­can stuns two-time champ

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — Madi­son Bren­gle knew that her op­po­nent, Pe­tra Kvitova, was a two-time Wim­ble­don cham­pion and a pop­u­lar pick to win the ti­tle again this year.

Bren­gle also was aware that she had never won so much as one main-draw match at the All Eng­land Club un­til this week. The 27-yearold from Dover, Del., ad­mit­tedly was fo­cused on just win­ning a game against Kvitova on Wed­nes­day evening. The 95th-ranked Bren­gle did just that — and much more, stun­ning the 11th-seeded Kvitova 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 to reach the third round at Wim­ble­don.

Bren­gle lost to Venus Wil­liams 6-0, 6-0 in her Wim­ble­don de­but in 2015.

“That’s al­ways in my head

when I’m out here,” Bren­gle said, point­ing a finger at her right tem­ple. “It’s like, ‘Oh, my good­ness, don’t do that ever again!’ That was re­ally tough for me.”

She didn’t need to stress about a shutout for too long:

Bren­gle broke the strong-serv­ing Kvitova to take the very first game.

“As long as I got on the board to start, then I could re­lax,” Bren­gle said with a smile, “be­cause, trust me, an ‘O-and-O’ stays with you.”

Now she’ll have this vic­tory to cher­ish, along with an­other one from this year that also holds some sig­nif­i­cance: Bren­gle beat Ser­ena Wil­liams at a tuneup tour­na­ment in Auck­land, New Zealand, on Jan. 4. Wil­liams went on to win the Aus­tralian Open later that month and hasn’t played since — she is preg­nant and tak­ing at least the rest of this year off — so Bren­gle is, for the mo­ment, the last wo­man to defeat the 23-time Grand Slam cham­pion.

“That’s my thing,” Bren­gle said, hold­ing up a fist and laugh­ing. “I’m go­ing to hold on to that one for­ever.”

Kvitova, who won Wim­ble­don in 2011 and 2014, had been fa­vored by some Bri­tish book­mak­ers to lift the tro­phy at the

end, de­spite com­pet­ing in only her third tour­na­ment of her comeback. She was at­tacked by a knife-wield­ing in­truder at her home in the Czech Repub­lic in De­cem­ber and needed surgery on her left hand, the one she uses to hold a racket.

Still with­out full strength in that hand — clench­ing it for a cel­e­bra­tory fist pump re­mains dif­fi­cult — Kvitova re­turned at the French Open in May, los­ing in the sec­ond round there. But then she won a grass-court ti­tle at Birm­ing­ham in June.

“I feel just re­ally empty right now. I know my body; it’s not great. But men­tally I’m re­ally glad that it’s over. I mean, it was kind of a fairy tale, but on the other hand, it was very tough,” she said. “I just need to look for­ward and look to the fu­ture.”

Kvitova said she felt ill Wed­nes­day, and she was vis­ited by a trainer in the third set.

The tem­per­a­ture soared to­ward 85 de­grees af­ter be­ing in the low 70s the prior two days.

“When the match [got] longer and longer, I felt a lit­tle bit sick and tired. So I couldn’t re­ally move. I was so slow,” she said. “I felt like, I don’t know, like an an­i­mal. But a very slow an­i­mal.”

Bren­gle took ad­van­tage by play­ing plenty of slices and chang­ing speeds and an­gles. She was out-hit by a wide mar­gin in the sec­ond set, but her stead­ier play in the third was enough. In the first and last sets com­bined, Kvitova made 45 un­forced er­rors to 11 for Bren­gle.

Kvitova was one of a half-dozen seeded women to lose on Day 3, a group that also in­cluded No. 15 Elina Ves­nina (beaten by new mom Vic­to­ria Azarenka, a for­mer No. 1 and two-time Aus­tralian Open cham­pion), No. 17 Madi­son Keys, No. 18 Anas­tasija Sev­as­tova, No. 22 Barbora Strycova and No. 25 Carla Suarez Navarro.

The ac­tion was much more straight­for­ward in the men’s draw, with vic­to­ries by de­fend­ing cham­pion Andy Mur­ray and Rafael Nadal, who has won the last 26 Grand Slam sets he has played.

Top-seeded Mur­ray was un­trou­bled by one of the trick­ier play­ers on the cir­cuit, beat­ing Dustin Brown 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

Nadal ad­vanced over Amer­i­can Don­ald Young 6-4, 6-2, 7-5.

Sev­enth seed Marin Cilic set­tled in for a vic­tory, beat­ing Flo­rian Mayer 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5), 7-5. Ninth seed Kei Nishikori had to work to go past Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 6-1, 7-6 (8-6).

No. 16 Gilles Muller out­lasted Lukas Rosol 7-5, 6-7 (79), 4-6, 6-3, 9-7 over al­most 3 3/4 hours while Amer­i­can Sam Quer­rey stopped Georgian Nikoloz Basi­lashvili 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

AP/KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH

Madi­son Bren­gle de­feated two-time cham­pion Pe­tra Kvitova 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 at Wim­ble­don on Wed­nes­day. In her Wim­ble­don de­but in 2015, she lost to Venus Wil­liams 6-0, 6-0.

AP/KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH

Pe­tra Kvitova lost to Amer­i­can Madi­son Bren­gle in the sec­ond round at Wim­ble­don on Wed­nes­day. A two-time Wim­ble­don cham­pion, Kvitova was com­pet­ing in her third tour­na­ment since she was at­tacked by an in­truder at her home in the Czech Repub­lic in De­cem­ber.

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