De­fend­ing champ loses

Sec­ond-seeded Pe­tra Kvi­tova falls to Je­lena Jankovic in three sets at Wim­ble­don.

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY HOWARD FEN­DRICH

lon­don — About an hour af­ter flop­ping on her back and kick­ing her feet over­head to celebrate a stun­ning come­back against de­fend­ing Wim­ble­don cham­pion Pe­tra Kvi­tova, Je­lena Jankovic still was giddy.

“I can­not stop smil­ing,” she said through a gig­gle. “Youknow, here I am. Un­be­liev­able.”

Jankovic kept us­ing that word — “un­be­liev­able” — as if try­ing to con­vince her­self it were true that, de­spite never hav­ing much suc­cess on grass courts, she had put to­gether a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 vic­tory Satur­day over the sec­ond-seeded Kvi­tova, who claimed the 2011 and 2014 ti­tles at the All Eng­land club.

“I was a lit­tle bit bet­ter at the end,” the 28th-seeded Jankovic said. “I was a lit­tle bit lucky, as well.”

The 30-year-old Ser­bian didn’t come out of nowhere: She was the run­ner-up at the 2008 U.S. Open and fin­ished that sea­son ranked No. 1. But she has never been past the fourth round at Wim­ble­don, hadn’t even made it that far since 2010 and won only one of five matches at the grass-court ma­jor over the last four years.

Kvi­tova, who led 4-2 in the sec­ond set, had a dif­fi­cult time pro­cess­ing the match, too.

“I’m not re­ally sure what hap­pened out there,” she said. “Sud­denly, I was just miss­ing [shots]. So it was re­ally un­usual, prob­a­bly, or weird. I can’t re­ally ex­plain.”

Kvi­tova lost three games through two matches, even apol­o­giz­ing to her par­ents for win­ning her opener in 35 min­utes af­ter they trav­eled from the Czech Re­pub­lic to watch. But Kvi­tova ran out of steam against Jankovic, col­lect­ing only four win­ners in the fi­nal set af­ter ac­cu­mu­lat­ing 20 be­fore it.

Af­ter the tra­di­tional mid­dle Sun­day off, play re­sumes Mon­day. The top half of the women’s draw in­cludes the most note­wor­thy matchup: Ser­ena Wil­liams against Venus Wil­liams, meet­ing at a ma­jor for the first time since 2009. Those two, Maria Shara­pova and Vic­to­ria Azarenka give that side of the bracket 34 Grand Slam ti­tles.

And the eight women on the other half? They own zero. That in­cludes Jankovic, who meets No. 13 Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska next. Also Mon­day: No. 5 Caro­line Woz­ni­acki against No. 20 Gar­bine Mugu­ruza, No. 15 Timea Bac­sin­szky against Mon­ica Niculescu and No. 21Madi­son Keys against Olga Govortsova.

The men’s bot­tom-half matchups, which were de­ter­mined Satur­day: seven-time cham­pion Roger Fed­erer against No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut, 2013 cham­pion Andy Mur­ray against No. 23 Ivo Karlovic, No. 22 Vik­tor Troicki against Vasek Pospisil and 2010 run­ner-up To­mas Berdych against No. 12 Gilles Si­mon, who beat fel­low French­man No. 18 Gael Mon­fils in a match that was moved un­der the roof at Cen­tre Court as dark­ness ar­rived.

The sec­ond-seeded Fed­erer beat Sam Groth of Aus­tralia, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, to reach the fourth round. The 6-foot-4 Groth did have his mo­ments, in­clud­ing a 147-mph serve that is the sec­ond fastest in Wim­ble­don history. Fed­erer didn’t re­turn it, but he man­aged to get some racket on it.

“I think it’s about keep­ing a short back­swing on the re­turn, try­ing to see it,” Fed­erer said of his tac­tics against the big-serv­ing Aus­tralian. “And then also some­times guess­ing the right­way at the right times, remembering pat­terns where he’s gone to.”

Troicki ended the run of Dustin Brown, the qual­i­fier from Ger­many who stunned Rafael Nadal in the sec­ond round. It marks the fourth year in a row that a man ranked 100th or worse beat Nadal at Wim­ble­don, then failed to ad­vance fur­ther.

To the lo­cals’ de­light, Mur­ray beat No. 25 An­dreas Seppi of Italy, 6-2, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1.

John Is­ner, the Amer­i­can who won the long­est ten­nis match in history in 2010, lost 12-10 in the fifth set to U.S. Open cham­pion Marin Cilic, who on Mon­day will play un­seeded De­nis Kudla of Ar­ling­ton.

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