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