The Commercial Appeal
U.S. men knocked out of Wimbledon
Serena rolls on to 33rd straight win
LONDON — What a stark statistic for the nation of Bill Tilden and Don Budge, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi: It had been 101 years since no men from the United States reached Wimbledon’s singles third round.
And the most recent time it had happened, in 1912, no Americans even entered the oldest Grand Slam tournament.
By the end of Thursday, all 11 U.S. men in the 2013 field at the All England Club were gone, with topseeded Novak Djokovic accounting for the last one by beating 156th-ranked qualifier Bobby Reynolds 7- 6 (2), 6-3, 6-1. Earlier in the day, former top-five player James Blake lost to Bernard Tomic of Australia 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, and qualifier Denis Kudla was beaten by Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-1, 7- 6 (4), 7-5.
That trio joined 18thseeded John Isner, 21stseeded Sam Querrey, Ryan Harrison, Steve Johnson, Alex Kuznetsov, Wayne Odesnik, Rajeev Ram and Michael Russell on the way home.
“It’s a tough stat to hear, but I still believe, right now, where U.S. tennis is, not too many guys are in their prime. That’s why the numbers are like that. But a lot of guys are, maybe, in the tail end of their careers and a lot of guys are coming up,” said Kudla, a 20-year-old from Arlington, Va., who is ranked 105th. “Maybe next year, or the year after that, things could change. You have to go through a little bit of a struggle to get some success.”
Led by top-seeded and defending champion Serena Williams, the U. S. women still are represented in singles at Wimbledon this year. James Blake of the United States, a former top-five player, lost to Bernard Tomic of Australia on Thursday at Wimbledon. All 11 U. S. men in the 2013 field at the All England Club are out of the tournament after top-seeded Novak Djokovic eliminated the last one, Bobby Reynolds.
Williams extended her winning streak to 33 matches, the longest on tour since 2000, by eliminating 100th-ranked qualifier Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2, and 18-year- old Madison Keys knocked off 30th-seeded Mona Barthel of Germany 6-4, 6-2.
Keys next plays 2012 runner- up Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, and Williams goes from a 19-year-old opponent in Garcia to a 42-year-old in Kimiko Date-Krumm, the oldest woman to reach the third round at Wimbledon since the Open era began in 1968.
“I have so much respect for her. I think she’s so inspiring to be playing such high-level tennis at her age,” said Williams, who at 31 is the oldest No. 1 in WTA rankings history. “And she’s a real danger on the grass court, I know that. I definitely will have to be ready.”
Date-Krumm broke a record held by Virginia Wade, who reached the third round in 1985 at 39.
“I watched her play when I was super young, growing up,” said Williams.
“Doesn’t matter how hard you hit it, she sees the ball and gets it back,” Williams said. “She has great hands, a wonderful great volley, comes to net a lot, which on grass can be tricky. And she plays really flat too, so the ball stays really low.”
Already into the third round with a victory a day earlier was No. 17 Sloane Stephens, while the match of another American, wild- card entry Alison Riske’s contest against Urszula Radwanska — Agnieszka’s younger sister — was postponed by rain Thursday.
“I can’t put my finger on why the women are doing better than the men,” Reynolds said.
He wound up facing Djokovic with Centre Court’s retractable roof closed because of the first drizzles of the fortnight, which prevented five singles matches from starting and forced the suspensions of three others.
There were two more injury-related exits, raising the total of players pulling out of the second round to nine.