Shock as Tennis Giants Fall at Wimbledown

Why you won't be seeing the Williams sisters and other top players in the finals

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After last week's stunning three-day, record-breaking match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, Wimbledon is again topping the sports headlines. As if in defiance of the World Cup's popularity, the tournament has been the stage for not one but several massive upsets of the world's top players, including world number two Roger Federer's loss to Tomas Berdych just minutes ago. Who else has fallen from the grass courts?
  • Andy Roddick After coming in second in a grueling five-hour final last year, the American left the tournament early in a defeat by number 82-ranked Yen-hsun Lu. As the Associated Press report says, "You know that clash between Andy Roddick and Roger Federer in the Wimbledon finals that we've gotten used to recently? Forget it this year."
  • Venus Williams  The five-time Wimbledon champion was stunned yesterday when she lost to Tvetana Pironkova (also ranked 82nd), failing to make it to the finals. The champ hasn't won a grand slam other than Wimledon since 2001, and her early exit this round has some commentators asking if this is the end.
  • Kim Clijsters  After her stunning win in the U.S. Open last year, the athlete, who had recently returned from a brief retirement, had high hopes of making it far at Wimbledon. Russian Vera Zvonareva made sure that didn't happen when she beat the player yesterday. Diane Pucin writes in the LA Times that "as this Wimbledon quarterfinal progressed, it was Clijsters who seemed to lose her nerve, making bunches of unforced errors and being unable to penetrate the Zvonareva power."
  • The Williams Sisters  They've won 12 grand slam titles in doubles, but today proved too much and the two were defeated by Vera Zvonareva and Elena Vesnina in the quarter-finals. Martyn Herman of Reuters calls this end to the sisters' "stranglehold" over women's doubles a shock because "the top seeds and champions here for the past two years had not dropped a set on their way to the quarters."
Tough stuff for tennis's top least most of them. In light of Federer's fall from grass and the English soccer team's fall from grace at the World Cup, Toby Young at the Telegraph wonders if the time is right for British tennis phenom Andy Murray to reclaim the cup for Britain.
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