Jankovic spreads wings while Brown flies too close to the sun
Nadal’s Wimbledon conqueror crashes, Serb outsider beats women’s champion
Jelena Jankovic of Serbia celebrates match point in her Ladies’ Singles third-round match against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during day six of Wimbledon on Saturday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
But Jankovic added more drama to centre court’s storied history with twice winner and world number two, Petra Kvitova, falling after three sets that initially swung in the defending champion’s favour but then irredeemably with Jankovic.
A surprise? It is seven years since she reached her only Grand Slam final, in New York, and she has teetered on the brink of tumbling outside the top 30.
Against Kvitova, a player who had dropped just three games in her previous two rounds on a surface that brings out her attacking best, Jankovic was a whipping boy. She has never before managed to crack the fourth round at the All England Club and had this week taken a scenic route of drawn-out three setters just to make it this far.
Kvitova raced to a 6-3 first set and a break up for 3-1 in the second. Polished and with percussive ground strokes, defeat stared Jankovic in the eyes.
But Kvitova stopped play mid-rally to challenge a baseline call, despite appearing to have won the point with her next backhand. It proved costly. The ball was shown to have caught the baseline and Jankovic went on to hold for 5-4.
Rattled by her critical error of judgment, Kvitova imploded, sending a forehand metres long to give her 28th seed opponent match point, before dumping a limp backhand into the net to end her campaign before the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009.
“I took a challenge because I really thought it was out,” said Kvitova. “That surprised me, unfortunately, in a bad way. It was still 30-all and was a good chance to, you know, have a break. But unfortunately she served well and I didn’t make it. Not to be in the second week of the favourite tournament for me is really sad. I don’t really know what I can say.”
“I think I always believe in myself, no matter what,” said Jankovic. “Like I said, if I’m healthy, if I can put that work in on a daily basis and work hard, improve, I always think I can do it. I’m not old. I’m still young at heart. I look pretty good, so why not? . . . I mean, give me a break, guys. What’s old?”
She will find out if she is flying to close to the sun and fall heavily like Brown in the second match on court three. Brown fell to Viktor Troicki, who two years ago prompted Novak Djokovic to launch an astonishing attack on tennis’s anti-doping programme.
The world number one claimed he no longer had any trust in the system after his friend and Davis Cup team- mate Troicki was told that he would have to serve a 12- month ban for missing a drugs test. Troicki’s claimed he was misled by the doping officer.
He defeated Brown 6-4, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3, and meets Canada’s Vasel Pospisil in the fourth round.
Andy Murray had to come through a speed wobble and drama in the third set to beat Andreas Seppi, but showed enough character to remain the biggest threat to Novak Djokovic’s title defence.
After two hours and eight minutes Murray came away from his 6-2, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 win over the Italian relieved at how he handled what he appeared to regard as Seppi’s outrageous gamesmanship in the third set, when he took a medical time out, only to return and win six games in a row over the next half-hour, breaking Murray twice to take the set.