Round two, recapped: the thrilling promise of a Wimbledon more open than expected
Still disrupted by Covid (third withdrawal for the men), Wimbledon 2022 retained its main favorites in the second round (Nadal, Djokovic, Swiatek). But the draws are opening wider.
Wimbledon has not known, since Tuesday, a match with such high tension as the end of the duel between Serena Williams and Harmony Tan on Tuesday night on Centre Court. There was indeed another tiebreak in the men’s final set, but it will go down in history for the absurd way it ended, with that penalty point for ball abuse inflicted on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina … on match point in favor of Jiri Vesely.
In the absence of an emotional peak of this level in the second round, the tournament offered intense, pleasant tennis matches with favourites who, like Djokovic in the first round, are just beginning to find their form. Swiatek lost a set and confesses to the fact that grass is “tricky” for her.
Join the club.
Nadal also gave up a set and glared at his left foot on several occasions. And Covid-19 was the ultimate dark horse in week one, as it eliminated one seed per day (Robert Bautista Agut this Thursday) and poses a threat that places everyone on an equal footing.
The loss of many seeds (15 for men, 16 for women in two rounds) already makes several quarters of the singles draw extremely open.
Finally, the only “thrashing” on a big court to have aroused interest this Thursday carried an important message. Authored by Nick Kyrgios against Filip Krajinovic, it allowed the Australian to define himself as a potential winner of the tournament. This is the first time that this ambition has come out of his mouth. It comes at the best time: he will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round.
It remains plausible at this stage that the men’s final pits Djokovic against Nadal and the women’s final Swiatek against a top profile like Jabeur, Sakkari, Kerber or Ostapenko. But shouldn’t we by now know to expect the unexpected?
Main theme of the men’s draw: Kyrgios wants to be part of the title hunt
We already knew it: when he plays relaxed and evolves at his best level on grass, Nick Kyrgios is not far from being unplayable, for anyone. Bothered by Brit Paul Jubb in the first round, the Australian walked on water against Krajinovic (6-2, 6-3, 6-1) and awakened this idea that this has too rarely happened to him in Grand Slams.
We knew less: Kyrgios’ interest and affection for the Wimbledon tournament sparked a training sequence this year that he presents as very intense, with the ambition of winning the title. It would be a huge sensation to see the world No 40 put his money where his mouth and it would certainly help to make the 2022 edition unforgettable.
His third round against Stefanos Tsitsipas will allow him to walk the walk. Kyrgios has had plenty of success against the Greek in Halle (5-7, 6-2, 6-4) and leads 3-1 in their head-to-head. If successful, Kyrgios would play Nakashima or Galan in the round of 16 and then De Minaur, Brooksy, Garin or Broady in the quarter-finals.
Other touch points on the men’s side:
- 15 of 32 seeds left the tournament in two rounds. A gaping total that makes several quarters of the table particularly open. In addition to that of Kyrgios, that of Djokovic’s potential opponent in the semi-finals is impressive: Cameron Norrie, seeded 9, is the mathematical favorite of this section. He will play Johnson then Paul or Vesely, before a quarter against Tiafoe, Bublik, Humbert or Goffin.
- Along the same lines, Taylor Fritz (11) has emerged as the logical favorite to face Nadal in the quarter-finals.
- Only 7 of the 20 best players in the world have qualified for the 3rd round of Wimbledon: Djokovic, Nadal, Tsitsipas, Alcaraz, Norrie, Sinner and Fritz.
- Novak Djokovic is the only survivor of the 2021 quarter-finals. Shapovalov, a brilliant semi-finalist against Djokovic, left the tournament this Thursday against Nakashima (6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6).
Key point on the women’ s draw: Swiatek keeps streak alive but is searching for form
When Iga Swiatek loses a set, it is now an event. The one that the Polish world number one dropped against the Dutch Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove, lucky loser and 138th in the world (6-4, 4-6, 6-3), confirms that the winner of Roland-Garros probably has a smaller margin of error against her competition in London.
The winner of Wimbledon Juniors 2018 confirms that the grass seems generally foreign to her tennis: “Frankly, I always have the feeling that I have to adapt to the grass. (…) I try to stay open and positive, to adapt, and to give myself the right to play without any particular expectation and to see what the tournament will give.”
Alizé Cornet, her next opponent, is not the kind of competitor to give up an inch of ground in such a context. She beat Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2014. If successful for Swiatek, then Barbora Krejcikova would be a likely next opponent. Not a cakewalk.
Other touch points on the women’s draw
- The third round between Serena Williams and Karolina Pliskova will not take place. Instead, Wimbledon will be treated to a duel between Harmony Tan and Katie Boulter. Boulter took out 2021 runner-up Pliskova and Tan confirmed her win over Serena by dominating Sorribes Tormo. The winner will face the winner of the duel between the young Americans Gauff and Anisimova.
- Belgian Kirsten Flipkens ended her career as a singles player on Court No. 2 against Simona Halep, with a moving hug not free of a few tears. Beautiful moment!
- Halep, like Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber, is one of the former winners who gracefully advanced through two rounds of the draw, unlike Garbiñe Muguruza, dismissed in the first round by Minnen (6-4, 6-0).