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Less wacky, but not by much: The best of Day 3

Radek Stepanek and Novak Djokovic share a hug after their epic encounter
by Nicholas McCarvel
Wednesday 25 June 2014

It wasn’t the wacky Wednesday of 2013 at Wimbledon, but Day 3 at The Championships had plenty of drama – and a couple of upsets – as the second round got under way. Here, a look over the day and the headlines it produced on the lawns of the All England Club.

Match of the Day: [1] Novak Djokovic d Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(5)
It wasn’t an easy match on paper for the top seed and former champion, but for two-and-a-half sets it looked like it was going to be a stroll through Centre Court for Djokovic. That changed in the third-set tie-break when the Czech veteran came from 2-5 down to win five straight points and force a fourth.

The crowd got behind the underdog then, Stepanek almost breaking in the 12th game and pushing Novak in a tight breaker. But a crosscourt passing shot clipped the line from Djokovic, the match ending on a challenge from the top seed as Stepanek slunk to his knees hoping it was out. It wasn’t.

Honorary Match of the Day: Bojana Jovanovski d [8] Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
For the second straight year Azarenka was bounced out of Wimbledon in the second round, this time in dramatic fashion 12 months after she had to opt out of her round two match (after being injured in the first). The Belarusian former world No.1 was playing in just her third match in a comeback from another injury, but the Serbian 22-year-old was too much, a human backboard on a day when Azarenka didn’t have the shots to hit through her.

Upset of the Day: Andrey Kuznetsov d [7] David Ferrer 6-7(5), 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Ever a consistent force on the men’s tour, Ferrer entered Wednesday’s match having made at least the third round of 17 straight Grand Slams, a streak that would – after five sets – be ended by his Russian opponent.

Kuznetsov, a junior champion here in 2009, has struggled with the transition to the senior tour, the 23-year-old arriving at The Championships as the world No.118. But he was too good for the ever-consistent Spaniard, hitting 77 winners to Ferrer’s 26 and booking a place in the third round against Leonardo Mayer.

Photo of the Day: Above, a hug between Djokovic and Stepanek after their highly-dramatic, much-appreciated affair on Centre Court, which got a standing ovation.

Tweet of the Day: He was here yesterday, but it was this morning that actor Hugh Jackman tweeted out this photo of him with Rafael Nadal. Pretty cool, right?

Stats of the Day: Andy Murray won on this day, a 6-1, 6-1, 6-0 drubbing of Slovenian Blaz Rola. The win over Rola took just 84 minutes, and it was the fastest match Murray has played at Wimbledon – ever. Also: Aleksandr Dolgopolov hit 42 aces and 84 winners in his match against Benjamin Becker today, which he won 6-7(4), 7-6(0), 6-3, 6-4.

'Did you just see that?' of the Day: It no doubt was the last hour of Djokovic-Stepanek, which riveted those on the grounds (and us in the press centre) as the Czech pressed Djokovic for all he was worth. Notable was a challenge from Stepanek towards the end of the set that was correct (Radek’s ball was in on the baseline), but chair umpire Carlos Bernardes ruled to have the point played again. Sportingly, Djokovic told Stepanek the point was his. Well done, Novak.

Quote of the Day: Venus Williams, who won to set up a third-round clash with Petra Kvitova on Wednesday, had this to say of her sister Serena: “I think we motivate each other. We want to see each other win. I guess I haven't held up my end of the bargain. I tried. I just haven't had the luck I've wanted.”

Not Quite Done... Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Sam Querrey are not doing it the easy way. Both had to come back on Tuesday to complete first-round matches that began on Monday. On Thursday, they will resume their second-round match at 9-9 in the fifth set after it was called for darkness at 9:22pm.

Video of the Day: Murray gets interviewed by the BBC’s Hacker T. Dog. Hilarity ensues.


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