Wimbledon Day 5 recap: Dimitrov battles back, Venus falls to Kvitova
LONDON -- Day 5 of Wimbledon started with a touch of rain, but once the clouds cleared, another big upset hit as Li Na exited the tournament. But the real drama of the day unfolded on Centre Court later, as the battle of two former champions lived up to its billing.
Grigor Dimitrov survived his first test: The Dimitrov hype-machine has been on full-throttle the last two weeks, especially after the 23-year-old ran through the field at Queen's Club to win his first grass title. After easing his way through the first two rounds without breaking a sweat, he finally got a challenge from No. 21 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, who took a two-sets-to-one lead before Dimitrov battled back to win 6-7 (3), 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 and advance to the second week of Wimbledon for the first time. Before today, Dimitrov had never even made it past the second round at Wimbledon. He'll face No. 64 Leonardo Mayer in the quarterfinals, and if he wins that, he may get a shot at Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.
Petra Kvitova got the better of Venus Williams: I wrote in my preview that this battle of former champions would be a barn burner; little did I realize that was going to be an understatement. Over the course of two-and-a-half hours, each woman broke serve just once, and the two exchanged heavy groundstrokes that left the Centre Court crowd gasping. Venus broke to love to take the first set 7-5, but lost the second set tiebreaker 7-2. The two continued to hold their serves until Venus blinked first, getting broken to end the match 5-7, 7-6 (2), 7-5. Kvitova, who finished with 48 winners to 34 unforced errors and hit 11 aces, called it her best grass-court performance since she won the title in 2011. Venus hit 25 winners and 18 unforced errors, with six aces. Point total: Kvitova 109, Williams 108.
Li Na bowed out: No. 2 Li was at the losing end of the biggest upset at Wimbledon so far, losing in straight sets to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Moral of the story: Always pay attention to what happens in Birmingham. And if you're Li, the lesson is to play Birmingham.
Lleyton Hewitt may have played his last match at Wimbledon: Hewitt set the record for the most five-set matches played at Grand Slams when he forced fifth setter No. 42 against 15th seed Jerzy Janowicz. Unfortunately, the Australian couldn't overcome the Pole's power, losing 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-3. As he left the court Hewitt turned to the crowd to give them a wave. Was that some sort of signal?
"You never know," the 33-year-old said. "I'm one injury away from hanging up the bats at any time."
Andy Murray coasted past Roberto Bautista Agut: The Brit has looked incredibly relaxed and calm in his title defense so far, advancing to the fourth round with a resounding 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over the No. 27 seed.
Fabio Fognini's Wimbledon adventure ends on Court 17: It was curious to see a third-round match between two seeds stuck out on an non-show court, but that's what you get when one of the players picks up a $27,500 fine in large part for denting the courts. Kevin Anderson beat Fognini 4-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
"I don't know if there is an exact reasoning," Anderson said about the court assignment. "Maybe assuming something to do with my opponent and some of the antics he's had this week so far." Maybe.
No. 6 Tomas Berdych goes out in darkness to Marin Cilic: It was too dark for Hawk-Eye to work anymore on No. 3 Court and yet play continued much to Berdych's chagrin. By the time Marin Cilic closed out a 7-6, 6-4, 7-6 upset it was 9:38 pm, the latest finish for an outdoor match at the tournament. For point of reference, the 2008 Wimbledon final between Nadal and Federer, which also flirted with a suspension for light, ended at 9:15 pm.
Photo of the day
Photo of the day: "Ouch" edition
Video of the day
We had a bird invasion on No. 3 Court. Was Rufus the Hawk on a Pimm's break?
Quote of the day
"People have been trying to retire me since I was like 25. For some reason in tennis we always do that to our players. It's weird. We don't encourage them to stick around. It's like, Get out of here. So I'm not getting out of here. I think this year has been a great year for me. I've had some tough losses, but I've learned a lot from them. I'm finding my way back on my feet. I'm proud of myself for what I'm achieving on the court."
-- Venus Williams
Tweets of the day
Chair umpire in Andy Murray's match looks like Rod Stewart. — Andrea Petkovic (@andreapetkovic) June 27, 2014
Dame Amelie Mauresmo. — Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) June 27, 2014
Average ground strokes on CentreCourt today (thanks, our man Hawkeye Pete): Venus: 72 mph Kvitova: 72 mph Djokovic: 72mph Simon: 71 mph — Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) June 27, 2014