Three Stars: Day 7

Monday June 27th, 2011

Ninth-seeded Marion Bartoli (above) squandered four match points against Serena Williams before closing the deal with a service winner. (Simon Bruty/SI)

WIMBLEDON, England — A look at three individuals whose performances stood out in the fourth round at Wimbledon:

1. Marion Bartoli. What a shock to see both Williams sisters go out, Serena at the hands of Bartoli, 6-3, 7-6 (6). But whereas Venus was simply awful in her 6-2, 6-3 loss to Tsvetana Pironkova, scattering misfires all over Centre Court, Serena wasn’t too far from her best against Bartoli. She constantly served her way out of trouble, fought off four match points, and was drilling her groundstrokes at the most crucial times. Interesting thing, though: Bartoli’s groundies had even more power. She played with strength and conviction. And in the moment that marked a turning point in her career -- match point No. 5 -- she drilled a crisp first serve that left Serena no chance with a lunging backhand. Great stuff.

2. Mardy Fish. So much was going on, with the Williams’ saga and the potential of Roger Federer and/or Rafael Nadal going down, nobody paid much attention to Fish in his Court 2 battle with Tomas Berdych. Now carrying U.S.hopes all by himself, Fish hammered out a 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 win over the man who reached last year’s final. Heading into this event, the 29-year-old Fish had never been past the quarterfinals of  any major. Now he has one against Nadal. Richly deserved exposure for a player who worked hard to get there. 3. There’s no way it goes to just one person. It must be shared among (a) Andy Murray, who remembered to bow to royalty -- Prince William and his new wife, Kate Middleton -- after his 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Richard Gasquet, then said, “If I’d known they were coming, I would have shaved.” (b) Bernard Tomic, the 18-year-old Australian sensation who was devastatingly good in his 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 dismissal of veteran Xavier Malisse; and (c) Feliciano Lopez -- or “Deliciano,” as Murray’s love-struck mother calls the dashing Spaniard on Twitter -- coming from way back to defeat Lukasz Kubot, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-5. So Murray gets Lopez next; will mom be conflicted?

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