Zheng Dumps Ivanovic in Third Round of Wimbledon
LONDON—World number one Ana Ivanovic's luck finally ran out at Wimbledon on Friday when she was toppled 6-1 6-4 in the third round by China's Zheng Jie.
Forty-eight hours after the Serb saved two match points against Nathalie Dechy, the second with the help of a netcord, she suffered an astonishing meltdown on Court One.
The French Open champion struggled to keep the ball in play as she either sprayed errors off the court or scooped shots into the net with alarming regularity.
The 133rd-ranked Zheng could hardly believe her eyes when Ivanovic shovelled a service return into the net to gift her the first set in 30 minutes. It was all over 42 minutes later when Ivanovic miscued a shot high into the sky on match point.
Kuznetsova Gives Herself a Wimbledon Birthday Gift
Russian number four seed Svetlana Kuznetsova gave herself the perfect birthday present on Friday, an easy Wimbledon victory that took her into the fourth round.
Kuznetsova, three times a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon, turned 23 in style with a 6-2 6-4 victory over fiery Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
"You want always to have a win, otherwise your birthday is a bit bad," she told reporters before heading off into central London for a Japanese sushi meal with friends.
But she will not be painting the town red.
"Hopefully we can have a good time but I cannot have a big celebration, otherwise it's not Wimbledon for me anymore."
Playing on her birthday posed problems for Kuznetsova as she was determined beforehand to focus on the job in hand but the good wishes kept flowing in.
"I get so many messages ....I was just about to switch off all the phones but then it is nice because I appreciated people writing about me and thinking about me," she said.
For she once had a birthday to forget at Wimbledon.
"The worst one was—I remember this for sure—I won (Wimbledon warm-up tournament) Eastbourne and then I lost first round to (France's Virginie) Razzano and I had to stay and play doubles.
"It was the worst birthday and I was on my own in my room."
With the shock early exit of Maria Sharapova, Kuznetsova now leads the Russian charge at Wimbledon—nine of the last 32 in the women's competition are Russian.
Why then their huge success?
Kuznetsova, who in 2004 became the first Russian woman to win the U.S. Open, puts it all down to mental toughness. Winning is the great motivator when you are hungry.
"I was practising indoors without heat. It was very cold, like zero, three degrees. Because we had no support, we grew up strong," she said.
"There is success because of the mentality, because of how we grew up, because we had nothing easy. We have no big federation who gives us money, who supports us."