Garbine Muguruza suffers earliest exit for defending Wimbledon champ in 24 years
LONDON (AP) — Garbine Muguruza insisted she wasn’t thinking about attempting to collect a second consecutive Wimbledon championship. She was adamant that she was not focusing on defending her title.
“It doesn’t really matter,” she would say, “what happened in 2017.”
Well, it seems safe to say she’ll really want to forget what happened at the All England Club in 2018. Muguruza was stunned in the second round 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 by 47th-ranked Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium on Thursday, the earliest exit for a defending women’s champion since Steffi Graf in 1994.
“It’s a little bit sad,” Muguruza said. “But today didn’t go my way.”
That’s become a familiar refrain for prominent women at this topsy-turvy Wimbledon.
Only two of the top eight seeded women are still in the field after four days of action.
No. 3-seeded Muguruza joined No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 4 Sloane Stephens, No. 5 Elina Svitolina, No. 6 Caroline Garcia and No. 8 Petra Kvitova on the way out so far, along with five-time major champion Maria Sharapova.
“I mean, anyone, on a good day, can beat anyone,” Van Uytvanck said. “That’s what I think. I still think the top players, their average level is higher than, let’s say, sub-top players. But anyone on a good day can beat anyone, for sure.”
Sure seems that way, particularly this week.
Among the men, too.
Resumes and past performances do not matter. At all.
Marin Cilic, for example, entered his second-round match with all sorts of advantages in experience and success over his opponent, including a runner-up finish at the All England Club a year ago and a U.S. Open title in 2014.
So when Cilic took a two-sets-to-none lead against a guy who began the week with records of 0-2 at Wimbledon and 6-15 at all majors, it appeared the No. 3 seed was on his way to a straightforward victory and a step closer to a potential semifinal rematch against defending champion Roger Federer.
Hold that thought. The outcome that seemed obvious vanished, and Cilic is gone from the field, giving away a big edge in a 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 loss to 82nd-ranked Guido Pella of Argentina in a match completed Thursday after being suspended midway through the third set because of rain the evening before.
Cilic called it a “big disappointment.”
“Just didn’t feel so good. I was not as accurate as yesterday,” he said. “I was just missing some balls, giving him chance to keep playing.”
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