Mystery men into Wimbledon last-16


The Championships - Wimbledon 2013: Day Six

Unheralded Pole Lukasz Kubot and fellow twilight zone journeyman, Kenny de Schepper of France, capitalised on the culling of Wimbledon seeds to secure surprise fourth round spots on Saturday.

Kubot, the 31-year-old world number 30, defeated French 25th seed Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the Wimbledon last-16 for the second time and celebrated his achievement with an impromptu can-can on Court 18.

De Schepper, the 26-year-old world number 80, beat Argentine 22nd seed Juan Monaco, 6-4, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 to book a last-16 spot at a major for the first time in his career.

Kubot, who also made the fourth round in 2011, is the second Pole to reach the last-16 after 24th seed Jerzy Janowicz also booked his place on Friday.

It is the first time that two Polish men have got this far at any Grand Slam in the Open era.

Kubot next faces French world number 111 Adrian Mannarino who has made the last-16 at a major for the first time in 14 attempts.

Left-hander De Schepper will face experienced Fernando Verdasco in Monday’s fourth round after the Spanish former top 10 player, now at 54 in the world, cruised past temperamental Latvian Ernests Gulbis, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

Russian 20th seed Mikhail Youzhny, a quarter-finalist in 2012, defeated Serbia’s Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 and goes on to face British second seed Andy Murray.

The lop-sided bottom half of the draw has been caused by the shock early exits of defending champion Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marin Cilic, the 10th seed.

Women’s 2011 champion Petra Kvitova, the eighth seed and highest ranked player in her half after the exits of Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, reached the fourth round with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 defeat of Russian 25th seed Ekaterina Makarova.

Czech star Kvitova had trailed 1-2 in the final set when the tie was halted overnight but in sunny, fast conditions on Court One, she stormed past Makarova whose defeat means that for the first time in 13 years at any Grand Slam there are no Russian women in the last-16.

“I had still in my mind the match from yesterday so I didn’t sleep very well but I fought for every point and I won,” said Kvitova.

“I’m the highest seeded player in my half but still there are a lot of great players. Grass is special and someone can play very well so it’s still very open.”

Later Saturday, top seeds and title favourites Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams aim to move into the fourth round.

World number one Djokovic takes on French 28th seed Jeremy Chardy who he has defeated six times in six meetings without dropping a set.

The pair’s last meeting was in the first round at Wimbledon in 2011 when Djokovic cruised through for the loss of just six games on his way to his first and only title at the tournament.

The Serb has yet to drop his serve at Wimbledon this year, but having seen Federer and Nadal both knocked out in the first three days, he is taking nothing for granted.

“I don’t think about the final because it’s still a very long way. I think the fact that the top players lost in the last few days gives enough reason for all of us to not underestimate any opponent and not look that far,” he said.

“It’s sport. This is what happens. Everybody, especially lower ranked players in the opening rounds, have nothing to lose really when they go on the centre stage and they come up with their best game.”

Defending women’s champion Williams and Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm, two players with a combined age of 73, will clash in a battle of Wimbledon senior citizens.

Top seed Williams is on a winning streak of 33 matches and is widely tipped to clinch a sixth Wimbledon title next weekend now that major rivals Sharapova and Azarenka are out.

Victory will also give the American her 600th tour victory.

Date-Krumm, 42, has reached the Wimbledon third round 17 years after she last did so to become oldest woman to achieve the feat.

Despite their many years on tour, Williams and Date-Krumm, who made the semi-finals in 1996, have never played each other.

Elsewhere on Saturday, fourth seed and 2012 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska meets highly-rated American, Madison Keys, while China’s sixth seed Li Na takes on Czech 32nd seed, Klara Zakopalova.

Also looking for fourth-round spots in the men’s singles are fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer who plays Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov while 2011 runner-up Tomas Berdych, the seventh-seeded Czech, faces South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.


Edited by Staff Editor


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