WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Until Friday, Laura Granville went five years without winning a third-round Grand Slam match against anyone, much less Martina Hingis. Knocking off the 1997 Wimbledon champion made all the American’s toiling in tennis’ minor leagues worth it.
Until Friday, No. 9-seeded James Blake was gaining confidence and thinking he was ready for an extended stay at the All England Club. Instead, he lost, making Andy Roddick the only U.S. man left in the tournament.
Until Friday, Janko Tipsarevic had never beaten anyone ranked higher than 20th, never won three consecutive matches at any tournament and was perhaps best known for the piercings on his face and the Dostoyevsky-quoting tattoo on his forearm. Now he can boast of saving a match point en route to beating No. 5 Fernando Gonzalez, the Australian Open runner-up.
Until Friday, this year’s Wimbledon was missing much in the way of unexpected results. And while four-time defending champion Roger Federer got past Marat Safin, as expected; and Roddick beat Fernando Verdasco, as expected; and Serena Williams and Justine Henin won, too, the draws did begin to look a little different.
That’s thanks in part to Granville, who is ranked 77th and arrived at the All England Club with a losing record in 2007.
She upset No. 9 Hingis 6-4, 6-2 to reach the fourth round of a major for the second time in 23 tries — and first since 2002.
In the meantime, a lack of success on the main tour sent her in search of victories at smaller events.
“There are points where you ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this? Why am I here in the middle of Oklahoma, with two people watching?’” said Granville, who won NCAA singles titles for Stanford in 2000 and 2001. “But I think that’s what keeps me going — I feel like I haven’t reached my potential. I haven’t played my best tennis yet.”
The Chicago native acknowledged that Hingis didn’t exactly play her best tennis on Court 2, known as the “Graveyard of Champions” because of a series of stunning results.
Hingis missed 1 1/2 months before Wimbledon with back and hip injuries.
She seemed a tad slow and plopped herself down in a sideline chair after getting broken to open the second set, even though it wasn’t time for a changeover.
“I just didn’t want to miss Wimbledon,” the five-time major champion said. “Probably at the end of the day, it wasn’t, like, the smartest thing.”
Granville’s next opponent, No. 31 Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands, also served up a surprise, defeating No. 8 Anna Chakvetadze of Russia 7-6 (8), 6-7 (5), 6-2.
That match was suspended because of rain after Krajicek went ahead 6-5 in the first set on what Chakvetadze thought was an incorrect line call.