Lucky-loser Davis stands tall as she continues long climb back to higher rankings
LONDON — July 4, 2019: Defending champion Angelique Kerber was dumped out of Wimbledon today as she suffered a stunning 2-6 6-2 6-1 second-round defeat by American Lauren Davis, who began the year ranked outside the world’s top 250.
Davis, who at 5 ft 2 in is a diminutive figure on the women’s tour, stood tall to secure a remarkable victory over the three times Grand Slam champion who beat Serena Williams to win last year’s final.
German Kerber raced through the first set before the match turned wildly on its head and Davis, who needed a lucky-loser spot to play in the tournament, lost only three more games.
After taking the second set, the 25-year-old Davis turned the screw on Court Two and wrapped up victory in an hour and 55 minutes when fifth seed Kerber netted.
“It’s definitely surreal,” said Davis, who had previously been a top-30 player but had fallen to 252 in the world by the end of 2018.
A rapid rise back up the rankings had taken her up to number 95 heading into Wimbledon, where she lost in the qualifiers before being handed a reprieve with a lucky loser spot after a wildcard entry went unused.
“It’s definitely been incredible. I was super disappointed having lost the last round of quallies,” she said. “I found out less than two hours later that I got into main. I was ecstatic… It’s honestly a dream being here.”
Davis was the more aggressive, outhitting Kerber with 45 winners to 13, and broke the German’s serve eight times in the match to set up a third-round meeting with number 30 seed Carla Suarez Navarro.
The contest had started well for Kerber as she broke for a 4-2 lead in the first set and then again to love in the eighth game to clinch the opener.
Yet after a visit from the trainer, Davis turned the encounter on its head.
“Of course I’m disappointed,” said Kerber. “Of course, it’s not the way I would like to finish here or to play here. But you have sometimes days like that. You have to accept it. You have to learn from it, trying to forget this as soon as possible.”
Tomic fined for playing below standards; lost first-round match in just 58 minutes
Australian Tomic was fined 45,000 pounds for not playing to “required professional standards” after he put in minimal effort during a 58-minute, first-round thrashing by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, organisers said.
Fans looked bemused as the 26-year-old world number 96 lost Tuesday’s match 6-2 6-1 6-4, a performance described as appalling and embarrassing on social media.
“It is the opinion of the referee that the performance of Bernard Tomic in his first round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did not meet the required professional standards, and therefore he has been fined the maximum amount of 45,000 pounds which will be deducted from prize money,” organisers said in a statement.
With first-round losers at Wimbledon receiving 45,000 pounds, Tomic exited the tournament empty-handed following his latest run-in with the All England Club’s authorities.
He was fined $15,000 in 2017 after admitting faking an injury during a first-round loss to Mischa Zverev, saying later he was bored with Wimbledon.
When asked to sum up his performance on Tuesday, Tomic said: “I played pretty bad.” Asked to elaborate, he said: “I just played terrible.”
He found a surprising ally, however, in Tsonga, who said after his second-round win over Ricardas Berankis today that he sympathised with the Australian.
“That’s touchy. Because you never — they will do that with him and not with others? And I think it’s a little bit too much,” Tsonga told reporters.
“In the third set he played and it was tight. And I played well to win this set. So I don’t know.”
American Sloane Stephens expressed her surprise too, saying she was not 100 per cent on board with tournaments deciding on a player’s effort levels, calling it a slippery slope.
“When you start doing that and being the judge of what happens and how people earn a living, that’s when it gets a little tricky,” she said.
It is not the first time Tomic has been in trouble for not trying.
He was nicknamed “Tomic the Tank Engine” after accusations he tanked — or failed to try his best — in a loss to Andy Roddick at the 2012 U.S. Open.
The Australian also broke the record for the quickest loss at a Masters-level tournament on the ATP Tour after being crushed 6-0 6-1 in 28 minutes by Finn Jarkko Nieminen in Miami in 2014.
Tomic faced match point holding his racket backwards in a defeat by Fabio Fognini at the 2016 Madrid Open.
Tomic, trailing 0-40 as Italian Fognini tried to serve out the match at 6-2 5-4, held his racket by the head with the handle pointing forwards and barely moved as his opponent fired an ace past him to seal victory.
Tomic, who was once hailed as being among the game’s brightest emerging talents, has now lost in the first round of his last three Grand Slams, exiting the French Open in May with a straight-sets defeat in a match lasting 82 minutes. — Reuters