LONDON--A Serbian slump, a Spanish flurry.
That's the early story out of Wimbledon today, with Serbia's Jelena Jankovic, the No. 2 seed in the women's singles competition, bounced out today by little-known journeywoman Tamarine Tanasurgan of Thailand.
Jankovic join's fellow Serbs Ana Ivanovic (No. 1) and Novak Djokovic (No. 3 on the men's side) as early upset victims this year. All three surged to the top of their respective tours in the past year, but all three were beaten early here at the world's most important tennis tournament.
Jankovic, with her left knee taped after jamming in on Saturday, couldn't keep pace with the groundstrokes of Tanasurgan, one of the hottest players on tour after winning a pre-Wimbledon tourney in the Netherlands. Jankovic couldn't seem to move well enough on her sore knee, and she had her serve broken three times in the second set to lose a surprisingly lopsided 6-3, 6-2 verdict to the world's 60th ranked player.
(UPDATE: The No. 4 seed among the women, Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova, was upset in three sets by Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, leaving fifth seeded Elena Dementieva as the highest seeded player left in the women's draw. Sisters Serena and Venus Williams, the sixth and seventh seeds, both won easily today.)
With Spain still riding the wave of emotion after capturing Euro 2008 in Vienna on Sunday night, meanwhile, three Spanish men arrived in the Round of 16 today at the All-England Club hoping to make history for their country.
Rafael Nadal, seeded No. 2, is in some minds the favourite to end Roger Federer's domination of the English greensward. (UPDATE: Nadal crushed Russia's Mikhail Youzhny today, while Federer easily defeated former Wimbledon champ Lleyton Hewitt). Fernando Verdasco and left Felipe Lopez, both lefthanders like Nadal, were also still alive today, hoping for a quarterfinal berth.
(UPDATE: Verdasco was eliminated this afternoon, losing a marathon five-set match to Mario Ancic of Croatia. Ancic, who lost the first two sets, won the final set 13-11, finishing off Verdasco with an ace down the middle. Lopez later outlasted Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus in another five-setter, 8-6 in the final set, giving Spain two quarterfinalists.)
No Spanish male has won this tournament since Manuel Santana in 1966.
But here's a little historical parallel. When Amelie Mauresmo won the Wimbledon singles title in 2006, she was the first Frenchwoman to capture the title since Suzanne Lenglen in 1926.
In '06, of course, France also
won made the final of soccer's World Cup, but lost to Italy.
This year, Spain has won Euro '08. Could another tennis achievement follow?
NOTES: Canada's Daniel Nestor and his doubles partner, Serbia's Nenad Zimonjic, moved into the quarterfinals today with an impressive straight sets victory over Britain's Jamie Murray and Max Mirnyi of Belarus. The only other Canadian left at Wimbledon, junior Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., won his first round match in straight sets over James Chaudry of Britain to advance.