For the second consecutive day, few seeds lost at Wimbledon. But two highly touted women’s players crashed out of the draw on an otherwise straightforward day of play.
Most notably, the third-seeded Simona Halep suffered a surprising upset at the hands of world No. 106 Jana Cepelova. Perhaps fans should not be quite so surprised at this result—Halep seems to be forming a habit of losing early in Grand Slams—she posted similar results at this year’s French Open and the 2014 U.S. Open.
Halep has had a solid year—winning in Shenzhen, Dubai and Indian Wells—but has struggled at the Slams. Her situation is reminiscent of Caroline Wozniacki’s struggles at major tournaments—Wozniacki too has yet to win a Grand Slam and has struggled to play well at them.
Halep’s loss is part of a larger phenomenon in both the men’s and women’s games concerning players who have the talent to win Slams but—for one reason or another—do not seem quite able to go all the way when they most need it.
Like Wozniacki, the “best player to never win a Slam” label previously afflicted Andy Murray before he won the 2012 U.S. Open. Before Murray, the designation plagued Elena Dementieva, Marcelo Rios, and Todd Martin. Every generation seems to have players that struggle in the sport’s most important venues.
This may happen for a variety of reasons, one being a player’s misfortune of a career that intersects with those of many Hall of Fame players. Take, for example, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Tomas Berdych, two players that would most likely have won Slams by now were it not for the Big Four. In any case, the women’s game is far more open now than the men’s, and one reasonably would expect the world’s third-ranked player to be contending in the second week of Grand Slams.
Similarly disappointing was the defeat of 12th seed and last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard by Chinese qualifier Duan Ying-Ying. The discrepancy in ranking points due to this year’s result will cause Bouchard’s ranking to drop outside of the top 25.
Bouchard later told reporters that she played with a tear in her abdomen but this statement comes off more as an excuse than a legitimate explanation. Bouchard has not made the semifinals or finals of any tournament this season. Perhaps this loss will serve as the wake-up call she needs to get her game back on track.
Despite the two shocking losses, Day 2 at the All England Club otherwise proceeded as expected. Top-seeded players Wozniacki, Murray, Petra Kvitova, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all moved to the next round with straight-set victories. Sixth seed Berdych won four tightly contested sets against Jeremy Chardy and Tsonga needed five to prevail against Gilles Muller.
Day 3 at Wimbledon will feature stars Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams as they play for a place in the third round. Potential upsets still exist, and perhaps Wednesday will bring unexpected results.
At Wimbledon one can always count on history being made regardless of outcomes.