Similar to this year’s edition of the NCAA college basketball tournament, many a Wimbledon bracket was busted after the first two days. “July Madness” claimed players ranging from title contenders like Sloane Stephens and Grigor Dimitrov to former champions Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova.
In all, 17 seeds between both draws lost their opening-round matches. Now that the path to Grand Slam glory has been somewhat cleared, who will be able to reap the benefits?
On the women’s side, Donna Vekic—who shocked Stephens in the first round—is now through to the third round after her straight-sets win on Wednesday. She’ll face Yanina Wickmayer next, who beat Andrea Petkovic in a battle between veterans. Petkovic posted an upset of her own in the first round when she knocked the 31st seed, Shuai Zhang, out of the tournament. Julia Goerges (No. 13) and Barbora Strycova (No. 23) are the only seeds remaining in this section—and those two are drawn to face each other in the third round.
WATCH—Daily Serve from Day 2 at Wimbledon:
Opportunity abounds throughout the draw for unseeded players. For instance, in the top half, the battle between Aliaksandra Sasnovich—who shocked the tennis world with her win over Kvitova—and Taylor Townsend will do battle with a career-best Wimbledon showing on the line. And in the bottom half of the draw, there’s an intriguing second-round match on tap between Belinda Bencic, who upset the No. 6 seed Caroline Garcia in the opening round, and American Alison Riske, who’s at her best on grass courts. The winner would likely face the 27th-seed Carla Suarez Navarro, a clay-court standout, for a fourth-round berth.
Seeded players outside of the Top 10 have a chance to make a dent in the draw as well, with Angelique Kerber (No. 11) and Jelena Ostapenko (No. 12) favored for quarterfinal runs.
Among the men, three unseeded players could potentially face top seed Roger Federer in the round of 16, after his Halle conqueror Borna Coric was ousted in his first match by Daniil Medvedev. Dimitrov’s loss also creates an opportunity in the top half of the draw for a quarterfinalist few pundits would have predicted.
While Dominic Thiem and David Goffin weren’t among the heavy favorites, the first-round elimination of the respective seventh and 10th seeds has shaken up their sections of the draw. Marcos Baghdatis, the former Wimbledon semifinalist who was the beneficiary of Thiem’s match retirement, faces Karen Khachanov next. The winner of that match would face the victor from another youth-versus-experience battle between Julien Benneteau and Frances Tiafoe, who beat the 30th seed Fernando Verdasco in the first round. Either of those four could find themselves across the net from Kyle Edmund or Novak Djokovic in the round of 16.
An unseeded player from Goffin’s portion of the draw is guaranteed to make the round of 16 after the 18th seed Jack Sock was bounced from the tournament in his opener. The path to the quarterfinals was made a little easier for Juan Martin del Potro, grass-court specialist Feliciano Lopez, Benoit Paire and the young Canadian Denis Shapovalov—after they do battle among themselves.
Holes have been punched—and punched again—through the draws after the first round of the tournament. Creating momentum from there will require focus against players looking to make their own inroads along an easier path.
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