Wimbledon, Day 6: Nadal Takes Down Petzschner; Serena, Wozniacki, Sharapova, Soderling Win

SB Nation's Ben Rothenberg breaks down the action from Day 6 at Wimbledon.

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Wimbledon: No. 2 Rafael Nadal Wins In Five Again

No. 2 Rafael Nadal survived in five sets for the second straight match, beating No. 33 Philipp Petzschner 6-4, 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3.

The first seven games of the final set were holds, but Nadal’s break in the eighth game quickly expedited the finish, as he ended in the next game with an easy hold.

Nadal faces another player with questionable closing skills, unseeded Paul-Henri Mathieu, in the next round. After that one, though, things will get real serious real fast against No. 6 Robin Soderling. It’s tough to see him making it past that match with the way he’s playing now.

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Wimbledon: No. 2 Rafael Nadal Forces Fifth Set Against No. 33 Philipp Petzschner

No. 2 Rafael Nadal has forced a fifth set for his second consecutive match at Wimbledon, winning the fourth set 6-2 over No. 33 Philipp Petzschner.

The fourth set completely turned on its head early on, when Nadal called out the trainer for the second time in the match, to work on his right knee. The move killed all of Petzschner’s momentum, and Nadal quickly broke the German on his next service game.

Only Nadal knows for sure how much of his decision to call the trainer was tactical, but it can fairly be said that his movement never looked impaired either before or after the injury timeout.

Nadal also was questioned by chair umpire Cedric Mourier about possible illegal coaching of Nadal by his coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, and eventually gave a clear signal to his uncle to knock off whatever it was he had been doing.

To epitomize just how complete his collapse has been, Petzschner lost set point with a double fault.

Petzschner is known as one of the game’s biggest chokers, so to see him blow this lead would hardly be surprising.

Because turnabout is fair play, Petzschner has now called the trainer himself, and is now getting his left hip massaged.

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Wimbledon: No. 16 Maria Sharapova Wins, Will Face No.1 Serena Williams In Fourth Round

No. 16 Maria Sharapova is into the second week at Wimbledon for the first time since 2007 with a hard fought 7-5, 6-3 win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic. It was the rare straight set grass court match that took over two hours, with match point coming after 2:04 of play.

Sharapova was erratic, but her 35 unforced errors were sufficiently countered with 34 winners. She dictated play throughout, and became steadier and steadier as the match came to a close.

The win sets up a tantalizing fourth round encounter with No. 1 Serena Williams, for the pair’s first meeting on grass since Sharapova stunned Serena in the 2004 Wimbledon final. Serena has been the more consistent of the two, but I definitely like Sharapova’s chances to make it interesting, at least.

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Wimbledon: No. 2 Rafael Nadal Trailing No. 33 Philipp Petzschner Two Sets To One

No. 2 Rafael Nadal has lost the second and third sets and is now trailing No. 33 Philipp Petzschner of Germany in a third round match on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Petzschner has been taking advantage of short first and second serves from Nadal, and currently leads the match 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5).

This is the second consecutive match in which Nadal has gone down two sets to one, after needing five to beat Robin Haase in the second round.

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Wimbledon: No. 1 Serena Williams Hammers 20 Aces, Beats Dominika Cibulkova

Defending champion and top seed Serena Williams outlasted a tough second set challenge from Dominika Cibulkova to win 6-0, 7-5 and advance to a likely fourth round showdown against No. 16 Maria Sharapova.

The biggest story of the match was Serena’s serve, which was utterly dominant against the diminutive Cibulkova. Serena fired off 20 aces, her highest total in several years.

But Cibulkova too was impressive, digging herself into the second set of the match effectively. She not only served well (holding five times), she anticipated Serena’s shots much better better, allowing her ample time to get to each ball in time to lean into it effectively and drive it over the lowest part of the net.

Serena played extremely well throughout, but all the same seemed dissatisfied with her performance after the match. If that (somewhat irrational) disappointment in herself means that she’ll play even better in the next round against Sharapova, then I suppose its a good thing.

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