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Caroline Wozniacki, the No. 2 seed, again crashes out of Wimbledon

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrates a point against

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrates a point against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia during their Ladies' Singles second round match on July 4, 2018 in London, England. Credit: Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

WIMBLEDON — Caroline Wozniacki dealt with a swarm of flying insects on Wimbledon’s Court No. 1, enough drizzle for her to briefly wonder if conditions were safe, and two mid-match breaks from her opponent, unseeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova. The No. 2 seed, who has never gotten past the round of 16 here, again was having a very bad day.

Despite an impressive rally down 5-1 in the third set, Wozniacki again made an early exit with a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 second-round loss to Makarova.

Makarova may have been unseeded, but Wozniacki is familiar enough with her, having lost to her in the second round of last year’s U.S. Open. Sensing a pattern?

Before winning the Australian Open this year, Wozniacki has at times underperformed at Grand Slams. And it’s not just an issue on the grass; last week, Wozniacki won the title on the same surface at Eastbourne.

For whatever reason — flies, history, disappointment or rain — Wozniacki wasn’t in the mood to compliment Makarova afterward.

“It’s frustrating because I feel like I could have gone and done something really great here,” Wozniacki said. “For her to keep this level, I would be very surprised if you saw her go far. But with someone playing like this today, I really did what I could. It just wasn’t enough.”

Makarova, who will face Lucie Safarova in the third round, smiled when told of Wozniacki’s sharp-edged comment. Not go far?

“I don’t know what to say,” Makarova said. “Maybe I was lucky today. Good for me.”

As the evening rain arrived on the third day of Wimbledon, half of the women’s top 10 seeded players were out. Wozniacki joined No. 4 Sloane Stephens, No. 5 Elina Svitolina, No. 6 Caroline Garcia and No. 8 Petra Kvitova among the vanquished.

Two players who continue to win are No. 25 Serena Williams and No. 9 Venus Williams.

“Everyone is playing hard,” Serena Williams said of the losses at the top. “No one is going out there and saying, ‘Oh, I have to lose because I’m playing so-and-so today.’ These women are going out there and they’re fighting. They’re coming out to show that ‘I belong out here.’ ”

It’s hard to overstate how important a serve is on a slippery service like grass. The big servers win Wimbledon, and it’s a difficult advantage to live without once you’ve used it to win seven championships. Serena Williams hadn’t tested her serve since the French Open. It was a protective strategy, as she wanted to give her injured pectoral muscle time to rest. Although Williams’ serve was slower, it wasn’t that far off her best and reached 116 mph. Williams deftly set up points in a 6-1, 6-4 win over 23-year-old qualifier Viktoriya Tomova.

Tomova had played five straight matches between the qualifying match and her second-round loss to the No. 25 Williams, and technically, Tomova has a higher ranking.

Despite the score, Tomova played some impressive points, and at the net, Williams put her arm on her shoulder and gave her some words of encouragement.

It was a gesture that Venus Williams also made after defeating qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru, 4-6, 6-0, 6-1. It was one of four women’s matches to play on show courts Court No. 1 and Centre Court on Wednesday, a significant difference for WTA players who have been disappointed by the prominence traditionally given the men’s game here.

“I was really overjoyed when I saw the schedule for today,” Venus Williams said. “We have a lot of equal play on the main courts in the other three Grand Slams. It was just fantastic to see Wimbledon also follow suit. It’s wonderful to hopefully have that continue.”

Federer rolls on. Roger Federer won 35 consecutive service points to move into the third round as he beat Lukas Lacko, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1. — AP


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