One upset is cute. Two is intriguing. But last week at Wimbledon was an absolute mess. And the one guarantee–Serena Williams at the late-career peak of her powers sweeping through the field–is now like many of the scuffed courts at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (where’s that championship? Come on, ESPN8–the OCHO!): not holding up well. Only five of the top 16 Mens seeds reached week two…and six of the top 16 women advanced to round four.

The Nadal-Federer Quarterfinal “I can’t believe this is a quarterfinal” match? Erased the first day by a guy who wouldn’t even be able to play two days later. Steve Darcis and his 135th in the world ranking turned the tennis world upside-down…and instead of the upset being the big story of the first few days, it was merely the first chapter. Nadal’s pursuit of Federer’s 17 Grand Slams remains stalled at 12…as the King of Clay shows feet of clay on grass (although technically Nadal’s worst surface is the deco hardcourt of the US Open). Did this mean Federer’s path was made easier? Not after stumbling in the second round–his earliest Grand Slam exit since the 2003 French Open. This also means the onetime #1 in the world has reached two Grand Slam Finals in three years. The 31-year old may have one last Samprasesque run left for that final Major, but it’s not happening here this year. Sharapova? Sayonara…and with it a lot of 18-34 year old guys who like womens’ tennis for the scrabble possibilities but not much else. A first time Grand Slam champ will emerge in the womens’ bracket as the last American (Sloane Stephens) losing in the quarterfinals gives this tournament a completely foreign flavor.

This year reminds me of 1999 when Andre Agassi completed his career Grand Slam by surviving and advancing in a bracket so busted the only seeded player he faced was #4 Carlos Moya in the fourth round. That’s right–his wins in the final three rounds came against unseededs or qualifiers. That gives Great Britain hope in Andy Murray–who when he wins he’s a Brit, and when he loses he’s a Scot. But the 26 year old has made four straight final fours at Wimbledon…including last year’s runner-up finish. Perhaps this is the year the UK finally breathes a sigh of relief as one of their own bows to the Queen.

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