Speaking about the anyone-can-beat-anyone feel, 37th-ranked Jurgen Melzer of Austria said: “There has been so much talk about it, you cannot ignore it.”
He did manage to put a stop to it, however, at least as far as Sergiy Stakhovsky was concerned. Two days after serving-and-volleying his way past defending champion Federer, Stakhovsky played like a guy ranked 116th, losing 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 to Melzer.
“I think,” Stakhovsky said, “I just played stupid.”
It’s a common sight at major tournaments: An unknown player knocks out a big name, then fails to follow it up with another victory.
The same thing happened to 66th-ranked Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, who went from beating 12th-seeded Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open titlist, on Wednesday to losing to No. 19 Carla Suarez Navarro 7-5, 6-2 on Friday. And 131st-ranked qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal, who eliminated four-time major champion Maria Sharapova in the second round, then bowed out 7-5, 6-2 against 104th-ranked Karin Knapp of Italy in the third.
“That was a huge win for me,” Larcher de Brito said. “But it was tough for me to hang in there today.”
Among Friday’s noteworthy results: Grega Zemlja became the first Slovenian man to reach Wimbledon’s third round by edging No. 29 Grigor Dimitrov 11-9 in the fifth set of a match suspended by rain Thursday night and interrupted again Friday; No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz’s serves reached 140 mph and he delivered 30 aces in a straight-set victory over No. 15 Nicolas Almagro; No. 4 David Ferrer, the runner-up to Nadal at the French Open, also won, as did 35-year-old Tommy Haas.
In women’s play, wild-card entry Alison Riske gave the U.S. a fourth woman in the round of 32 — no American men made it that far for the first time in 101 years — and plays Saturday against Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, who defeated No. 7 Angelique Kerber 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3.
Riske joins countrywomen Serena Williams, the defending champion; No. 17 Sloane Stephens; and Madison Keys. Stephens’ third-round match against Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic was suspended Friday night because of fading light after they split the first two sets. Two other matches were halted in progress, one with 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova trailing No. 25 Ekaterina Makarova 2-1 in the third set.
Showers delayed play on a start-and-stop day, and four scheduled men’s matches never even got going.
“It’s an outdoor tournament,” Murray said. “It’s better if we get to play outside.”
That said, he likes the way the indoor conditions allow him to swing away, and Murray was on-target throughout — with his serves, his returns, his volleys, his groundstrokes. He won 60 of 80 points on his serve, including 14 of 15 in one stretch. He broke Robredo four straight times, then again in the next-to-last game.
Robredo, mind you, is no slouch. He’s been ranked as high as No. 5, albeit back in 2006. He’s been a major quarterfinalist a half-dozen times. At this year’s French Open, he became the first man in 86 years to erase two-set deficits in three consecutive Grand Slam matches. And he entered Friday with a 2-2 record against Murray in tour-level events.
But they hadn’t played in an official tournament since 2009, and they’d never met on grass or at a major, two categories where Murray is excelling lately.