US Open champion Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray both suffered frustrating defeats on Centre Court, as Day 3 featured a host of surprising losses for high-seeded players – including French Open runner-up Casper Ruud and two-time Major winner Garbine Muguruza.
Garcia bests sloppy Raducanu without much fuss
Garcia bt. Raducanu  6-3, 6-3
After compatriot Harmony Tan’s epic three-set win overnight, Caroline Garcia – a former world no. 4 – seized Emma Raducanu’s sluggish start en route to a well-earned straight-sets win, knocking the US Open champ out of her home Major rather unceremoniously on Centre Court.
It’s easy to say in hindsight, but you only had to watch the Brit’s error-strewn warm-up to see how quickly this encounter could fly past her if she wasn’t careful. Spraying balls high and wide, almost hitting Garcia with one behind the baseline, the opponent’s bemused reaction said it all.
Garcia took charge of their rallies, soon enough the scoreline too and never relinquished it, despite initially failing to consolidate an early break of serve. That didn’t prove the springboard Raducanu needed to rally herself back in a set of tennis lasting 39 minutes but breezed by.
Raducanu had more opportunities in set two, but failed to take them as Garcia got into her groove and took advantage of a serve which didn’t scare her, instead it encouraged her forward.
Channelling her aggression the right way, the 28-year-old – who won the Bad Homburg title on Saturday – made more unforced errors (20-8) but considerably more winners too (25-12).
Isner snaps Murray’s SW19 streak
Isner  bt. Murray 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4
Andy Murray hadn’t lost before the third-round at Wimbledon in 14 appearances, and was 8-0 against big-serving American John Isner before their second-round matchup.
Isner, who turned 37 in April and is seeded 20th here, hadn’t played a warm-up since losing in five sets against Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles at Roland Garros last month.
Injury scare aside, Murray was the man in-form and boasted a boisterous Centre Court crowd cheering their man on after Raducanu’s limp exit. All their cacophonous noise didn’t matter.
Expertly-timed drop volleys, phenomenal touch, a firing forehand, blistering serving as advertised… Murray didn’t play poorly but found himself outplayed in four gruelling sets.
It could’ve gone five, but even with everyone against him for obvious reasons, Isner probably would’ve won the war of attrition had they gone to a decider. Instead, he didn’t need it.
Other tidbits, featuring Tiafoe on top and Muguruza’s struggles
Minnen bt. Muguruza  6-4, 6-0
I purposely left this encounter untouched, hinting it was one that needed to be finished overnight… but two-time Major winner Garbine Muguruza‘s struggles this year have continued after being on the receiving end of a one-sided R1 defeat by Belgium’s Greet Minnen here.
When matches are suspended and need to be completed over a second day, it’s either prove a boon or a bane – like Heather Watson can attest – but for the experienced Spaniard, who won last year’s WTA Finals and backed herself for another Slam this year, it was certainly the latter.
Rough reading: Muguruza recorded an eyewatering 33 unforced errors, 58% first serve percentage, nine winners to Minnen’s 15 as she crashed out in R1 at SW19 for the third time.
She won less than ten points in a worryingly brief 19-minute set two on their return and well, it looks like there’s some soul-searching for the 28-year-old to do going forward:
After an iffy, sometimes disinterested-looking R1 showing saw him drop a set against South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon, the defending champion Novak Djokovic displayed exactly why he’s in such formidable form on grass en route to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Kokkinakis, who won the Adelaide title three days before this year’s Australian Open began, is slowly but surely getting his game towards a top-50 level that many expected before the Australian’s career was cruelly interrupted by troublesome injuries lasting multiple years.
After the 26-year-old’s sluggish start was ruthlessly punished, Thanasi got into his groove – both with a powerful serve and improved ball-striking – to keep rallies relatively competitive. Djokovic though, had steam behind him and often crunched 110mph serves like they were nothing.
The Serbian’s trademark returning ability, as well as great court coverage and smart use of the drop shot proved too much for Kokkinakis to handle in an entertaining two-hour Centre Court contest he’ll gain strength from. Next? A rising star and compatriot: Miomir Kecmanovic .
Results elsewhere mean there will, at least, be one first-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist and based on his early round performances, there’s no reason why that man can’t be Frances Tiafoe.
The 24-year-old American eased past Italian qualifier Andrea Vavassori and Germany’s Maximilian Marterer but faces a stiff test: big-serving Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik on Friday.
Speaking of stiff tests, Britain’s no. 1 and 2021 Indian Wells titlist Cameron Norrie found himself embroiled in a five-set battle against Spain’s Jaume Munar.
Having initially led, he recovered from two sets to one down to prevail in the decider and his celebration afterwards on Court One spoke volumes.
The other Brit to crash out on Day 3, besides the aforementioned pair, was 26-year-old surprise package Ryan Peniston against experienced American Steve Johnson in one of the day’s early matches on outside courts.
Katie Boulter and Harriet Dart have tricky assignments tomorrow, but Heather Watson looks certain to close out her suspended R2 match as she leads China’s Qiang Wang 7-5, 5-4 but failed to answer the serve it out question at the first time of asking… a second chance awaits Thursday.
Day 4’s featured matches to watch
Bianca Andreescu vs. Elena Rybakina 
Lorenzo Sonego  vs. Hugo Gaston
Katie Boulter [WC] vs. Karolina Pliskova 
Filip Krajinovic  vs. Nick Kyrgios
Harriet Dart vs. Jessica Pegula 
Maxime Cressy vs. Jack Sock
Viktoria Golubic vs. Barbora Krejcikova 
Denis Shapovalov  vs. Brandon Nakashima
Alex de Minaur  vs. Jack Draper
I’ll be producing daily round-ups with the latest results, game reports and news at this year’s Wimbledon tournament, so be sure you stay tuned to moandsports.com for the latest coverage.
Picture source: Getty Images