Caroline Wozniacki falls as Wimbledon upsets continue

AP
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Five of the top eight women are out of Wimbledon with No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki‘s second-round loss amid a swarm of bugs Wednesday.

Wozniacki, the Australian Open champion, was upset by Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.

Wozniacki went out before the third round for the fourth time in seven years, after complaining to the chair umpire about the insects that invaded No. 1 court during the second set.

In the first three days, the following women’s top-10 seeds have lost:

No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki
No. 4 Sloane Stephens
No. 5 Elina Svitolina
No. 6 Caroline Garcia
No. 8 Petra Kvitova

WIMBLEDON: Full Scores | Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

That leaves No. 1 Simona Halep, No. 3 Garbine Muguruza, No. 7 Karolina Pliskova, No. 9 Venus Williams and No. 10 Madison Keys alive from the top 10.

Williams and Pliskova each advanced to the third round on Wednesday and could meet in the fourth round. They are the only single-digit seeds left in the bottom half of the draw.

No. 25 seed Serena Williams, also in the bottom half, beat Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova 6-1, 6-4. She gets France’s Kiki Mladenovic in the third round with Keys potentially in the fourth round.

Also advancing was Roger Federer, who won 35 straight points on his serve in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 sweep of Lukas Lacko.

After serving out for the first set, Federer didn’t drop a single point on his serve in the second and kept that streak going until he was 30-0 up at 4-1 in the third — when Lacko finally sent a backhand winner down the line.

It was another dominant display by the eight-time champion, who lost just nine of 61 points on his serve in total and broke Lacko five times, including with a forehand winner to close out the match.

“On certain days it goes better than others,” Federer said. “Sometimes your serve matches up better against certain players.”

Williams was nearly as good, losing just five of 32 points on her first serve against Tomova. It was her 16th straight victory at Wimbledon, although she missed last year’s tournament while pregnant.

Wozniacki is still waiting to get past the round of 16 for the first time, despite fighting back from 5-1 down in the third set and saving four match points at 5-3. But she was broken again in the final game, becoming the fifth of the top eight women’s seeds to lose before the third round.

Five-time champion Venus Williams did better with her comeback attempt. The No. 9 seed, at 38 the oldest woman in the draw, came back to beat 141st-ranked qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 after dropping the first set for a second straight match.

In the first round, she started by conceding a tiebreaker against 58th-ranked Johanna Larsson before taking 12 of the last 15 games.

“Ideally it’s two sets,” Venus said. “If it’s not two sets, then go to Plan B.”

In the men’s draw, 13th-seeded Milos Raonic and No. 11 Sam Querrey also advanced in straight sets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Mikaela Shiffrin, three gates from gold, skis out of world championships combined

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Mikaela Shiffrin was three gates from a record-tying seventh world championships gold medal when she lost her balance and straddled a gate, skiing out of the first race of worlds on Monday.

Italian Federica Brignone won the women’s combined instead, prevailing by 1.62 seconds over Swiss Wendy Holdener, the largest Olympic or world championships men’s or women’s margin of victory in the event since it switched from three runs to two in 2007.

Austrian Ricarda Haaser took bronze in an event that is one run of super-G followed by one run of slalom.

At 32, Brignone, the 2020 World Cup overall champion, won her first global title and became the oldest female world champion in any event.

“What was missing in my career was a gold medal,” she said. “So I’m old. No, I’m just kidding.”

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Shiffrin was sixth fastest in the opening super-G run, 96 hundredths behind Brignone. She skied aggressively in the slalom in a bid to beat Brignone. Shiffrin cut the gap to eight hundredths by the last intermediate split with about 10 seconds left on the course in Meribel, France.

Shiffrin looked set to overtake Brignone until tripping up slightly with five gates left. It compounded, and Shiffrin couldn’t save the run, losing control, straddling the third-to-last gate and skiing out. The timing system still registered her finish — 34 hundredths faster than Brignone — but it was quickly corrected to the obvious disqualification.

Asked on French TV if she lost focus, Shiffrin said, “People are going to say that no matter what.”

“The surface changed a little bit on these last gates, so [on pre-race] inspection I saw it’s a bit more unstable on the snow,” she added. “I tried to be aware of that, but I knew that if I had a chance to make up nine tenths on Federica, or more than that, like one second, I had to push like crazy. So I did, and I had a very good run. I’m really happy with my skiing.”

It marked Shiffrin’s first time skiing out since she did so in three races at last February’s Olympics, where her best individual finish was ninth in five races. At the Olympics, she skied out within the first 13 seconds in each instance. On Monday, she was more than 40 seconds into her run.

“I was thinking, now I’m going to go through the mixed zone. and everyone’s going to ask, ‘Oh, is this Beijing again?'” Shiffrin said. “I didn’t really think about that for myself, but more for the people asking. But I also said before, coming into this world champs multiple times, I’m not afraid if it happens again. What if I don’t finish every run? What happened last year, and I survived. And then I’ve had some pretty amazing races this season. So I would take the season that I’ve had with no medals at the world championships. If it’s either/or, then I would take that. I’m happy with it. But I’m going to be pushing for medals, because that’s what you do at world champs. You wear your heart on your sleeve, and you go for it. I’m not afraid of the consequences, as long as I have that mentality, which I had today.”

NBC Sports analyst Steve Porino said what happened Monday was “completely different” from the Olympics, calling it “an error of aggression.”

“It certainly wasn’t nerves that sent her out,” Porino said on the Peacock broadcast. “This was Shiffrin knowing that she had to have a huge run to get the gold medal.

“The way she went out this time, I think she can brush that one off.”

Shiffrin was bidding to tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12). Coming into Monday, she earned a medal in her last 10 world championships races dating to 2015.

Her next chance to match those records comes in Wednesday’s super-G, where she is a medal contender. Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel is the world’s top-ranked super-G skier through five races on the World Cup this season, though she was 71 hundredths behind Brignone in Monday’s super-G run.

Shiffrin has raced two super-Gs this season with a win and a seventh place.

She is expected to race three more times over the two-week worlds, which is separate from the World Cup circuit that she has torn up this season.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup wins in 23 starts across all disciplines since November, moving her one shy of the career victories record of 86 accumulated by Swede Ingemar Stenmark in the 1970s and ’80s. Again, world championships races do not count toward the World Cup, which picks back up after worlds end in late February.

Worlds continue Tuesday with the men’s combined.

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Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Olympic 400m champion, announces pregnancy

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Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the two-time reigning Olympic 400m champion, announced she is pregnant with her first child.

“New Year, New Blessing,” she posted on social media with husband Maicel Uibo, the 2019 World Championships silver medalist in the decathlon for Estonia. “We can’t wait to meet our little bundle of joy.”

Miller-Uibo’s agency said she plans to return to sprinting, but they don’t yet have a timeline of her plans.

Miller-Uibo, 28, followed her repeat Olympic title in Tokyo by winning her first world indoor and outdoor titles last year.

Also last year, Miller-Uibo said she planned to drop the 400m and focus on the 200m going into the 2024 Paris Games rather than possibly bid to become the first woman to win the same individual Olympic running event three times.

She has plenty of experience in the 200m, making her world championships debut in that event in 2013 and placing fourth. She earned 200m bronze at the 2017 Worlds, was the world’s fastest woman in the event in 2019 and petitioned for a Tokyo Olympic schedule change to make a 200m-400m double easier. The petition was unsuccessful.

She did both races anyway, finishing last in the 200m final, 1.7 seconds behind the penultimate finisher on the same day of the 400m first round.

She did not race the 200m at last July’s worlds, where the 200m and 400m overlapped.

Notable moms to win individual Olympic sprint titles include American Wilma Rudolph, who swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1960 Rome Olympics two years after having daughter Yolanda.

And Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won four gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics, when the mother of two also held world records in the high jump and long jump, two events in which she didn’t compete at those Games.

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