Friday, June 25, 2010

Former Illini make showing at Wimbledon

While the world was holding their breath to see if Roger Federer would fall on the first day of Wimbledon, there was another match catching the eye of the Big Ten.  Former Illini   Kevin Anderson was coming close to creating an upset almost as big.

It was rather frustrating to watch hours of Roger Federer vs. Allejandro Falla on the television while ESPN ignored (how about a mention if you don't want to switch matches?)  No. 7 Nikolay Davydenko losing two sets to Kevin Anderson.  The match could only be seen online. 

After an easy 6-3 first, the South African had squeezed out a tiebreak second.  It looked to be a major upset in the making that was well worth a watch, but lost in the shuffle of Federer-madness.

The match continued at a tight pace throughout, with Daydenko pulling out the third in yet another tiebreaker and the fourth at 7-5.  The 6'8" Anderson, an NCAA doubles winner in 2006 with Ryan Rowe,  held up the pressure with 36 aces, in serves as high as 136 mph.  It went down to a dramatic finish as the fifth set at Wimbledon is always played out, with the seventh-seeded squeaking it out 9-7 after nearly four and a half hours.

The scene was a bit different for the next former Illinois player to take the court.  Rajeev Ram had the full attention of the crew of ESPN -- but only because he was playing Andy RoddickRoddick was totally on today and Ram didn't stand a chance, falling 6-2,6-3,6-3.  The only other former Big Ten player (also an Illini) at Wimbledon, Ryler DeHeart, fell in dramatic fashion in the last Qualifying round to 26th seeded Ilija Bozoljac, 7-6,6-4,7-6.

Rajeev Ram
will have another shot at Wimbledon when he plays doubles with Eric Butorac, a former player at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, on Wednesday.
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