LONDON, England - None of the five former No.1s on the schedule survived on Wednesday, with Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic all being sent out in the second round, be it through injury or through inspired opponents rising up.
Azarenka was the first to go, and she was the one who succumbed to injury - having hurt her right knee during her first round victory over Maria Joao Koehler, the No.2-seeded Belarusian was forced to withdraw just before her match against Flavia Pennetta because of the injury (read more here).
The No.3-seeded Sharapova followed Azarenka to the sidelines after a tough 63 64 loss to Portuguese qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito, fighting off four match points in the final game but finally sending one last forehand into the net against the rejuvenated former teen prodigy (read more here).
And over on Centre Court, the No.12-seeded Ivanovic played a solid match against Eugenie Bouchard, putting together a +9 differential of winners to unforced errors (18 to 9) compared to just +3 for Bouchard (14 to 11), but it was the Canadian teenager who lifted her game on the biggest points, converting five of seven break points to outclass the hard-hitting Serb, 63 63 (read more here).
Elsewhere, Wozniacki and Jankovic were in trouble too. The No.9-seeded Wozniacki was the first to fall, struggling with her own game (6 winners to 10 unforced errors) while Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska was on complete fire (30 winners to 13 unforced errors), and at the end of the day it was Cetkovska who scored the seventh Top 10 win of her career against the tenacious Dane, 62 62.
The No.16-seeded Jankovic was ousted by fellow Serb Vesna Dolonc in straight sets, 75 62 - Dolonc's win over the World No.14 was the best win of her career, and her fourth overall Top 20 win.
There were some survivors, though. No.8 seed and 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is now a heavy favorite to reach the final on the bottom half of the draw, though she didn't have to prove anything on Wednesday, as she got a walkover from Yaroslava Shvedova due to a right arm injury; and No.15 seed and 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli battled past Christina McHale later, 75 64.
No.19 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, No.20 seed Kirsten Flipkens, No.25 seed Ekaterina Makarova and No.29 seed Alizé Cornet also won through, as did No.17 seed Sloane Stephens, who outlasted German wildcard Andrea Petkovic, 76(2) 26 86, then talked about the surprise results of the day.
"Yeah, it definitely started this morning," Stephens commented. "Isner was on my court. The second point he started I was like, 'Oh my God, this is not happening right now.' I think he started the whole thing. The whole day, today, has been bizarre. I don't know what's going on. But it is what it is."
Stephens' win lasted two hours and 36 minutes - the second-longest match of the tournament.
"I think she played well; I played well," Stephens said. "It was definitely a battle, but that's what you go out and play for. You go out there and compete. At the end of the day it was a good match.
"Last time we played she smoked me - it was good to just get the win and then put in the back of my mind I got smoked once. I mean, she's definitely a great player. It's good to get a W over her."