After rainy British weather backed up the order of play through the first three days of Wimbledon, a clear day on Thursday allowed the first two rounds to finally be completed. The tournament is back on schedule - we're looking at you, Middle Sunday - and it's time to look back on the drama that has unfolded over the first four days at the All England Club.
For 3 hours and 19 minutes, Angelique Kerber and Sara Sorribes Tormo went shot for shot out on No.2 Court in their second round duel, which the 2018 champion won 7-5, 5-7, 6-4. The two counter-strikers combined for 77 winners, an astounding number given the average rally length for the match was 8.16 shots. Nearly 90 of their rallies went over nine shots, with Kerber winning 45 and and Sorribes Tormo winning 43. The two brought the drama, the fight, and the quality, and the standing ovation they received at the end was their reward.
When people think of grass court tennis they equate it with power tennis, a surface that is dominated by big serves and forehands. But the turf also forces counter-punchers to inject more aggression in their games. The last two champions at Wimbledon, Simona Halep and Kerber, did precisely that en route to their titles, and Sorribes Tormo did the same. A crafty player who loves to get to net, the Spaniard showed over the last two weeks how dangerous she can become on grass.
Most unexpected run
The home team had their chances. Katie Boulter pushed No.2 Aryna Sabalenka to the brink in a three-set loss, Francesca Jones played the best match of her career to keep things tight with Coco Gauff, and Heather Watson narrowly lost 8-6 in the third to Kristie Ahn. All this came after British No.1 Johanna Konta was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a team member testing positive for Covid.
But it's 18-year-old British wildcard Emma Raducanu who finds herself in the third round at Wimbledon and there have been no drama along the way. Ranked No.338, Raducanu has not lost a set, defeating Vitalia Diatchenko 7-6(4), 6-0 and then earning her first Top 100 and Top 50 win by defeating 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova, 6-2, 6-4 in the second round.
Coached by Nigel Sears, Raducanu has shown great poise in both her wins and she'll likely get a step up in court assignments on Saturday when she takes on Sorana Cirstea.
Most emotional match
Carla Suárez Navarro put in a valiant effort in the final match of her Wimbledon career, pushing No.1 Ashleigh Barty to a third set before bowing out with a 6-1, 6-7(1), 6-1 loss on Centre Court in the first round. As Darren Cahill tweeted after the match, it's been an incredible effort for Suárez Navarro, who was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma last summer, to go from struggling to get through 45 minute sessions to taking two major champions, Sloane Stephens at Roland Garros and Barty at Wimbledon, to deciding sets.
Credit to the Centre Court crowd for understanding the moment unfolding before them. From Barty's gracious moment at the net to the standing ovation for the shy Spaniard as she walked off the turf for one last time - with her mother tearfully filming every moment - it was a moment that we'll all remember.
Most gut-wrenching match
It was already a worrisome sight when Serena Williams walked onto Centre Court for her opening match with her upper right leg taped. It's just not what you want to see on any player at the start of a Slam, let alone one that requires a constant low center center of gravity, as grass does.
Then, after 34 minutes, Serena Wimbledon was over. After slipping on the grass and taking an off-court medical timeout, the seven-time champion was forced to retire due to injury at 3-3 to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round.
Best adherence to tradition
Serbia's Nina Stojanovic gave Angelique Kerber a good scare in their opening round duel, leading the 2018 champion 3-0 before Kerber stormed back for a 6-4, 6-3 win. With the winners now doing on-court interviews after the match, Wimbledon's tradition of having the players walk off together on Centre Court and No.1 Court has been kicked to the curb for The Championships so far.
So it was great to see Stojanovic take a seat on her bag to gamely wait out Kerber's interview before the two could walk off together.
Most disbelief on match point
Alizé Cornet handed No.5 seed Bianca Andreescu two of her three losses on grass this season, having beaten her in the first round of Berlin two weeks ago. The French veteran came through with a sizzling performance at Wimbledon, winning 6-2, 6-1 on a shot that left everyone stunned:
15: Seeds remaining in the draw. Led by No.1 Barty, there are 7 seeds in the top half. With No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka, there are 8 seeds remaining in the bottom half.
18: Aces struck by Coco Gauff and Ashleigh Barty through their two matches, topping the leaderboard.
6: Players who have been broken just once through two matches: Katerina Siniakova, Coco Gauff, Karolina Pliskova, Madison Keys, Elena Rybakina, and Ons Jabeur.
17: Return winners struck by Aryna Sabalenka through two matches. Jelena Ostapenko has hit 14. No one else in the field has hit more than 8.
2009: The last time Sorana Cirstea made the third round or better at three Slams. Over a decade on, she's accomplished the feat this season, making the third round of the Australian Open, the Round of 16 at the French Open, and now into the third round at Wimbledon after defeating Victoria Azarenka in a thriller, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4.
7: Points lost by Garbiñe Muguruza against her opponent's second serve. The 2017 champion has won an astounding 85% (40 of 47) against her opponent's second serves across two matches.
9: Players who have won 50.0% or more of their return games: Garbiñe Muguruza (73%), Elise Mertens (73%), Jelena Ostapenko (70%), Ons Jabeur (59%), Emma Raducanu (56%), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (53%), Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (52%), Kaja Juvan (50%), Ashleigh Barty (50%).
7: Players who won in their Wimbledon main draw debuts: Clara Burel, Marta Kostyuk, Barbora Krejcikova, Liudmila Samsonova, Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, Emma Raducanu, Elena Rybakina. The latter 5 have progressed to the third round.
1: Qualifier remaining in the draw, Maria Camila Osorio Serrano. The 19-year-old Colombian was the top seed in qualifying.
"Her story is incredible. I guess from people telling her that she couldn't play tennis or let alone go pro or make it this far. The fact that she's here, giving it her all, is something I really respect as an athlete.
"Also after the match it took her a while to get to the net. I think she was really trying to savor the moment. I basically told her that you're going to have plenty more moments like this but you'll be the one winning the match instead. Don't let this match affect you because if you compete like that, the way she did, if you're a competitor, you compete hard every point, you'll have matches that go your way in the future.
"I think with her, she's just an outstanding person, outstanding player, that she'll go far. I was just letting her know don't let this crush you because matches like this can really hurt or break a player. I don't want it to break her. I want her to build this for her, and next time when she has a match like this, maybe even against me or against someone else, that she knows what to do and come out on top."
- Coco Gauff on Francesca Jones
Top Half 3R #Wimbledon set:— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) July 1, 2021
 Barty vs. Siniakova
Sevastova vs.  Krejcikova
Cirstea vs. Raducanu
Ostapenko vs. Tomljanovic
Linette vs.  Badosa
 Muchova vs.  Pavlyuchenkova
Juvan vs.  Gauff
 Kerber vs. Sasnovich https://t.co/eELXo3EgLt
What to watch for in the third round
- Katerina Siniakova has had a hot hand over the last two months. Starting on the clay in Parma, the Czech defeated Serena and went on to make the semifinals. At Roland Garros she knocked off Veronika Kudermetova to make the third round, narrowly losing to eventual semifinalist Tamara Zidansek. And in Bad Homburg last week, she marched her way to her first final since 2018 Shenzhen. She'll take on No.1 Barty next.
- Kerber gave everything she had to get past Sorribes Tormo and kept shaking out her left hand/wrist through the final set. Her powers of recover will be tested before she takes on Sasnovich.
- Barbora Krejcikova downplayed her comfort on grass before the tournament, but the Roland Garros champion has been all business through the first two rounds, beating Clara Tauson and Andrea Petkovic without losing a set. She faces Anastasija Sevastova in the third round and could face either No.1 Barty or her doubles partner, Siniakova in the Round of 16. She's looked good.
- Other players who have impressed through two rounds: Iga Swiatek has not lost a set with wins over Hsieh Su-Wei and Vera Zvonareva, Madison Keys has been overpowering her opposition, Garbiñe Muguruza has lost just six games, Coco Gauff has been business-like, and Kaja Juvan has not lost a set with wins over Belinda Bencic and Clara Burel.
- No seeds remain in the second small section of the draw and it presents a big opportunity for Jelena Ostapenko, Ajla Tomljanovic, Cirstea, and Raducanu. One of the four will be a Wimbledon quarterfinalist.
- The third-round match-ups in the bottom half of the draw are a flurry of intriguing contrasts in styles. Berlin champion Liudmila Samsonova takes on Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys faces Elise Mertens, Garbiñe Muguruza plays Ons Jabeur, and Aryna Sabalenka gets Maria Camila Osorio Serrano.