On the mend?
in terminal decline? Nah, just growing pains, according to her coach, David Felgate.
Vaidisova, much lauded when she won a pair of titles as a 15-year-old, fell out of the top 20 Monday for the first time since October 2005. Part of the Czech's slump this season featured a six-match losing streak which was snapped at a grass-court tune-up in Birmingham, England, only two weeks ago.
Vaidisova, now 19, is perhaps reviving after downing dangerous Aussie Samantha Stosur
, on the mend from viral meningitis, 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 to reach the third round.
"Every player, no matter how good they are in their own little world, has a blip,'' Felgate, a mild-mannered Brit who used to coach mild-mannered Brit Tim Henman
, said as he perused the action at Wimbledon's practice courts. "You had two or three years of coming onto the scene, no pressure. You throw all of those equations in, and I just think it's normal and a new thing to learn to deal with, like losing to people you might not have done before, so it doesn't surprise me.''
Often compared to three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova
because she, too, is a tall blonde from Eastern Europe with a Nick Bollettieri-groomed baseline game, Vaidisova, now 19, was hampered by mono and a wrist injury in 2007.
Felgate played down suggestions Vaidisova lacked motivation and said her ongoing relationship with Czech men's pro Radek Stepanek
, 10 years older, wasn't a factor.
The two are dating, at the least, with some published reports suggesting they're engaged. According to Czech journalists, the duo is sharing a house together during Wimbledon.
"A lot's been made about Radek. To have a boyfriend, that's not the issue," Felgate said. "It's her personal life and she does what I tell her to do [on the court]."
"She's been out there and wants it. If she continues to work, with her talent and ability, there's no reason to think she won't get back to [her career high], No. 7.''
Vaidisova gets another Aussie next, big hitter Casey Dellacqua
. Dellacqua prevailed in their last outing at the Pacific Life Open in March.
-- Ravi Ubha
Wearing his hat backward and sporting a sleeveless white shirt and a slashing two-handed backhand on Court 18, Bobby Reynolds
did his best Robby Ginepri
imitation on Wednesday.
Ginepri was the last American standing at Roland Garros, winning his first three matches. Now, Reynolds is in position to win his
third match on Friday.
Reynolds handled Frank Dancevic
4-6, 7-6 (10), 6-4, 6-4. That equaled the 25-year-old Cape Cod native's best Grand Slam showing, a third-round advancement at the 2005 Australian Open that ended when he ran into a kid named Nadal.
"I came out a little nervous, forehand was kind of flying on me a little bit," Reynolds said. "Obviously the tiebreaker, felt like a huge momentum change."
On set point, Reynolds threw up an improbable lob, which froze Dancevic at net. Reynolds loosed a soaring Tiger Woods-esque uppercut and was on his way.
Reynolds' serve has been his best friend here: 54 of his 113 services were not returned -- and 27 were aces.
As recently as early April, Reynolds was struggling, coming off a stretch of five losses in six matches. But he put together back-to-back wins in Challengers in Tallahassee and Baton Rouge to lift his ranking just high enough to gain automatic entry at Wimbledon.
"It gives me confidence, winning those Challengers," Reynolds said. "I think I was the second-to-last guy in here, based on the original cuts. It's made my schedule so much easier for the summer. Now I don't have to worry, do I have to play a Challenger, do I have to play an ATP?"
Reynolds is ranked No. 102 and that is likely to improve -- especially if he can find a way to beat Feliciano Lopez
. Expect fireworks because Lopez, with 44 aces, and Reynolds, with 37, are currently ranked 1-2 among men.
"I don't dislike the matchup," Reynolds said.
On a day when Serena Williams
breezed, 6-4, 6-4 over Urszula Radwanska, Bethanie Mattek
of Miami joined her in the third round. Mattek defeated Vera Dushevina
7-6 (6), 6-4.
It's her best Grand Slam performance ever. Next up: No. 11 seed Marion Bartoli
, a finalist here last year.
-- Greg Garber
might be the most sought-after player at Wimbledon, given he's single-handedly carrying the hopes of a nation on his shoulders. He's trying to become the first British men's winner at Wimbledon since Fred Perry, whose statue rests on the grounds, way back in 1936.
Still, he's being generous with his time.
Murray, unusually unaccompanied as he trudged through the practice pavilion at Wimbledon in the early afternoon, made his way up a walkway and peered down to a posse of kids who had just spotted him and wanted an autograph or photo. He cut across the grass, went down a set of steps that were well out of his way, and made a beeline for the somewhat stunned crowd. Without a camera in sight, he proceeded to sign autographs for whoever asked for one.
Dare we say it's atypical behavior for more than a few high-profile players nowadays?
"I was in the exact same position as them when I was their age,'' Murray, who meets unpredictable Belgian Xavier Malisse
in the second round, said when asked about his gesture. "Quite a few players walked past me, and I know how upsetting it is. I used to hang around the practice courts all the time to watch the players.''
Photographers and cameramen were in full force hours earlier, when Chris Eaton, the only other British man in the second round, surfaced. He was given a British flag by a photographer, who then gleefully clicked away as Eaton posed with it, the flag displayed behind his back.
-- Ravi Ubha
Richard Williams, the outspoken father of Grand Slam winners Venus and Serena Williams, wasn't in a talkative mood after overseeing Serena's practice session today.
Asked about his daughters' third-round losses at the French Open on the same day last month, Richard Williams suggested "the thing that happened was just that the opponents outplayed them.''
He failed to shed light on Venus' health, a hot topic of conversation, only saying, "I think she's OK,'' and refused to dwell on a possible all-Williams Wimbledon final.
Earlier this year, Richard Williams drew criticism from the women's tour for saying his daughters, who are black, were "never accepted by tennis."
-- Ravi Ubha
Rafael Nadal vs. Ernests Gulbis:
Nadal just turned 22, but he is the veteran in this match. Gulbis, a 19-year-old Latvian, has all the weapons to go deep into Grand Slams, but his head sometimes holds him back. Gulbis knocked James Blake
out of the French Open, but he'll have his hands full on Thursday.
ESPN.com prediction: Nadal in straight sets.
-- Greg Garber