Commentary

Djokovic playing mind games?

Updated: June 26, 2009, 7:23 PM ET
By Ravi Ubha | Special to ESPN.com

WIMBLEDON, England -- Here are 10 things we learned on Day 5 at Wimbledon:

1. Fed is on those returns
When is the last time you saw a men's player face 11 break points in a set on grass?

It happened Friday, and surprise, surprise, Roger Federer was the guy who manufactured them against German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the opener of his 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-1 third-round win. Listed at 5-foot-10, Kohlschreiber is one of the smaller men on the circuit, though has good pop on his serve.

Seeded 27th, he turned out to be Federer's first real test. Kohlschreiber memorably beat Novak Djokovic at the French Open in May and Andy Roddick at the 2008 Australian Open.

2. The Djoker is a jokester
Novak Djokovic said after his second-round win over German journeyman Simon Greul he couldn't be called the favorite against Minnesota native Mardy Fish on Friday.

Huh?

The fourth-ranked Djokovic is a Grand Slam winner and former Wimbledon semifinalist, while Fish, five years older, has reached two Grand Slam quarterfinals.

Well, the mind games helped Djokovic out. The Serb beat Fish 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, overcoming a lull in the second set.

3. Murray likes to stay loose
Andy Murray plays all sorts of strange games with his low-profile entourage, fitness or otherwise.

Here's how Britain's big hope was unwinding following his routine second-round win over Ernests Gulbis on Thursday.

"Tennis player-snack name going on," he tweeted. "Lleyton chewit, james flake, boris doubledecker, dorito starace. Get thinking ..."

He later offered up "juan martin del popcorn," "Cod woodbridge," "mardy fishcakes," "prawn borg" and "egg rusedski."

How about the obvious? Andy Curry.

4. Soderling is no fluke
Robin Soderling is backing up his French Open.

The huge-hitting Swede that knocked out the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Gonzalez and David Ferrer in Paris en route to the final lived up to his seeding of 13th by reaching the round of 16.

Soderling earned a rematch with tournament favorite Federer, the man who finally derailed him at Roland Garros, by ousting Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-4.

Soderling didn't face a break point, hit 19 aces, and lost only three points behind his first serve.

The only bad news for the Swede is that he called for the trainer after the second set, complaining of a bad tummy.

"It's been like this for two days now, so it's probably not from the food I don't think," Soderling said.

5. Karlovic is the ace king
Nicolas Almagro's lead atop the ace leaderboard didn't last long.

Almagro, leading 22nd seed Ivo Karlovic by five heading into play Friday, thumped 20 against Soderling, but the 6-foot-10 Croat replied with 46 in a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5) triumph over ninth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Like Soderling, Karlovic didn't face a break point.

The only break ended the third set.

Karlovic moved forward, reacted well to deal with a passing shot that clipped the top of the net, then hit a perfect, angled stop volley to leave Tsonga with no chance.

Karlovic, paired with seventh seed Fernando Verdasco next, matched his best Wimbledon -- and Grand Slam -- performance by landing in the fourth round.

Karlovic insisted he doesn't get angry when it's suggested he has a serve and nothing else.

"I like, because if I can win with only one shot, I'm, I don't know, a genius, so I like it," Karlovic said, drawing laughter.

6. Not all women's matches feature grunts
Talk about rare -- a women's match with no grunting.

Tour veterans and doubles partners Ai Sugiyama and Daniela Hantuchova battled it out quietly on Court 18, the loud shrieks that accompany the shots of teens Michelle Larcher de Brito and Victoria Azarenka absent.

"I think some people are just too noisy," Sugiyama, who will turn 34 next week, said. "I understand they grunt or when she hits the ball, says 'Uhh' or something, but not like extra noise until their opponent hits the ball. That's, I think, way too much."

Sugiyama wasn't specifically referring to Larcher de Brito or Azarenka.

Hantuchova meets Serena Williams, an occasional grunter herself, in the fourth round. Hantuchova failed to take advantage of an ailing Williams when they squared off in the same round at Wimbledon in 2007.

7. The dude can play
Dudi Sela, one of the shortest players on the tour at 5-9 (is that generous?), became the first Israeli man in 17 years to reach the fourth round of a major when he topped 15th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo 7-6 (8), 7-5, 2-6, 7-5. Robredo failed to serve out the fourth set.

The 24-year-old Sela, who had never won a match at Wimbledon prior to 2009, entered the tournament at a career-high 46th in the rankings.

8. Vera Zvonareva can't catch a break
Vera Zvonareva was on a roll.

The Russian, diminishing her emotional outbursts on court, had a breakthrough season in 2008 and began 2009 with a maiden Grand Slam semifinal showing, at the Australian Open. She rose to a career-high ranking of fifth in February.

A month after winning the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., in March, Zvonareva tore ligaments in her right ankle in a match against France's Virginie Razzano in Charleston, S.C., and subsequently skipped the French Open.

Zvonareva returned to action last week, though the ankle flared up and she was forced to pull out of her third-round tussle against ... Razzano.

9. The economic downturn isn't affecting Wimbledon
Grass-court tennis and strawberries and cream is obviously a great combo.

For each of the first four days of the fortnight, despite the recession affecting most of the world, including England, single-day attendance records were established. And Day 3 brought in 46,826 spectators, the highest attendance ever at the tournament.

10. Carla Suarez Navarro loves the show courts
That's according to the Spanish press.

The 20-year-old will be happy to learn, then, that she'll face two-time defending champion Venus Williams on Centre Court on Saturday in one of the highlights of third-round play.

Suarez Navarro, armed with a lovely one-handed backhand, rallied from 5-2 down in the third set and saved a match point to eliminate Williams in the second round of January's Australian Open.

Yes, it was on Center Court.

This is grass, though.

ESPN.com prediction: Williams in two

Ravi Ubha is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com.

London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com.