Weight of the U.S. rests on Mardy Fish
WIMBLEDON, England -- It really doesn't make much sense. Mardy Fish, who turns 30 later this year, is playing the best tennis of his life.
"I know, I know," Fish said Saturday, standing on the roof of the broadcast center here at the All England Club. "From the outside, anyway, it might seem a little weird."
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Fish -- not Andy Roddick or Sam Querrey or John Isner -- is the only American man into the second week here at the All England Club. This is his ninth Wimbledon, but until now, he's never been to the fourth round. Dutchman Robin Haase, complaining of a knee injury, walked to the net early in the fourth set and Fish suddenly was a 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 1-1 winner.
So, how's it feel?
"It's lonely," he said. "It doesn't feel great. And that's not the goal. You know, I want the guys here. So that's a bit of a bummer, I guess."
Fish's match was originally scheduled for Friday, but rain pushed it to Saturday. Alex Bogomolov, the second-to-last American in the draw, completed his match with 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych, losing 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.
Now, Fish will play Berdych. Oddly enough, the two have never played.
"We were talking about it in the locker room a few days ago," said Fish. "Seems like he's pretty comfortable right now here. Brought back probably a lot of good memories for him now. He seems to be rolling. Hopefully it's another level for him he'll have to go up, and we'll see if he can."
Fish usually plays a grass warm-up event, but this year he flew back home to Tampa after the French Open, favoring familiar surroundings with his wife, Stacey Gardner, and their dachshund.
"I got a little heat for going home and not going to Queen's," Fish said. "I don't worry about making the right or wrong choices anymore. In past years I really would have questioned if I didn't go to Queen's maybe and just came to Wimbledon straightaway a few years ago, I probably would have questioned even myself. I can't question it now.
"I'm pretty comfortable with knowing how to play tennis now. I know my limitations better than ever. I sleep a lot better than I used to just knowing I can sort of put my head down, knowing that I'm doing everything I can, hitting a lot of goals that I've wanted to hit throughout my career now."
Here, meanwhile, are four more things I know I think:
Rafa and Roger are on a roll: They reached the final here three years in a row, from 2006-08, and it's quite possible they'll do it again. The No. 1-seeded Nadal and No. 3 Federer have won each of their nine sets and looked good doing it. Nadal finished off Gilles Muller with a 6-0 third set, and Federer dropped only 10 games to longtime rival David Nalbandian. On Monday, the degree of difficulty increases dramatically for Nadal. He faces Juan Martin del Potro, who beat him on the way to the 2009 U.S. Open title. Rafa: "When he's healthy, he must be in the top five of the ranking normally, no? So will be a very tough opponent for me. I know that. I'm not lucky to play against del Potro in the Round of 16."
Wimbledon claims its second French Open final victim: First it was newly minted Roland Garros champion Li Na crashing out in the second round. Now Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 winner and 2011 finalist, is gone in the first week. It took some doing, but Tamira Paszek, a 20-year-old Austrian, prevailed 3-6, 6-4, 11-9. The fifth set ran 2 hours, 4 minutes alone.
This teenager can stomach the second week: Bernard Tomic, the 18-year-old Australian qualifier, surprised No. 5 seed Robin Soderling 6-1, 6-4, 7-5. The Swede, reportedly fighting a stomach ailment, never looked comfortable. On July 4, Tomic will become the highest-ranked Australian man -- somewhere around No. 130 -- displacing Lleyton Hewitt, who has held that position for more than 11 years.
Power rankings for ESPN.com's experts picks: At the halfway mark, three of six categories have been decided. Three prognosticators -- Cliff Drysdale, Darren Cahill and Matt Wilansky -- have two in the bag already. T1) Drysdale and Cahill: They both have the same remaining picks, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova to win and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as the men's sleeper. 3) Wilansky: Has Federer and Caroline Wozniacki to win.
Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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