Alison van Uytvanck beat defending Wimbledon champion and No. 3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 to advance to the third round. It’s just the latest upset to send a top-seeded women’s player packing in the first few days at Wimbledon.
Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki lost in three sets in the second round to Ekaterina Makarova; four-seed Sloane Stephens lost to Donna Vekic in straight sets in the first round; five-seed Elina Svitolina lost to Tatjana Maria in three sets in the first round; six-seed Caroline Garcia and eight-seed Petra Kvitova both lost in the first round (to Belinda Bencic and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, respectively).
French Open winner and No. 1 Simona Halep—who after advancing past Kurumi Nara and Saisai Zheng without dropping a set, is looking good for her second consecutive grand slam title—and seven-seed Karolina Pliskova, who gutted out a tough match in the first round before rolling Victoria Azarenka in straight sets in the second, are the only players in the top eight to survive to the third round. It has been a historically bad performance for the tournament’s top seeds.
Van Uytvanck is ranked 47th in the world. Bencic, Maria, Sasnovich, and Vekic cluster around No. 50, while Makarova, a former top-10 player, is ranked No. 35. Recent parity in women’s tennis has made for an extremely unpredictable Wimbledon—for the the 24-year-old van Uytvanck from Belgium, beating the defending champion was her first ever win over a top-10 player.
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“Anyone on a good day can beat anyone. That’s what I think. I still think the top players, their average level is higher than, let’s say, sub-top players. But anyone on a good day can beat anyone, for sure,” van Uytvanck said.
Despite these exciting new insurgents, No. 9 Venus Williams, who made the final last year, No. 10 Madison Keys, and No. 11 Angelique Kerber, who will have to get past Naomi Osaka in the third round, are still very much in the hunt—as is Serena Williams, who hasn’t lost a set so far and has a relatively favorable draw, especially now that so many top players have been knocked out.