LONDON – Caroline Wozniacki complained about the flying insects at Wimbledon, demanding that bug spray be brought to the court.
She wondered aloud whether play should be halted because of a brief drizzle.
And the No. 2-seeded Wozniacki was not exactly gracious in defeat after staving off five match points, but not the sixth, in what became a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 loss to 35th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in the second round at the All England Club on Wednesday.
The reigning Australian Open champion’s latest lackluster showing at Wimbledon made her the fifth top-eight seeded woman to exit by the end of Day 3.
Wozniacki said Makarova “got a little lucky” and added, “I would be very surprised if you saw her go far.”
Asked what she thought of those remarks, Makarova laughed and replied: “Well, I don’t know what to say. Yeah, maybe I was lucky today. Good for me. Thanks, God.”
While both Williams sisters moved into the third round, as did past U.S. Open runners-up Madison Keys and Karolina Pliskova, among the women, and Roger Federer won 35 consecutive points on his serve while extending his Wimbledon set streak to 26 in a row, it was Wozniacki’s departure that counted as the closest thing to big news on Wednesday.
She is a former No. 1 who recently claimed her first Grand Slam title. She won a grass-court tuneup tournament last weekend.
She had managed to convince herself this was going to be her year to shine at the All England Club, the only major where she’s never been past the fourth round. In addition to her title on the hard courts in Australia, she’s twice been the runner-up on that surface at the U.S. Open, and she’s been a quarterfinalist twice on the French Open’s red clay.
But a game that is principally predicated on defense can be harder to make work on the speedy grass, where Makarova produced twice as many winners Wednesday, 46-23.
“It’s frustrating,” Wozniacki said, “because I feel like I could have gone and done something really great here.”
Instead, it’s the fourth time in the past seven years that she’s out in the first or second round.
She almost put together quite a comeback, though.
After trailing 5-1 in the third set, Wozniacki broke twice when Makarova served for the match. The second time, at 5-3, Makarova was within a point of victory four times, but was unable to convert, wasting one of those opportunities with a double-fault. Once Wozniacki pulled even in the last set by holding at love, Makarova gave herself a bit of a talking-to.
“At 5-all, I said to myself: ‘OK, calm down. Start over,“’ recounted Makarova, a former top-10 player who twice has been a major semifinalist and got to the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2014.
From deuce in that game, she picked up six of the last seven points.
Earlier in the match, Wozniacki was buggin’ out about the bugs that also showed up last year at the tournament. She insisted that something needed to be done about them.
Makarova, too, called the scene “a little bit strange and different” and “a little bit uncomfortable.”
That word also described how Makarova’s left-handed game made Wozniacki feel.
“I had a chance today. I fought all I had. I’m out. That’s it,” said Wozniacki, who actually won more total points, 94-91. “It’s life sometimes. You just have to keep working and come back. And hopefully next time, luck will be on my side.”
All that really matters, of course, is who wins the last point, something five-time champion Venus Williams did after a poor start for the second round in a row.
Once again, she dropped the opening set. And once again, she dominated the rest of the way, this time beating 141st-ranked qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania 4-6, 6-0, 6-1. At 38, Williams was the oldest woman in the field, but she is now into the third round a year after getting to the final.
“I mean, it’s just about winning the match. And so, if that’s your best or not, your best doesn’t matter,” Williams said, “as long as you win.”
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