Australian wild card Mark Philippoussis stayed on course in his bid to emulate Goran Ivanisevic’s achievement here a year ago by booking a place in the fourth round of Wimbledon at the expense of Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer on Friday.
The 25 year-old Philippoussis, who has come back from an injury-ravaged three years, came away a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 winner in 2hrs 17 minutes against his unseeded German opponent.
Philippoussis next meets former champion Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands, who ended the dream run of Thai hope Paradorn Srichaphan, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-2, for a place in the quarter-finals.
Earlier Yugoslav Jelena Dokic, American Chanda Rubin and Slovak Daniela Hantuchova powered their way into the women’s fourth round in straight sets.
The elimination of all but two of the tournament men’s favourites means that Philippoussis, nicknamed Scud for his powerful serve and a three time quarterfinalist here, is among the leading contenders for the title.
The Australian slammed down 33 aces compared to 11 for his German opponent with four more winners at 25, but double-faulted 13 times compared to just five for Kiefer.
Kraijicek, the 1996 Wimbledon champion, was too strong for Paradorn, the slayer of another former champion Andre Agassi, coming away the winner in one hour, 43-minutes in their first meeting.
Dokic, the seventh seed, dumped France’s Nathalie Dechy 7-5, 6-2 in 74 minutes while unseeded Rubin continued her recent excellent form by ousting Russian Tatiana Panova, the 21st seed, 6-4, 6-1 in 56 minutes.
Dokic meets 11th seed Hantuchova who beat Slovenian Maja Matevzic 6-4, 6-4.
Dokic, 19, a semi-finalist here in 2000, overpowered her 23-year-old French opponent initially rushing to a 3-0 lead.
Dechy clawed her way back from 5-2 down saving nine set points when the Yugoslav was serving for the first set and held to go 5-5.
But the French player double faulted to hand Dokic her 10th set point which the Yugoslav took with a down the line winner.
The second set was all one way traffic for the Yugoslav.
“She’s not easy to play against,” said Dokic of her French opponent.
“But I was a lot happier with the way I played today than the other day. She played some good points. When she came back to 5-5 I got a little bit down, but I was happy with the way I handled it.”
The 26 year-old Rubin, a judge’s daughter from Louisiana, reached the fourth round for the first time in ten attempts and will meet either fellow American Serena Williams, the second seed, or Belgian Els Callens four a place in the quarter-finals.
Rubin’s career had been hampered by injuries and her best previous result here was reaching the third round in 1995 and 1998 while she has crashed out six times in the first round at the All England Club.
The American, runner-up in Madrid and winner of the Wimbledon warm-up tournament on grass at Eastbourne last week, came back from a break down in the first set to wrap it up 6-4 in 36 minutes.
Rubin broke her opponent’s serve in the second set to rush to a 3-0 lead and needed just 20 minutes for her sixth win in as many meetings against the Russian.
“It’s really been frustrating to lose in the first round. Coming in this year I felt I was playing well and wanted to get past the first round at least.
“But I feel that everything is ahead of me,” said Rubin who missed most of last year after knee surgery.
“I feel healthy physically and can come back the day next and play again and this is what I want. Mentally I feel better and think I can improve.”
Since turning professional in 1991 Rubin has won four titles, reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open twice, with her best Grand Slam finish the 1996 semi finals of the Australian Open.
Also Friday, No. 5 Yevgeny Kafelnikov was the highest-seeded man scheduled to play, facing Xavier Malisse of Belgium in a third-round match. But the day’s feature encounter figured to be No. 11 Andy Roddick against big-serving Greg Rusedski.
On the women’s side, No. 3 Jennifer Capriati was up against Daja Bedanova.
With Pete Sampras and Agassi gone, another American man made the most of his time on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
None other than Jeff Morrison.
Morrison, ranked No. 98 and playing in only his third Grand Slam match, jolted ninth-seeded Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (5) Thursday to reach the third round.
“This morning I woke up and I was a nervous wreck,” Morrison said.
Then the 23-year-old West Virginian walked onto the court in sheer wonder.
“I was looking around a lot, just saying, `Oh, my gosh, here I am,” Morrison said. “Who would have ever thought that I would be here?”
Morrison made the draw after Germany’s Tommy Haas withdrew last week when his parents were seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in Florida.
Now, Morrison is one of only three American men left in the tournament, along with Roddick and Taylor Dent.
Eleven other Americans were bounced in the first two rounds, including seven-time champion Sampras and 1992 winner Agassi.
“You see guys going on big courts and beating seeded players — it makes you realize that you can achieve the same thing if you are playing as well as you can,” Morrison said. “And that’s what happened today.”
But not without a few nerves.
“The first 30 minutes of the match, I was a little awe-struck,” he said. “But I kept holding serve. My confidence was gaining. I really got myself up by the fact that I was playing on Centre Court, in the place I dreamt of playing.”
Morrison was a refreshing presence on Centre Court with his athletic serve-and-volley game, youthful exuberance and animated expressions. He often broke into a big smile, even after losing points.
“I’m at my best when I act like I did out there today,” he said. “I think I was very fortunate to be able to act that way and enjoy the experience and to live the moment. I found that smiling is a great way to relieve stress.”
With West Virginia not exactly a tennis hotbed, Morrison left after his junior year in high school and moved to a tennis academy in South Carolina.
He then went to the University of Florida, where he won the NCAA singles title as a sophomore in 1999, defeating James Blake in the final. He turned pro after his junior year.
Since then, Morrison has played mainly in lower-tier Challenger events, climbing up the rankings from No. 359 to the top 100 in the past 12 months.
“For me, six months ago, six weeks ago, I would have never fathomed beating a top-10 player on a Grand Slam court,” he said. “So exciting.”