For the first time in nearly a century, no Americans will play in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. The last US player left in either the men's or women's draw Shenay Perry lost 6-2, 6-0 on July 3, 2006 to seventh-seeded Elena Dementieva.
The 62nd-ranked Perry was gone in 54 minutes. She dropped 10 straight games from 2-2 in the first set, ending the American challenge by lunchtime on the first day of the second week. The American absence was embarrassing given that the U.S. has won more Wimbledon singles titles by far (83) than any other country. Perry said the pressure of playing in her first Grand Slam fourth-round match and being the last American in the field got to her.
"I was really nervous," she said . "I think it got to me a little bit. I think when anyone's in a position that they're thrown into for the first time, and being the last American, it is a little nerve-racking."
The last time no Americans reached the quarterfinals at the All England Club was in 1911, when no U.S. women and only three men were entered in the tournament. The last Grand Slam event with no Americans in the final eight was the 1976 Australian Open. None of the nine American men in the draw this year reached the fourth round, with 1992 champion Andre Agassi and two-time finalist Andy Roddick losing on July 1, 2006 to Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, respectively.
Fourteen U.S. women were entered, with defending champion and three-time winner Venus Williams upset again on the fateful July1, 2006 by Jelena Jankovic of Serbia.
The 21-year-old Perry, playing in the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the first time, won only 13 points in the second set. She had just six winners, only one in the second set, and finished with 24 errors.
Dementieva had 21 winners and 16 errors to reach the Wimbledon quarters for the first time. The eighth-ranked Russian, a former finalist at the French and U.S. Opens, had lost in the fourth round at Wimbledon three times.
Dementieva will next face fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova, who overcame a tough challenge from Italy's Flavia Pennetta before winning 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3. Sharapova, the 2004 champion and only former women's winner left in the draw, had 10 double-faults and 41 unforced errors. Pennetta won more points (112 to 110), but the Russian won the points that mattered the most.
After the middle Sunday's traditional day of rest, Wimbledon's second week started with all 16 men's and women's fourth-round matches on Monday's schedule.
Play began as a heat wave hit southern England, with temperatures topping 30 degrees Celsius (90 degrees F). Players cooled themselves with ice packs during changeovers, and fans were urged to drink plenty of water and use sun lotion.
Only four of the top 12 men were still around after a surprise-filled first week, and 10 of the 16 remaining men reached Wimbledon's fourth round for the first time.