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Upsets rule at Wimbledon: Hingis, Blake hit the exits

AP Tennis Writer

WIMBLEDON, England - Until Friday, Laura Granville went five years without winning a third-round Grand Slam match against anyone, much less Martina Hingis. Knocking off the 1997 Wimbledon champion made all the American's toiling in tennis' minor leagues worth it.

Until Friday, No. 9-seeded James Blake was gaining confidence and thinking he was ready for an extended stay at the All England Club. Instead, he lost, making Andy Roddick the only U.S. man left in the tournament.

Until Friday, Janko Tipsarevic had never beaten anyone ranked higher than 20th, never won three consecutive matches at any tournament and was perhaps best known for the piercings on his face and the Dostoyevsky-quoting tattoo on his forearm. Now he can boast of saving a match point en route to beating No. 5 Fernando Gonzalez, the Australian Open runner-up.

Until Friday, this year's Wimbledon was missing much in the way of unexpected results.

And while four-time defending champion Roger Federer got past Marat Safin, as expected; and Roddick beat Fernando Verdasco, as expected; and Serena Williams and Justine Henin won, too, the draws did begin to look a little different.

That's thanks in part to Granville, who is ranked 77th and arrived at the All England Club with a losing record in 2007. She upset No. 9 Hingis 6-4, 6-2 to reach the fourth round of a major for the second time in 23 tries - and first since 2002.

In the meantime, a lack of success on the main tour sent her in search of victories at smaller events.

''There are points where you ask yourself, 'Why am I doing this? Why am I here in the middle of Oklahoma, with two people watching?''' said Granville, who won NCAA singles titles for Stanford in 2000 and 2001. ''But I think that's what keeps me going - I feel like I haven't reached my potential. I haven't played my best tennis yet.''

The Chicago native acknowledged that Hingis didn't exactly play her best tennis on Court 2, known as the ''Graveyard of Champions'' because of a series of stunning results. Hingis missed 11⁄2 months before Wimbledon with back and hip injuries.

She seemed a tad slow and plopped herself down in a sideline chair after getting broken to open the second set, even though it wasn't time for a changeover.

''I just didn't want to miss Wimbledon,'' the five-time major champion said. ''Probably at the end of the day, it wasn't, like, the smartest thing.''

Granville's next opponent, No. 31 Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands, also served up a surprise, defeating No. 8 Anna Chakvetadze of Russia 7-6 (8), 6-7 (5), 6-2. That match was suspended because of rain after Krajicek went ahead 6-5 in the first set on what Chakvetadze thought was an incorrect line call.

Chakvetadze screamed at the chair umpire, to no avail.

''He was watching the rain. ... If we are still playing, he should watch the ball,'' she said.

Either Granville or Krajicek, younger sister of 1996 Wimbledon champion Richard, will advance to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Williams and Henin, who have a combined 14 major titles, need one more victory apiece to set up a quarterfinal showdown. Henin beat Williams at that stage of the French Open.

Williams needed 43 minutes to overwhelm Milagros Sequera 6-1, 6-0 and said her tight hamstring is healing well.

''It's definitely a mental relief knowing I don't have the pain I had before,'' said Williams, who faces No. 10 Daniela Hantuchova next. ''It's the first time it's felt this good.''

Blake was, in many ways, his own undoing in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss to No. 20 Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2003 French Open champion. The American double-faulted eight times, including to end the third set, and totaled 29 unforced errors, 12 more than Ferrero.

The Spaniard won all 20 points on his serve in the second set, which closed with a frantic exchange, and when Blake pushed a forehand long, the players smiled at each other and met at the net for a high-five.

''I felt pretty confident today. But he clearly felt better,'' Blake said. ''Outside of a couple of things that I need to have a short memory about, I don't think I played that badly. He played exceptional tennis.''

He led 4-2 in the tiebreaker before dropping five straight points, netting an easy volley to set up match point, then sailing a forehand wide.

''It's a match we thought he would win,'' Roddick said. ''We thought he was the favorite coming in.''

That sort of sentiment meant little Friday, as the 64th-ranked Tipsarevic showed. Like Granville, the Serb paid his dues on the Challenger circuit, and he entered the day with a 49-60 career record, 0-7 against top 10 opponents. But he overcame a 5-2 deficit in the fifth set, then erased a match point while trailing 6-5 when Gonzalez put a backhand into the net.

Tipsarevic eventually completed his 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 8-6 win with a 128 mph ace, then raised his arms, large-lettered tattoos and all. The one on the left arm borrows from Dostoyevsky's ''The Idiot'': ''Beauty will save the world.'' The right arm bears letters representing family members.

As he basked in his victory, appreciative fans roared approval.

''The crowd likes to see someone beating and trying to beat and competing with the No. 5 in the world,'' Tipsarevic said. ''Ever since I was a kid, my dream was to win matches on Centre Court of Wimbledon.''