Eagerly exploiting the faster surface, Sharapova followed her Birmingham finals appearance with a suffocating salvo to ignite her Wimbledon campaign. The transition from clay to grass proved a bit less hospitable, however, to two terrors of the terre battue. Unceremoniously ushered out of their All England Club debuts, Verdasco and Stosur failed to translate their six combined clay finals into the language of grass. But their defeats speak less about their shortcomings than about the prodigious achievements of Nadal and Federer in winning “Channel Slams” during the past two years. A relatively obscure feat in the tennis statistical pantheon, the Roland Garros-Wimbledon sweep ranks with the elusive Indian Wells-Miami double. One Andy came within a single victory of that rare accomplishment last year, while another Andy duplicated that near-miss this year. He opens Centre Court and our Day
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