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‘That was luck’: Breaking down Sinner’s ridiculous ‘tweener’ vs. Ben Shelton

The first week of the men’s tournament was dominated by comebacks from two sets down. The record of nine such results in the Open Era at Wimbledon was equalled after four days of play and then broken on Saturday night when 15th seed Holger Rune rallied to beat Quentin Halys.

Players involved in the 10 matches have been at a loss to explain why they keep happening and whether they will continue to happen. The Open Era record for a Grand Slam tournament is 14, dating back to the 2002 Australian Open. But Rune’s victory sums up some of the theories at play.

Firstly, many of these comebacks have been interrupted by rain. Delays allow the losing player to regroup and force the player ahead (often someone who was not expected to win, like Halys) to stop and think about the excellent position he is in.

Halys is also ranked more than 200 spots below Rune at No. 220. The same could be said for world No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov, who is making a comeback against No. 91-ranked Shang Juncheng. Some top players are creating the conditions for this comeback record to be broken.

Third, Halys is a powerful server who, in Rune’s words, “plays big on his returns.” Against players who are great servers but unreliable on returns, it doesn’t take much to turn a match around, especially on a surface as slippery as grass. That was true for Rune and Halys, and in many of the other comeback matches.

Dimitrov didn’t think the comeback series of victories had necessarily inspired his own loss to Shang on Thursday, but there might be some players in Week 2 who won’t feel quite so hopeless if they find themselves 2-0 down.

And Taylor Fritz, in his fifth match against Sascha Zverev, could be another to join that list…

GO FURTHER

Wimbledon recap: Gauff and Djokovic draws, Iga Swiatek loss and rain delays