Rafael Nadal was the star of the show at Wimbledon on Thursday as Stefanos Tsitsipas secured a thrilling third-round matchup against Nick Kyrgios of Australia.
Spanish player Roberto Bautista Agut withdrew early from the second round of play at the All England Club, becoming the third player to do so after Covid.
While women's fourth seed Paula Badosa set up a matchup against two-time winner Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova, last year's beaten finalist, was shocked by British wildcard Katie Boulter, losing 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
The door to the semi-finals opened up for second seed Rafael Nadal as he faced off against Lithuanian journeyman Ricardas Berankis on Centre Court in search of a rare calendar Grand Slam.
17th seed Spain With his withdrawal due to a coronavirus, Bautista Agut joined 2017 finalist Marin Cilic and 2021 runner-up Matteo Berrettini as the third potential threat in Nadal's half of the draw.
The shocking first-round fall of sixth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, who challenged Nadal to five sets at the French Open, has also been to Nadal's advantage.
The 36-year-old Spaniard's chances of winning a third Wimbledon title are seriously jeopardized by the volatile Kyrgios and the gritty fourth seed Tsitsipas of Greece.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion had excruciating foot discomfort at Roland Garros, but he has since had therapy to lessen it, and on Tuesday, he was able to move with ease in his first-round match.
Kyrgios was in top form as he easily defeated Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, the 26th seed, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.
The 27-year-old, who in his All England Club debut in 2014 advanced to the quarterfinals, did not encounter a single break point.
"I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm not that bad, "said he. "In the first round, I wasn't even close to my best, but today, I was in the zone."
The five-set victory Kyrgios had over British opponent Paul Jubb in the opening match was tainted by his admission that he had spit at the crowd while accusing them of being disrespectful.
He was his typical belligerent self in his post-game news conference on Thursday, criticizing the media for their coverage of his first match.
"There was just nothing wrong with what I did today that the media could report, "added he. "I simply understand that you cannot ask me anything and cause any controversy."
Tsitsipas defeated Jordan Thompson of Australia. 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.
Tsitsipas remarked, "I feel like everyone here knows who Nick is.
"We've faced off in a lot of fantastic games. He plays well, and when he wants to fight, he fights well.
On the opposite side of the men's draw, seeds have also fallen, with notable early defeats including third seed Casper Ruud and semifinalist from the previous year Hubert Hurkacz.
However, the top seed, Novak Djokovic, has already advanced to the round of 32 and is attempting to tie Pete Sampras for the most Wimbledon victories with seven.
After testing positive for Covid-19, Bautista Agut earlier claimed he had "notified Wimbledon of his withdrawal."
The competition was postponed in 2020 owing to the pandemic and held in a smaller venue with players enclosed in a bubble in 2021, however this year everything is back to normal at the All England Club.
In the women's competition, Britain's Boulter overcame a deficit to defeat Pliskova, honoring her late grandmother, who passed away this week, in the process.
The world number 118, who will next compete against Harmony Tan, Serena Williams's victor, remarked, "I am shaking.
Thank you for helping me get through it since the crowd was incredible, she remarked.
"I'm likely to become emotional. I'd like to dedicate that to my grandmother today as she passed away two days ago.
Badosa defeated Irina Bara of Romania in straight sets, while Czech 25th seed Kvitova defeated Romanian Ana Bogdan in a 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) victory.
Iga Swiatek, the top seed, faced Dutch competitor Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove to extend her winning streak to 37 games. Swiatek had won her last six competitions.