Things We Learned on Day Eight of 2014 Wimbledon


1. Given Stan Wawrinka’s uneven form since winning Monte-Carlo, I was pleasantly surprised to see him dispatch Feliciano Lopez, a very tough grass court player, in straight sets, to make his first-ever Wimbledon quarterfinal. He was down early in the second set tiebreak, but played with great focus to come back and win the set.

I don’t expect him to beat Roger Federer on grass, but this is a great result from him, especially considering that he hasn’t been past the second round of Wimbledon since 2009, with three first-round losses since then. If things go right for him in the quarters, and Fed is flat, who knows what could happen.

2. I’m looking forward to seeing Simona Halep play Sabine Lisicki. The top-ranked seed left in the draw hasn’t been tested much on her way to the quarters (her fourth-round opponent was Zarina Diyas!), so it may be difficult for her to suddenly play someone like Lisicki, who plays so well on this surface. Of course, Lisicki could collapse under Halep’s steady onslaught, so it goes both ways. At any rate, I’ll be paying close attention to that quarterfinal match-up.

3. Argh, my power went out before the dramatic conclusion of Kerber-Sharapova. What terrible timing. I’ll have to watch the replay to see the ending, but kudos to Angelique Kerber for pulling that one out. It’s not easy for someone with her game to weather the storm against Maria Sharapova’s big hitting.

Also, it must be said that the women’s tournament has provided some really excellent and exciting matches so far. Petra Kvitova vs. Venus Williams was fantastic, and this one was great as well. I am still waiting for that amazing, high-quality match on the men’s side to pull me in. (Maybe it was Kyrgios-Nadal, but I wouldn’t know, since my power was out!)

4. So much Dorkerer.

5. Something really bizarre happened with Serena Williams in her doubles match. USA Today has the scoop:

A doctor was called on court, and Serena appeared to be in tears as she sat in the changeover chair. She buried her hands in her face and consulted with the doctor for 10 minutes before taking the court to play.

A statement from Serena and Venus is expected shortly. The BBC has shown Serena leaving the grounds with her coach, Patrick Mourataglou, who, in a text message, had said he had not seen Serena in two days.

Serving in the third game, Serena could at times barely grip or catch the tennis ball. All four of her serves were double faults. None even registered on the radar gun.

After a visit from the umpire, Kader Nouni, and consulting with Venus, the eighth-seeded sisters retired trailing 0-3.

Later, Serena’s half sister, Isha Price, said her 32-year-old sister had been “sad” and “emotional” since her loss three days ago to Cornet and hadn’t been eating much, but not more than normal after a tough loss.

Price said Serena did not appear ill before the match, and she wasn’t aware of any medication she might be taking. Price said the five-time Wimbledon winner would not have taken the court if she were not well.

“She seemed emotional, sad, you know what I mean?” said Price, who declined to speculate on whether Serena’s state of mind had anything to do with Mouratoglou. “But before the match she was fine.”

6. I didn’t get to see most of Nick Kyrgios’ four-set upset over Rafael Nadal, thanks to the aforementioned power outage, but I did get to make a few GIFs of it. Another one for me to watch on replay. The future looks bright for Kyrgios. (Hopefully brighter than things have gone for the last Aussie youngster to make the Wimbledon quarterfinals.)


1. We will not have a Big Four semifinals day. I was kind of hoping for it. There’s been a lot of chaos this year with the guys, I thought all four of them would make it. Alas, the world No. 1 fell. That said – Nick Kyrgios did a wonderful job today, and looks in scary-good form. I’ll be interested to see if he can keep his cool in the next round. He was pretty shocked himself:

2.Petra Kvitova is AT Wimbledon.

Petra is more at Wimbledon than she’s been at any tournament in a while: by which I mean, her shots are landing inside Wimbledon. Inside the court, even. Regularly. And with pace and angles. The former Champion faced some resistance in a brilliant battle with Venus early last week but since then she has been cruising, and compatriot Barbora Zahlavova Strycova could do nothing to stop her take a 6-1 7-5 victory today to go through to the semis.

BZS did a good job of keeping her cool. Sam Smith, commentating for the BBC, mentioned during the match that BZS had consulted a sports psychologist FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER CAREER this year. Which is mind-boggling, considering the emotional struggles she faces every match. It’s paying off: she kept her cool throughout today’s encounter, raising her game slightly in the second set.

Every match Kvitova plays is on her racket though, and her racket was really swinging beautifully. She faces another Czech in the semifinal, Lucie Safarova, and unless Petra goes into meltdown I can’t see her missing out on a spot in the final.

You never know with Petra.

3. Stan and Roger have football based emotions:

4.Andrea Petkovic is doing pretty well in the doubles and also as a human.

5. No but seriously everyone has twitter game today:


1. I’m writing this seconds after USA lost to Belgium, just so you know my mindset. Anyways, I’d like to start with Sabine Lisicki’s MTO that she took today in the third set against Yaroslava Shvedova when she was serving down break point. It was clear prior that point that her serve was compromised, but there was nothing obvious that occurred physically–no fall or stretch–to worsen things in that moment.

I have no doubt that Lisicki was hurting, but I just don’t think you should be able to take a MTO in that situation unless it is very extenuating circumstances, such as a terrible fall. I’m not sure that there’s an easy fix to this situation–Lisicki didn’t break any rules, but it did reek of gamesmanship and it put Shvedova at a terrible disadvantage. Here’s what Lisicki had to say about the situation:

Lisicki denied her choice of medical time-out had been tactical. ‘The timing was very unfortunate,’ she said.

‘I hit a ball before, and it just went into my back. I tried to keep going. I played a few points but I wasn’t able to lift my arm.

‘It was obvious. I was serving 50 miles an hour or something. I don’t remember if I ever served that slow in my life before. That’s why I had to call the trainer.’

To accusations of gamesmanship, she responded: ‘I cannot change their opinion. I just know honest to myself that that hasn’t been the case because I really tried to play several more points.

‘I have a big respect for my opponent. It’s the first time that I had to do it ever. That’s the only thing I can say.’

Lisicki ended up holding after the took the MTO, and she went onto win the match. She’s now into the Wimbledon quarterfinals again, and I give her all of the credit in the world–she comes alive at Wimbledon. I’m just not a huge fan of the ways in which this MTO rule can be abused.

2. I just re-watched the Serena incident again, because the first time I was watching it I was writing at the same time. It is just scary how off-balance she was out there, and how nobody could really take control of the situation.

A few people tweeted me about Pam and Chrissie mentioning drugs in their commentary during this episode, and since I had heard something similar I went back and re-watched. Once Serena finally decided to call it quits–after her game of four straight double fault– this conversation occurred as Pam and Chrissie were speculating about what was wrong:

Chrissie: Is it a virus? Is it something intentional or unintentional in her system that they may drug test for?

Pam: Well they do have drug testing at all of the majors. And there will obviously be a lot of speculation about what is wrong with Serena Williams.

IMO, this was not Chrissie and Pam accusing Serena of doping, but merely them wondering if some medication that she took for her illness caused her to become so disoriented.

However, I can see how it could be taken the wrong way, especially considering the accusations that have always surrounded Serena in her career. I could have done without that particular speculation given how seriously ill Serena looked on court.

Regardless, I just hope that Serena gets better soon.

3. What a day on Centre Court! I could not be more impressed with how Nick Kyrgios handled himself out there, and Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber simply stole the show. What a ticket today. I wrote about the Maria and Angie match and Rafa’s grass-court struggles for Bleacher Report.

4. It’s that time where we should all just LOL at predictions, right?

Well, my men’s final pick of Murray d. Federer can still come true, but I’m guessing Serena won’t be beating Radwanska on Saturday.

I only picked two quarterfinals completely correct: Halep/Lisicki and Dimitrov/Murray. The only other quarterfinalists I correctly guessed were Djokovic, Federer, and Kerber.

Predictions are a futile exercise, especially when they’re mine.

5. Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova both got through their quarterfinal matches without complication, which might be a Czech miracle. I’m pretty stoked for their semifinal clash.

Same goes for Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka.

6. When in doubt, Rafa fans, blame Fer:

7. Random tweets I favorited:

8. I meant to link this yesterday but completely failed. Reem Abulleil caught up with Fernando Gonzalez at Wimbledon! Read the whole thing, but here’s the best part:

Any regrets over a result?

Yes, the semi-final of the French Open against Soderling. I think that one, by far.

That moment when you wiped a mark on court using your bottom…

It’s not something that I’m proud of. I know that it made a lot of people laugh and some other not, but it’s not something that I’m proud of. I didn’t think about it. I didn’t realise that I am playing the semi-final of the French Open in that court with that kind of people watching on TV…

Have you watched it on YouTube since then?

Yes, I saw it a few times.

3 Responses

  1. Moo Tennis
    Moo Tennis July 2, 2014 at 3:42 am |

    What an amazing day yesterday and Wednesday has the potential to be even more awesome! Absolutely thrilled that Lucie and Petra both won. It was a shame there weren’t more in the crowd for both quarters. Kvitova v BZS was a fun match.

    Sharapova v Kerber was easily the match of the tournament so far and a definite contender for WTA match of the year. Kerber always seems to come up second best in these types of matches. She defended remarkably well, but was also able to attack when given the chance and went for her shots more than I’ve ever seen before in a match of this importance.

    Nadal v Kyrgios was a very entertaining match. I think the way Kyrgios reacted afterwards, seemingly very calm after taking out the world number one, was interesting. I think he has a real shot against Raonic and having less than a day for this win to settle in will probably help him.

    I’m confused by all the talk about Serena. People get ill. The only thing shocking was that she tried to continue playing the match for as long as she did. BBC were making a huge deal about it and they were calling it “the story of the day”. Wimbledon said it was a viral illness… But can you imagine feeling rotten and trying to play tennis?

  2. Joshua Gibson
    Joshua Gibson July 2, 2014 at 5:00 am |

    A couple of thoughts regarding MTO’s, which remain a nagging issue in tennis. My general attitude is not to question a player’s decision — encouraging players to receive LESS medical care in an age of unprecedented injury rates seems both inhumane and counterproductive. And yet, it seems pretty obvious to me that such timeouts are, probably more than occasionally, used for tactical advantage.

    Specifically as regards Lisicki: I don’t care if nothing “extenuating” happened. Many sports injuries occur suddenly and without any outwardly obvious cause. All I did was get out of bed today and my back seized up. Lisicki’s explanation: that she felt the injury, attempted to play through it, realized she couldn’t, called for the trainer, seems totally believable to me. With sudden back pain you may not realize immediately how severe it is, and all the BS you have to endure if you call for the trainer makes you less willing to call for the trainer immediately, which makes you more likely to lose the next several points, which makes the call seem “tactical.” I’m not a huge fan of Lisicki (all that crying!) so I’m not defending her out of loyalty, but merely out of a sense that what she said fits what we saw, even if we didn’t see a fall.

    I know Lindsay was arguing that taking MTO’s at any point in a game should be allowed as long as there are “extenuating circumstances” (a description of injuries I disagree with but can respect) but I’m still going to get grumpy about Darren Cahill for a minute. I don’t necessarily disagree with his suggestion (though, note above about discouraging athletes from seeking medical treatment) but I do find it interesting that he unload this opinion against Lisicki and not as Djokovic, who also took a timeout in the middle of the game without Cahill insisting he should forfeit the game. Djokovic fell, of course, and so it was more “obviously” an injury but under Cahill’s proposal you’d have to forfeit the game no matter what sort of injury it was. And remember that Djokovic once upon a time had a reputation for dubious MTOs and sudden, inexplicable retirements. Lisicki, as far as I can recall, doesn’t have that reputation. But it seems interesting to me that the intensity of complaint about MTOs seems to increase when the player involved is a woman. (We heard about Azarenka’s MTO against Sloane Stephens for an ENTIRE YEAR, though admittedly she made the mistake of taking the MTO against a young, American media-darling, but still . . )

  3. Master Ace
    Master Ace July 2, 2014 at 6:38 am |

    Halep was tested in her match against Lesia Tsurenko. Halep won the first set and led 3-0 until Tsurenko came alive and won set 2 then battled late in the third until Tsurenko got broken staying alive after breaking Halep to stay in the match.

Comments are closed.