1. Welcome to the top 10, Eugenie Bouchard. Talk about having a breakout season. The Canadian teenager, who started the year ranked outside the top 30, is into her third Grand Slam semifinal of the year after routining Angelique Kerber, and she’s the only WTA player to have made it that far at all three of the 2014 Slams. If she keeps putting herself in this situation, it’s only a matter of time before she’ll find herself hoisting a Slam trophy. The hype is real.
2. Speaking of hype, I have to grudgingly admit that I’m impressed that Grigor Dimitrov made his first career Slam semifinal, and will now enter the top 10. (I’m a serial Dimitrov doubter, sorry.) It was a pitiful performance from Andy Murray, who hasn’t even beaten a top 10 player this year, but Dimitrov played a great match. His game has obviously taken a step in the right direction in recent months, and we haven’t seen any of his fitness issues that used to be quite apparent in best-of-five matches. His hard work is definitely paying off. I still have my doubts that he will make much of an impact against Novak Djokovic in the semis, but maybe he’ll surprise me again.
3. Anything can happen in tennis, but Roger Federer has an incredible opportunity to reach the Wimbledon final, and possibly add to his Slam total here. Barring anything crazy happening, he should be able to handle Milos Raonic. And even with Federer being this far past his prime, he should still like his chances against Novak Djokovic on grass if they both reach the final.
Many tennis observers have pointed out that a lot of things would have to go his way for Federer to win another Slam. Many things have gone his way to get to this point. It would be a stunning result to see the old man pick up another Grand Slam title, but he’s in a good position.
Speaking of opportunities, Novak Djokovic hasn’t won a Grand Slam tournament since the beginning of 2013, and there have been some very big missed chances in the three Slam finals and one semifinal he’s reached between then and now. Can he get back in the winner’s circle and regain the World No. 1 ranking? It’s time for Djokovic to prove he can still come through in those biggest matches.
4. Nick Kyrgios hit some incredible shots at this tournament. He announced himself as the kind of high-level talent that the ATP so desperately needs. I’m looking forward to seeing more. Since his ranking will jump to around No. 68, we should now be able to watch him on the ATP Tour, rather than the Challenger circuit.
5. Here are 10 things you should know about Lucie Safarova, the under-the-radar Wimbledon semifinalist.
@newballsplease What kind of rubbish is that? Girls call themselves girls. Girls of all ages call themselves girls. Get over it
— Richard Ingham Evans (@Ringham7) July 2, 2014
2. I’ve been saying all year that the Big Four have not looked dominant in 2014, and that it’s just up to the rest of the ATP to take advantage. Coming into this tournament, Stan Wawrinka was really the only player who had been able to really take advantage of it, winning the Australian Open and Monte Carlo.
Today saw Grigor Dimitrov seize a chance against a bizarrely listless Murray, and Cilic and Wawrinka lose out on their opportunities to make it a Big-Four-less semis–Djokovic and Federer were certainly beatable today.
It’s too early to say that the Big Four days are over, but they are most certainly in decline. I’m glad there are some eager youngsters and still-hungry veterans that are taking advantage. I have a feeling that more will follow suit as the year continues. The auras are certainly fading.
3. Look, like Amy said earlier this week, Middle Sunday can be wonderful. As someone who usually works weekends because of sports, I was able sleep in, go for a long hike with my dog, and go have dinner with my dad at the lake. It was bliss.
But Wimbledon should not make their schedule for my comfort.
Middle Sunday is fine If the first-week schedule goes according to plan. But when things get backlogged like they did last week and there is a day without play, some players are put at a stark disadvantage.
You could see the consequences of the missed day of play all over the place today. Sabine Lisicki and Angelique Kerber were clearly very fatigued in their quarterfinals this morning. We’ll never know if it affected the outcome of the match–and it likely didn’t because of how well Bouchard and Halep were playing–but it certainly decreased the quality of tennis.
Then, playing his third day in a row, Wawrinka was battling “general illness” in his quarterfinal against Federer.
Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do about scheduling issues–bad weather happens. But it’s a shame when the tournament can’t break with tradition to make things a bit more fair for all players in the second week, and to do everything they can to make sure players are rested enough to play high-quality tennis.
4. Here are some quotes from Sharapova’s and Nadal’s pressers yesterday that I enjoyed:
Q. You were the favorite after Serena exited. Does it make the loss today more difficult to take?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I always consider myself one of the favorites because I’ve won Grand Slams before; been No. 1 in the world. It’s absolutely normal for people to have high expectations of me doing well in Grand Slam stages.
I certainly do, as well. Today could have gone either way, and it didn’t go my way.
Q. You’ve come in for a little bit of criticism about the sweets shop, given it’s not the kind of food for athletes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Criticism but great sales afterwards. It’s kind of like the best day after the criticisms. If you want to provide some more…
Q. Do you get the sense from that match that he’s a player you’ll be meeting time and time again in the future in perhaps the later stages of competitions?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. We have to see if I am able to keep playing the latest rounds in the future. I will see if he is able to keep playing the latest rounds in the future.
The sport is a mental part a lot of times. He has things, positive things, to be able to be a good player. But at the end, everything is a little bit easier when you are arriving. Everything is new. Nothing to lose. Everything is good. Everything is positive. You can do whatever and will be positive, and everybody see just the good things on you.
When you are there yourself, the rest of the people starts to see the negative things on your tennis.
We’ll see if he’s able to improve and to play at very high level for a long period of time. I wish him all the best.
5. I feel like a broken record, but man, am I impressed with Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep. I can’t wait for their semifinal tomorrow.
6. Random tweets I favorited:
Lol see RT @SportsnetTicker: Milos Raonic is the first Canadian male to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon since Robert Powell in 1908
— Brodie (@MindTheRacket) July 2, 2014
— Courtney Nguyen (@FortyDeuceTwits) July 2, 2014
"I certainly lost the match today. I don't think I won it." -Andy Murray, answering a question very correctly. #Wimbledon
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 2, 2014