1. John Legend can sing
Which is why this post is later than usual – I was in a very hot room next to a very hot Lake Geneva during a very hot heat wave drinking not-very-cold wine with a room of extremely sweaty humans one of whom was John Legend.
It was great.
2. Williams versus Williams is ON…but only just
So Serena Williams isn’t looking in great form right now, but the point is she’s surviving and week 1 for Serena is all about surviving. When this tournament began I mentioned that I thought her draw was fairly easy this year, and that I didn’t see a young player in the mix who could really step up and be that person who causes an upset in an early round. Turns out it was Heather Watson…although the upset wasn’t actually pulled off in the end.
Look, let’s be real, Serena was playing atrocious tennis. Atrocious. She looked nervous, the British crowd were clearly getting to her, the unknown opponent playing better than expected was getting to her, she just looked out of sorts. While that is the case, it’s also the case that Heather Watson was playing the most consistent and intelligent tennis we’ve ever seen her play, and she was scrambling really well for defensive shots too. So, credit where credit is due, guys.
Watson has never really had a big moment in the spotlight with British audiences, so regardless of result this is great for her.
— Andrew Eccles (@BackSwings) July 3, 2015
Watson is not very good at maintaining a lead, Serena is super brilliant at fighting back for a win, so a 3-0 lead in the final set was inevitably not enough for the Brit to come through the match. Williams will need to get out on a practice court and get some rhythm back, but you’d expect her to lift her level as her opponents get tougher and tougher. Serena survives, and in the next round she faces…
…Venus Williams. Venus has looked great throughout the tournament so far, progressing with ease and reminding everyone why she is a five time singles champion here. She cruised through her third round encounter with Krunic in straight sets and is just playing the kind of tennis that is uniquely awe-inspiring.
I don’t know who’s gonna come through this fourth round. I don’t know.
Serena through, 6-2 4-6 7-5
Venus through, 6-3 6-2
3. Nick progresses…
Ah, Australian youth. Kyrgios took out my semi-final pick Milos Raonic in four close sets on day 5, setting up a winnable fourth round with France’s Richard Gasquet. Yet again, we see that at the slams Kyrgios is able to fire himself up and perform really well against the top seeds, and he’s getting dangerously close to a quarter-final match up with Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka.
They both CRUSH the ball. That would be mouthwatering.
Kyrgios through, 5-7 7-5 7-6 6-3
4. …Bernie rants
Bernard Tomic came up against Novak Djokovic, who was in no mood to give anything away and worked through the match relatively quickly in straight sets. Novak has looked comfortable throughout the tournament so far, and faces another interesting foe in Kevin Anderson in round four.
It was after the match that Tomic came to life, unleashing an attack on Tennis Australia and accusing them of forgetting about him. I’m not going to reproduce the full thing, but here’s a taster:
Whatever they invested in me they got in return 10, 20 times more. That’s 100% certain. […] Now they are neglecting me, for some reason. They are not supporting me. Not respecting me. These guys down in Tennis Australia, Tiley, Healy, these guys, no one knows what they are doing, but they are doing not so good things.
People think I’m at war with Pat Rafter. It’s not true. Pat is a nice guy. He’s a good actor, he’s always prepared and knows what to say. He’s prepped by Tennis Australia. Deal with it, Pat. You’re the mask.
So, that’s going endear him to people, isn’t it.
Djokovic through, 6-3 6-3 6-3
5. Azarenka and Sharapova make quiet progress
I know somebody is going to be like “LOL, THEY’RE NEVER QUIET” but you, person thinking of writing that, should adopt the quietness you’re so protective of.
Azarenka and Sharapova have both been pretty much under the radar so far this tournament, mainly because of the ease with which they’ve pushed through their respective draws so far. Azarenka had no problems against Kiki Mladenovic out on court no.3, taking out the ever-improving French woman in straight sets. This has been a kinder draw than we’re used to seeing Vika get on her extended comeback tour as she tries to rebuild her ranking, but from now on it’s really tough. In the next round she faces Eastbourne champ Belinda Bencic, who is bound to put up a lot of resistance – the winner of that match faces a Williams in the quarter-finals.
Sharapova’s draw hasn’t been too bad either, and while Begu can have her moments there wasn’t much of one on court no.1 to trouble the world no.4. Sharapova’s path to the semi-final, where she’ll be hoping not to face Serena, has a couple of potential spoilers in the mix who might give the Russian more of a test. Lucie Safarova and Coco Vandeweghe are particularly dangerous, one of whom she’ll face in the quarter-final if she gets past Zarina Diyas.
Azarenka through, 6-4 6-4
Sharapova through, 6-4 6-3
6. Cilic versus Isner was always going to be a long one
This match has been held over into Day 6 because there is no time for John Isner to finish matches at Wimbledon. Britain has barely recovered from that Isner / Mahut three day extravaganza-torture-chamber thingy that happened a few years back, and John is quickly becoming known as that guy who plays tennis marathons.
After 4 hours and 16 minutes the score is completely locked. Upon resumption, it could be over in minutes or could take another hour.
I know people really hate big serve matches but I kind of love how these things end up happening between these guys. It’s like one of those Pokemon battles where you’re both Geodude, and you just keep using harden. Yep.
Cilic – Isner: 7-6 6-7 6-4 6-7 10-10
7. We see you, Wimbledon schedule
The crowd on CENTRE COURT were treated to Dimitrov versus Gasquet…which is a weird one to put on centre considering Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Stan Wawrinka were all available. If the choice was about the potential balance of the match (i.e. the organisers felt it would be more competitive than Venus straight-setting Krunic) then I don’t understand why Stephens-Safarova wasn’t the match of choice. Those are two good names, both in good form, likely to be close…which it was.
Actually I understand exactly why this happened, we all do. It’s nothing new at Wimbledon.
God forbid they schedule two women’s matches on centre court in one day. Those silly women thinking they can do sport that people would want to watch, eh?