Things We Learned on Day Six of Wimbledon


1. I don’t know what’s more impressive, the fact that Bernard Tomic beat 2007 semifinalist Richard Gasquet at Wimbledon, or the fact that he managed to do it while winning only 22% of points on the return. Okay, it’s definitely the latter.

It was a fun match to watch; both guys were constructing some beautiful points, and it couldn’t have been any tighter. Ultimately, Tomic’s more efficient serve was the difference, but a little luck could have swung the match the opposite way. When Tomic outfoxed Gasquet, it was mainly a result of three different tactics: 1.) varying the pace on the ball as he likes to do so often, 2.) hitting back behind Gasquet to get him wrong-footed, and 3.) going down the line many times, which helped exploit Gasquet’s passive court positioning and less-than-elite defensive skills. Because Tomic seems to match up well against big hitters, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do against Berdych on Monday.

2. Who has the cake draw now? Didn’t see that one coming.

3. There are times when Novak Djokovic just plays the most insanely good tennis. I didn’t see his whole match today against Jeremy Chardy, but in the part of it I saw, he was out of this world. Though his opponent was not nearly up to the task, the way Djokovic was striking the ball reminded me of another match where he was similarly on fire: the 2012 US Open quarterfinal against Juan Martin del Potro. When he plays like that, there’s no player I’d rather watch. Absolutely incredible stuff.

4. There is really no need to show close-ups of people’s feet when they are receiving treatment during an MTO. I was watching Ferrer vs. Dolgopolov during lunch, and got to watch two close-ups of disgusting feet. Nobody wants to see that, believe me.

5. Even less appetizing than all the feet was Dolgopolov’s game. I don’t tend to seek out watching Dolgopolov, and this match was a reminder why that’s my policy. He would hit so many amazing shots, followed up by the most insanely dumb mistakes on crucial points. He snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against a less-than-optimal Ferrer.

Juan José

1. Mónica Puig is quite a fighter. As I wrote yesterday, I have no idea how she’s doing so well on grass, given the way her long-winded strokes work and her lack of experience on the slippery surface. However, she managed to make the best out of her match being suspended due to darkness yesterday. Today Mónica came back from the set and a break deficit she carried over from yesterday, and booked a very intriguing fourth round encounter with fellow youngster Sloane Stephens. I have a feeling both women will put on quite a show (of some kind).

2. I had high hopes for Gasquet-Tomic today, but after one predictable first set, in which Gasquet was the better player but found a way to lose it in a tiebreaker, I abandoned their encounter in favor of some of Puig-Birnerova and Keys-Radwanska. There were way too many errors in key points, and you could sense that Gasquet had very little clue as to how he could break his much younger and less experienced opponent. The World No. 9 looked anything like his ranking. Also, I’m still baffled as to why he was hitting his cross-court backhand and almost every single forehand with so much topspin. Did he get the memo that the clay season is over?

I think at this point in time we should just stop expecting more from Richard Gasquet. There’s a reason his career has gone the way it has: he plays swagger-less tennis. This is the same concern I have with Grigor Dimitrov, and the main reason I thought the young Bulgarian might be destined for a similar run in the ATP Tour. Both often struggle to impose their games on lower-ranked players, and their general on-court demeanor doesn’t seem to change.

In other words, the ceiling has been hit, Reeshard. Still, there’s quite a bit of money to be made in the outskirts of the ATP top 10, and you’re still relatively young. Hence, I won’t feel too sorry for you.

3. Madison Keys is such a sure thing. I just love the way she competes, her complete confidence in her big game, and well, the inevitability of her success. If Madison were a young basketball player entering the NBA draft, she’d be the first one picked. Today she gave last year’s Wimbledon runner-up everything she could handle, and then some. That serve of hers could be the next dominant shot in women’s tennis.

Really, it’s going to be thrilling to cover the Madison Keys era.

4. David Ferrer is hell-bent on getting as far as he can at this year’s Wimbledon, no matter what the consequences are to his own body. Per @nadalnews, Spanish sports newspaper Marca has quotes from the soon-to-be World No. 3 about him getting a painkiller injection on one of his ankles. According to Ferrer, this is the first time in his career that he has this sort of treatment done.

If we recall, Ferrer had a pretty nasty tumble in his opening match at Wimbledon, and it seems like the man from Javea will just tough it out. Which is remarkable, given that he’s not a young guy with everything ahead of him.

As we know, Wimbledon is the only slam Ferrer has not made the semifinals in (he made the quarters last year and lost a tight four-setter to eventual runner-up Andy Murray). Ferrer is well aware of the fact that he has a golden opportunity to get there this year, hence the injection. Hopefully he doesn’t do more damage to that ankle, but I can’t say I don’t understand his decision to play on.

5. Spotify improves my life. Their new “Discover” feature can sometimes be goofy (it looks at what you’ve listened in the past and suggests similar artists that you might not know of). “Discover” pops up every time you start Spotify, and the other day it had a somewhat offbeat recommendation: it told me I hadn’t listened to Lianne La Havas in a while, so would I consider listening to a track of hers again? I couldn’t possibly say no – I loved the 23-year-old’s debut album Is Your Love Big Enough?, and Spotify was right – I hadn’t listened to it in a while.

Naturally, I haven’t been able to listen to anything else since then. And today, looking for music to help me put these scattered thoughts together, I found this show of hers at the 2013 Pinkpop festival in the Netherlands:

Watching Lianne perform made me realize just how great she is, how much I love her music, and how much I regret not driving to Dallas in March to go see her. #JankoSigh

P.S: Radiohead fans might want to check out the song she plays at the 24:30 mark. Trust me on this.

P.S 2: Below is a much, much better show. Better sound, better image, better setlist, better performance. Lianne La Havas is simply astounding. Thanks, France.


1. This is the best thing I have ever seen.

Seriously, I’m tempted to just end this list here. But I won’t, I love you guys too much.

2. That third set of Cetkovska/Stephens was one of the worst sets of tennis that I have ever seen. It was just where tennis went to die. HOWEVER, I do give Stephens credit for hanging in there and finding a way to win anyways. A lot can be said about her favorable draws, but she still manages to not mess them up, which is a lot more than I can say for a lot of players. I am very, very excited for her match against Monica Puig.

Sloane hasn’t lost before the third round of a slam since the 2012 Australian Open and has made at least the fourth round of four of the last six slams. That’s pretty impressive big stage consistency for someone so young.

3. The only women to make (at least) the fourth round of every slam this year: Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanksa, and Sloane Stephens.

The only men to make (at least) the fourth round of every slam this year: Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer.

4. Two players who have quietly marched through the draw but I haven’t paid attention to at all and maybe should: Andreas Seppi and Marion Bartoli.

Oh, and Roberta Vinci too. Vinci reached the fourth round of Wimbledon for the second year in a row — her consistency continues to impress. And perhaps she can give some lessons to Sara Errani?

5. Benoit Paire is just an absolute legend, you guys. A LEGEND.

6. Okay, Ernests Gulbis. You’re healthy and in good form and apparently not drinking and focused. You’re on a surface that really suits your game. You have the draw that people would dream of. And you lose easily to Fernando Verdasco on grass in the third round. I give up.

HOWEVER, gosh it was nice to see Fernando Verdasco play great tennis again. It has been missed, and I honestly didn’t think we’d ever see it again. The racket change has done him good. Awesome.

7. The first two and a half sets of Madison Keys vs. Agnieszka Radwanska was some of the best tennis I have seen all year from either tour. Such a fun contrast of styles and personalities on a surface that both felt comfortable on. Radwanska/Pironkova will be a lot of fun on Monday, and Keys should go home with her head held high. She played fantastically.

8. Here’s my list of the biggest surprises of the crazy week that was. I still can’t believe that Kenny de Scheppers and Adrian Mannarino are the only two Frenchmen remaining. They are the 10th and 13th-ranked players in their country!

9. Man, I’m excited for Middle Sunday. And Manic Monday. Gosh, I love Wimbledon. Now off to write something substantial for this here website. Sorry for the lack of writing this week, friends. It’s been a wild one. I will remedy over the next week. Thanks for sticking with us.

2 Responses

  1. Ophelia
    Ophelia June 30, 2013 at 1:24 am |

    Ferrer is totally going to hobble to the semifinals in much the same way Andy Murray fought through the pain of a similarly injured ankle at the 2011 French Open because of his wide-open path to his first semifinal there, isn’t he? Well, maybe not if del Potro is waiting for him in the quarters. Then again, del Potro took a nasty fall in his own match today and is the kind of player Ferrer loves facing.

    It was great to watch Tomic upset Gasquet, if only because his win makes the ATP’s Generation Next look slightly less pathetic after Raonic and Gulbis’s desultory losses and Dimitrov and Nishikori squandering away winnable matches. Stephens and Robson, they are not. (Although Janowicz has been acquitting himself well too so far.)

  2. James
    James June 30, 2013 at 7:30 am |

    Great round-up on the day, very enjoyable to read.

    Gasquet-Tomic was an enjoyable match, but once again Gasquet failed to step it up. I thought he did great to win the second set and would push on from there, but he played a very loose game at 5-6 in the 3rd set. Tomic was good value for the win.

    Also glad to see Vinci get a mention because she has rather silently floated into R4. Her match with Li really could go either way. I will definitely have to catch up on the highlights of Aga-Keys… I am so impressed with Madison this year and think she is destined for big things.

    Cannot wait for Magic Monday 🙂

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