feather_ghyll: Tennis ball caught up at mid net's length with text reading 15 - love (Anyone for tennis?)
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Day three - Wednesday

I followed the results online until the Konta vs Vekic match had got to somewhere like 7-6 in the third, and then avoided them until I could watch Wimbledon on TV.

Again, I arrived home to see Nadal play, winning the first set and then the second comfortably enough against Young. He looked much more like it than he’s done at Wimbledon for years, and was electing to go into the net a lot. I thought he wanted to make sure he was done that night. Young finally got it together to compete in the third set and showed why he’s been doing well on grass with some blistering shots, but even after failing to serve for the match, Nadal broke again and, this time, there was no question of failing to serve for the match. Aside from blustering aphorisms, Becker, in commentating, offered some interesting insights about the tweaks Nadal had made to his game to transition from the clay.

At one point, when it looked like Nadal would win routinely (although I was enjoying watching Nadal play well, and with both players willing to come into the net, it was entertaining tennis), they switched to the last two games of the Kvitova match, where she was obviously suffering, and there was talk of her having trouble gripping the racquet, because of her injury, and she was obviously out-of-sorts more generally, probably – hopefully! – because of the lack of match play and training. In Today at Wimbledon, MacEnroe let slip that they hadn’t caught her attacker, which is awful. All credit to Kvitova’s opponent, because it was an up and down match by the sounds of it, and I think everyone was hoping for the fairy tale.

On the truncated Today at Wimbledon, I learned the outcome of the titanic Konta vs Vekic match – with Konta winning 10-8 in the third on a very warm afternoon (possibly helped by serving first in the third). The added edge was that Vekic has beat her in a close-run match at Nottingham a few weeks ago. Lots of players are drawn against players they have history with, or so it seems. Murray beat Brown (as I guessed from where the Nadal match was at when I started watching it) and now facing Fognini who has some big wins over him. Although not on grass.

I’m pleased for Heather Watson. We’ll see how she does against comeback mama Azarenka.

Day four - Thursday

I started watching after Rybakynova had broken back in the second, and changed the course of the match. When Pliskova could have taken it to a tie-break, she lost composure, I felt, and gave her opponent hope. They both played well, but Pliskova’s serve was not as consistent a weapon in the third, although I think the match was won in the mind. Another favourite out, then, and a back-from-injury story, with a player possibly playing even better because of it.

Faced with adulation for Federer (I am not denying how amazing a player he is, especially this year, after everything, I just couldn’t stomach the build-up), I refused the main offering for court no. 1 because I thought Kerber vs. Flipkens would be a better match. I think I was right. Flipkens played the most entertaining tennis, and was the queen of drop shots. Kerber found it a much more frustrating business (much discussion of how she’s not loving being number 1 in the world). But crucially, Flipkens could not back up any breaks she made, and Kerber won the first set and improved in the second, channelling some of her frustration and coming up with some mean shots of her own. It wasn’t a performance to make you rail that, as last year’s runner up and top-ranked player she should be the favourite yet, but she got through.

So Gulbis is back, playing well enough to beat Del Potro and will be challenging Djokovic in the next round. Intriguing.

I like Annabel Croft, but having had a lot of commentary from her and her bein on Today at Wimbledon (I saw bits of it), she does manage to stuff a few words or clauses too many in there, although I applaud her for trying to discuss the nuts and bolts of what wins players points. I noted that Wozniacki was playing late again, and think they owe her an early one the next round.

Day five - Friday

I was home in time for Nadal’s third-set tie breaker (Nadal is still going well), but my main thought was that that meant I’d get to see all of Murray’s match against Fognini.

Murray staeted hot, Fognini a little more slowly, but very quickly got into things, until he imploded, Murray was serving well enough, and won the first set. But oh, the second. Murray’s serve collapsed and unpredictable Fognini took advantage, and I was cross with the crowd for being glad about it, no matter how entertaining a player he is – Nadal had just got through in three! But Fognini seemed to have got injured early in the third (although he took his time to call for a trainer). Also inexplicable was that Murray didn’t deploy his beloved drop shot. I thought this well before Macenroe mentioned it. So, although he won the third, Murray seemed to be looking for Fognini to make errors, which he sometimes obliged by doing, but as the Italian seemed to improve, it was a dangerous tactic, and Fognini hit more winners, although you never knew what was coming from him from point to point. And a word of praise for the umpire, who had to deal with that.

I felt that Murray’s play was constrained, and he went down in the fourth, with only one dodgy drop shot way after I and MacEnroe had suggested it. But then he was at a point where he needed to keep his serve to force Fognini to serve for the fourth (at this point, we were aware the light was dimming and they’d have to close the roof if it went to the fifth). The next few games were amazing, Fognini had five set points, but Murray defended them, game after game, somehow, with ferocity and sheer pugnacious, champion’s determination, and won.

Again a truncated round-up show. Good for Konta for winning much more quickly, Azarenka beat Watson (who hopefully should rebuild on this grass-court season, and beat her in the mixed doubles, for of course, she’s part of the defending partnership).
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