Archive for June, 2010

 

Women’s quarter finals

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Well at least we can guarantee there won’t be a Williams/Williams final this year, at least in the women’s singles. Venus Williams was knocked out comprehensively by unseeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-2 6-3. Not many would give the 22 year old much chance against the world number 2, but not only did she play the tennis of her life, Venus struggled seriously with key areas of her game.

Twice Williams served consecutive double faults, and struggling to get the throw of the ball right. Now sometimes a player can get away with these kinds of howlers if the opponent isn’t going to take advantage of the weakness, but Pironkova played every ball and created every opportunity to knock Venus from the tournament.

Whilst Venus’ game was stodgy and littered with unenforced errors, Pironkova played with passion and flare. She also managed to save the break points that could have turned the match entirely back into the American’s favour.  Although the crowd love an underdog, there weren’t all too many of them there at Court number one, which was a disappointment as this young player certainly has the potential to go very far.

Another upset at the tournament came in the form of21st seed Vera Zvonareva. After looking so confident knocking out Justine Henin, the sky seemed the limit for Clijsters on her first return to Wimbledon. The 25 year old Russian lost the first set 3-6, but Clijsters game appeared to be unravelling at the corners and the former US Open champion was becom more »

 

Roddick Crashes Out and other stories

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

It was a shock seeing last year’s finalist Andy Roddick come a cropper in a tournament many had pipped him to win, and if not win at least a final or semi-final place. But he came unstuck against Taiwanese Yen-Hsun Lu. Unseeded, and ranked world number 82, Lu gave the performance of his life to get past the former finalist.

It wasn’t until the last few games of the fifth set that you could truly believe Lu could win. Andy Roddick is good at five setters, and Lu had never played in a fourth round match before; more than that he had never been pass the second round at Wimbledon in any of his six appearances at the grand slam. So the odds appeared stacked against him; particularly with a man as fit and formidable as Roddick. He had fallen short at Queens, but this was his chance to get back to where he had failed last year and this time come out the triumphant one. Even discounting last year’s final performance, Roddick’s playing history shows a comfort level at Wimbledon that certainly surpassed Lu’s.

Whatever it was –  whether comfort level, pressure, skill, fitness, a better game plan –  Lu did what many was thought the impossible and knocked Roddick from his beloved tournament. The first set was won comfortably by Roddick, but Lu went on to take the next two sets in two very tense tie-breaks. The nerves of a possible victory in the fourth set appeared to rattle Lu’s game, and he was unable to send Roddick home just yet. It took a very close fifth set, where Lu saved br more »

 

The Longest Match in History

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Desperate for that summer bikini body? Wanting to get rid of some of the midriff flab? Allergic to any form of physical exercise? I have the perfect solution: watch John Isner play Nicolas Mahut, and I guarantee the pounds will shed as you sweat and twitch from nerves and pure exhaustion. The longest match in tennis history – a staggering 11 hours and five minutes over three days –  was wearily won by the big American Isner. Many who read this and hadn’t heard of the match may think the scoreline you are about to read is a typo, but I can assure you it isn’t: the final score settled at 6-4 3-6 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-3) 70-68. It’s exhausting just reading that, never mind actually having to play it.

The match past rather unnoticed on its first day. It was when it became obvious that day two wasn’t going to finish the match off that the crowd and the audiences around the world began to realise what exactly was happening. No man was breaking the other’s serve, with the pair were both playing the services games of their lives, and as the day dwindled on day two the shock and awe at exactly how long this match had gone on for – and could continue to go on for – finally sank in. Isner started to move like the court was a pool of treacle, and with each lumber towards the court it seemed that Mahut had the advantage. He skipped and jumped whilst Isner traipsed and lolloped. Mercifully for the two athletes, the match was drawn to a close as the light dimmed, halted at an unbelievable 59- more »

 

A Round Up

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

What with the Isner/Mahut match, the rest of the opening stages of the tournament have been rather eclipsed. But there have been some scares, some winners and some losers.

Something that is actually more unbelievable than a 70-68 scoreline is the story that two former champions had sets taken off them in their opening matches. Tennis fans watched stunned as Roger Federer had two sets whipped off him by a plucky Falla. It seemed down to Federer’s superior experience and frame of mind that he was able to get the match back at all, with Falla winning the first two sets 5-7 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1) 6-0. As the scoreline suggested, Falla began to ran out of steam towards the end, but he was brutal and unforgiving as he outplayed Roger on what is arguably his court. Sunny Centre Court was buoyed by the eventual return to winning ways by the Swiss; we like shockers but something that shocking would have simply been too much. Federer didn’t exactly have an easy way into the third round either, with Serbian qualified Ilija Bozoljac really engaging the crowd as he played. The eventual scoreline went Federer’s way: 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

Rafael Nadal has also had a scare, losing two sets against Robin Haase, ranked 151st in the world. Rafa eventually won the game 5-7 6-2 3-6 6-0 6-3, but there were some rocky moments out there for the Spaniard before he finally kicked his game into gear. Nadal needing five sets to beat somebody in a match that isn’t the semis/finals? I’m not sure t more »

 

Wimbledon excitement mounting….

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Who needs the World Cup, vuvuzelas and incomprehensible off-side rules? For the tennis fans of the world, there’s a special marking on the calendar: it’s the Wimbledon season once again. Strawberries and cream, cardigans, the all-white uniforms for the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’s biggest two weeks of the year. All of these things get tennis fans and fans of the summer (and cardigans) tingling with excitement. As a biased Brit myself, I have to say I have a glow of pride and exhilaration at the idea of Wimbledon beginning again. Of course it’s helped by the fact it is wedged so close to the end of the French Open. It must be an exhausting schedule for the players, but a bonus for the fans.

So what has been happening whilst we’ve been coming down from a French Open high? Queens conjured a raft of surprises and unexpected defeats, starting with Andy Roddick’s exit to Israeli Dudi Sela. With Roddick being considered a King amongst Kings at this event, the upset was a truly shocking one, at 6-4 7-6 (10-8). Roddick will be disappointed going into Wimbledon with a poor warm up at Queens, particularly at a tournament he dominated at for so many years.

Another Andy went awol at the AEGON Championships: Andy Murray was defeated by American Mardy Fish 6-4 1-6 7-6 (7-2). This was a blow for the top British player; Wimbledon is the one tournament where even Murray doubters have to admit he is dangerous, and yet he is going into it with  more »

 
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