Archive for July, 2011

 

Petra Kvitova: a name to remember

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Petra Kvitova is our other new and exciting champion of 2011. Again, she was arguably the underdog. After all, Sharapova had been in the same situation seven years ago. She has done this before. It should be like coming home. But no matter how  comfortable she might of felt, it was obviously not enough.

Sharapova’s errors were rash and wild. Her shot-making was all over the place, and she found it nearly impossible to find the lines and angles she needed to beat a player who was on top form. But it wasn’t just Sharapova’s mistakes that brought the match to a finish in such a short amount of time. Despite playing a defending champion, it didn’t seem to get into Kvitova’s head. When Kvitova went up 5-3 in the first, it was already starting to become clear that she was on to a winning way. Double faults and more mistakes from Sharapova pushed the score line up in Kvitova’s favour.

In the second set there was a minor dip in form, but Kvitova got her confidence back to break again. Sharapova was clinging on for dear life, trying to grabble her way back and then ahead. But with her shots falling just short almost every time, a sense of inevitability was starting to settle. The Centre Court crowd became a little restless, pulling out their cameras so that they were ready for the presentation trophy. At times like this you always hope that the underdog fights back. But Kvitova had her strangehold on this game. She finished, delighted, after 85 minutes.

With Martina Navratilo more »

 

We have a new champion

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

The men’s finals of Wimbledon 2011 is widely being touted as having ushered in a new era of tennis. The Roger/Rafa dominance has been broken. Now, a new wave is coming through, the ones that have been hanging onto their shirt tails for past several years. It started, I would argue, with del Potro winning the US Open back in 2009. And now, Novak Djokovic has pushed himself to that same level, and one better. He has won two grand slams this year, and lost only 1 match: now that record is almost as impressive as Roger and Rafa’s various achievements over the years.

Novak Djokovic’s dream time at the top would have been cemented even if he had lost in the finals. He was destined to become number one in the world after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi finals. Beating Rafael Nadal was the icing on the cake that Djokovic had been dreaming about ever since he started playing tennis.

Djokovic dominated, much to everyone’s surprise, from the very beginning. His serve was on target, his backhands were blistering, and he targeted the lines with an accuracy down to the nearest millimetre. One of Djokovic’s most impressive elements to his game was his ability to keep Nadal at arm’s bay. The second stroke of brilliance was his ability to take whatever Nadal threw at him, and spin it back with an added extra flourish. Novak also succeeded in not letting Nadal’s history at Wimbledon get into his head. In fact, mentally, it was Djokovic that came to the match in the best frame of m more »

 

Men’s semi finals

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

The two men’s semi finals matches caught the world’s attention, as the four men faced up to muscle their way into Wimbledon’s finals. The first to be successful was Novak Djokovic, who was beaming from ear to ear in post match interviews, citing this tournament as his dream to win. He has only lost one of the last 50 matches he has played, and so it was little surprise that once he got into his
rhythm, Tsonga was merely a bump in the road. Still, a tricky bump that certainly put Nole through his paces. Despite some moments of purely brilliant, athletic and downright circus-acrobatic tennis, Tsonga made some howlers and awful unforced errors that completely undid his good work. He was playing in the last four for the first time, and with Djokovic able to smell a position as number one in the world, he just wasn’t going to let go of his dream.

The next pairing up brought slightly more attention, particularly over here in Britain. Fans of ‘Muzza’ packed out Henman hill and the stadium, although of course Nadal’s loyal supporters were there too. The ever watchful Uncle Tony was as stoic as ever, until the match got under way and then that passion that Nadal shares came to the fore. It was a spirited first set, the advantages jumping from one player to another. Britain squealed as Murray took the first set, and pundits blew forth with pride that their predictions had been so spot on. And then the second set came, and Murray could only wave over his shoulder at his good game pl more »

 

Sharapova and Kvitova through

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Out of the two women’s semi finals, the Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka  match was undoubtedly the most exciting. Kvitova had lost to Serena Williams in last year’s semi finals, and obviously had a score to settle with this particular round of Wimbledon. The Czech player cites Martina Navratilova as a hero, and she was beaming after her intense victory.

Her groundstrokes had the power and the beautiful angles, and although Azarenja took the second set after a fight back it seemed like she was having difficulty getting her shots to land where she wanted them to. In fact it seemed to be Kvitova’s mistakes that let Azarenka back in in the second set. After all, Azarenka was in her face semi final and the occasion may have left her a little stunned. But she is number five in the world and has been playing in similarly big matches, so she would have been expected to stand up against the pressure a little better.

It wasn’t just Azarenka’s faults though, they should not distract from Kvitova’s amazing display. She won her first semi final here at Wimbledon front of Martina Navratilova who was watching from the Royal Box, and faces Maria Sharapova in the finals.

Now, the Sharapova v Lisicki match. Well, it wasn’t quite as thrilling. It lasted an hour and 25 minutes, and although here was a moment of disbelief at the beginning when Sharapova went 0-3 down, the match levelled out the way everyone had thought it might do. The former Wimbledon champion on 6-4 6-3, and althou more »

 

Men’s quarter finals

Friday, July 1st, 2011

We’ve had an exciting couple of days with both sides of the tournament, but this time it was the men’s turn to shine at Wimbledon. The battle to get into the semi finals caused quite a stir, with one of the top four being knocked out.

Of course, you will all know by now that that player was one Roger Federer. Out of the top four, there were others whom I thought would be more likely to be sent out before the semi finals. Andy Murray could have been crippled by nerves, for example, and Novak Djokovic is hardly his most comfortable on grass. After Rafael Nadal’s injury you might also consider him as a potential candidate to be knocked out ‘early’. But no, it was Roger Federer, and even Jo-Wilfried Tsonga appears to be still reeling from his performance and victory over a man who is a legend at Wimbledon.

Federer is surprisingly upbeat after his defeat, saying with a smile that he still has a lot left in him and he is looking forward to the rest of the year. Either he is very good at putting on a front or he is genuinely quite happy, and I would probably agree with the latter. Federer has definitely broken into a new relaxed – although not laid back or lazy – part of his career, where cramming in as many wins as possible just isn’t the top of his agenda. Tsonga was, unsurprisingly, beaming in the post match interviews.

Tsonga will now play Djokovic, who beat the new pretender Tomic. Tomic has had a superb run, with the 18 year old making waves in the men’s tournament ju more »