Monday Madness

Jul 1, 2009

Apologies for the lateness of this blog: the mixture of the stress of travelling and the general stress of the Murray/Wawrinka match itself the cause of the delay. If I had known that the game was going to be that gruelling I would have taken a power nap before watching.

There’s a lot to cover as to what went on the first day of the second week. Firstly, there’s the women’s fourth round matches for the coveted quarter finals place. The Venus W./Ana Ivanovic match was predicted to be a gruelling test for both top ranked players. If either pulled through to beat the other, their name would be chalked up as a strong potential for the finals. Unfortuantely, it never got that far. Venus took control of the match by all accounts, and it appeared as though Ivanovic was going slowly dwindling. Her serve was all over the place and compared to the clout that Venus has, she wasn’t making a dent in Venus’ games at all.

In a darkly ironic way, it was the improvement of her serve which became Ivanovic’s downfall. After her first ace, she doubled over her heavily strapped knee. Between points, she burst into tears. And that was the end of the match; Ivanovic apologised and sat heavily on courtside,  crying into her towel. She gained her composure as she left the court but it was a shame to see leave under such circumstances. It also means the women’s final might boil down to a Serena/Venus final, and I’m not sure who out there is gunning for another one of those.

Women’s world no. 1 Dinara Safina had to pull out everything in her arson to beat Mauresmo in her fourth round match. Not only was it an impressive match that swung from a sure fire Mauresmo revolution over the world no. 1 to a crushing of the lower ranked Frenchwoman by the Russian, but the match also made history as the first to be finished under Wimbledon’s new roof. Safina looked genuinely delighted to be the first to win in a competitive match under the retractable roof. It looks like British newspapers will always claim Murray had that honour, but the records will show that it was a world No. 1 who battled through deservedly to a quarter final spot on a covered centre court.

The match on everybody’s mind though, was the Andy Murray vs. Stanislas Wawrinka game: two friends who knew each other’s play well. Stan The Man is a big backhand hitter; Muzza (the man could only get a name like that in good old England) needed to pull out his fanastic serve and volley tactics to stand a chance.

At first, Wawrinka ran away with the set. Emotions were high as British fans packed the newly enclosed centre court to the rafters; their cheers as Murray got a point and polite applause when Wawrinka did the same all sounded so much clearer and more amplified. If Wimbledon ever feels the need to modernise again they could hold a rock concert: the acoustics are fantastic.

The crowd looked on in despair as Murray was broken again and again; his serve and volley didn’t get a look in as Wawrinka pounded backhands to the baseline and tested Murray’s nerve with every rally. But in the end, with the crowd behind him he made it through.

Being not one of the Murray’s greatest fans, the sight of the Scotsman doing a lap of honour everytime he pulled off a particularly fantastic slice or when Wawrinka netted a forehand, was more than a little ‘cringe-worthy’. If  there was no-one there to channel such over-the-top support in a fourth round match you wonder how it would have turned out.

But in the end, Murray deserved the victory. He had to pull out everything in his training that has got him to this point so far; the increased fitness, the confidence in his serve and volley, his patience and fortitude. Despite whacking himself on his head in a ridiculous fashion with his racket on occasion, he held true to his new master plan to do well in these Grand slams. By all accounts, both men cut an impressive figures under the artificial lights. Finishing at twenty to eleven, it was the longest running match in Wimbledon history and so despite not being the first to win under the new roof, he made his own mark in the history books.

 

The lesser known heroes of Monday Madness

Around the world the coverage may have been different, but if you’re not British or a household name it’s very unlikely you’ll get a look in on the television over here in England. Nonetheless, there were others that made it through the day into their quarter finals. Djokovic beat Sela of Israel in a relatively comfortable fashion, and goes on to play Tommy Haas. Lleyton Hewitt went through the wringer against Stepanek of the Czech Republic; at one point it seemed as though however loud his fanbase were going to be he was going to be beaten with ease. But the Aussie powered through to take it to five sets and was victorious some exhausting hours later. He plays Andy Roddick in the quarter finals; a match made in heaven. Ferrero beat Giles Simon of France to get through to the quarters and will play Murray today; hope he brings his ear plugs as that Murray crowd could do some damage to them.

 

-          SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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