Archive for the ‘Wimbledon’ Category

 

Rafa’s Back…

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Today on Centre Court, The Raging Bull from Majorca was just too strong for the tricky 24 year old from the Czech Republic in this year’s Wimbledon final. Bjorn Borg predicted 4 sets to Berdych, Jonh McEnroe 4 sets to Rafa, but both turned out to be run; despite the fight of his life, Berdych went down in three sets to the returning champion.

Yes, he’s back. After a year blighted by injury and having to miss Wimbledon, Rafa looked completely back at home on the green grass of SW19. It hadn’t always looked that way; he dropped a number of sets before his final match, but as it got closer to his potential final appearance his game was back to impeccable Rafa standard. Like a key change in a cheesy boy band ballad, suddenly Nadal’s game had gone up a gear and the crowd were on their feet as the champion returned. His victory over home favourite Andy Murray was a strong omen for what was about to come.

Berdych was infallible as the game started; whatever nerves and shakes he had about appearing in his first Grand Slam final were invisible. Wimbledon isn’t your normal Grand Slam final either; the whole tortuous process of the long, long walk from the locker room, down the shining staircase into that glass-and-polished-wood lobby where the names of former champions look down on you. And then there’s crossing under that archway, emblazoned with the famous words from the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling, that embody the Wimbledon tournament: ‘If you can meet with triumph and di more »

 

Women’s Finals

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Once again, Serena Williams made it clear why the Williams family are treated with such respect and awe when it comes to tennis. Out of the past 11 titles taken at Wimbledon in the women’s tournament, 9 of those have been won by a Williams sister. Now that is an impressive statistic.

The finals match against Zvonareva was over in just 66 minutes, but it was undoubtedly the biggest 66 minutes of the Russian’s life. She came a cropper at 6-3 6-2, but she battled in a way that certainly justified her place in the women’s final. She did good not to go with a lower score, managing to see off a break point to level 303 in the first set. Williams missed the second break point, but she took the next with some true Williams style.

She also remained incredibly calm, managing to keep any emotion that would bring her game under any more pressure. But at the end of the match, she was disappointed with her form. It must be difficult to go out in a final with a scoreline of 6-3 6-2, even if it is against one of the most brutal players on the women’s circuit. On match point, she could only watch forlornly as a smash flew past her into the back wall and Serena took the title.

Admitting that she was disappointed and hadn’t played her best, it was still a remarkable achievement for a player that underwent surgery just last year, and ranked 21st in Russia. Unfortunately it doesn’t matter how fantastic a run you have, coming up against Serena Williams in a final at a tournament that is s more »

 

Looking forward to the finals

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

There doesn’t seem a worse way to be knocked from a tournament, than when you play your absolute best and yet your opponent manages to beat you in straight sets. Unfortunately for Andy Murray, this was the case yesterday in the semi-finals. Rafael Nadal beat Murray 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 6-4, bringing out those big guns of his to knock back Britain’s hopes for another year. The crowd were split in their loyalties; many of course had paid good money to see Murray, but Nadal isn’t a stranger to the Wimbledon audience and although his winning points weren’t greeted with quite such raucous enthusiasm, there were nonetheless a great number of Rafa fans to spur him on.

Murray didn’t play badly; he seemed so relaxed and focused he was almost Federer-esque. The occasion of the moment didn’t, at least obviously, be affecting his game. The pair were both into a rhythm from the word go, showing off their respective talents in serving, forehands and backhands. Murray’s serve was particularly good, undoubtedly an asset when you have a man like Nadal prowling at the other end of the court. The first break  was at 4-4, with Murray pushing a forehand out of the tramlines and giving Nadal the chance to seal the first set. The second set remained very similar to the first; Murray’s serve kept himself out of trouble and Rafa continued to play groundstrokes at a speed that seemed humanly impossible.

You had to wonder whether any of those balls had offended Nadal during the tournament, because he se more »

 

Men’s Quarter Finals

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

As if the women’s quarter finals weren’t enough, the men’s singles quarter finals have managed to give me palpitations. Novak Djokovic started off the first quarter final match and although it wasn’t a shocker for him to beat Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3 6-2 6-2, he played with a vitality, emotion and deftness that made him look like the Djokovic from two or three years ago, the one that won the Australian Open. The stilted, unhappy, out of form Djokovic of the last few years has disappeared; the Djoker has returned. And he will go on to play Tomas Berdych, the culmination of the biggest shock of the day.

Once again, Roger Federer won’t be in a Grand Slam final. At the French Open we could put that down to an anomaly; this time it was just plain freaky. All the credit has to go to his competitor, Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, who beat Federer 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-4. After such a fantastic year at the French Open, Berdych could have disappeared into obscurity in the changeover to grass court. Except of course, this being the wonderful game we know and love, quite the opposite has occurred. Berdych beat Federer Mind-blowing chaos broke out in Centre Court, with barely a handful of people staying on to watch the opening games of Andy Murray’s match, probably needing to dowse themselves with cold water and drink something sugary to help recover from the shock they had just seen.

Fortunately for those of unsound nerves, t more »

 

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 »