WIMBLEDON 2015 - My highlights: Day Eight
The weather at Wimbledon has been amazing this year. This afternoon we had a little rain delay but luckily it was just a short shower and the players were out on court. Second Tuesday is traditionally the Ladies' quarter-final day but today something extra was on offer.
Last night's match between the world no. 1 Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson was suspended at 2 sets all due to bad light. They returned to No. 1 court to battle for a spot in the quarter-finals. Kevin Anderson made a promising start – blasting aces in the opening game of the 5th and final set. Kevin did a great job keeping up with Novak's game but nerves started to creep in at 5 all on his serve. He double faulted twice in a row to gift Novak a break for 6-5 lead. Novak was able to serve it out for a 7:5 win. It was a very close match, you've got to give credit to Kevin for putting up a great fight against one of the best returners in the game. The fact that he was able to take 2 sets off Djokovic speaks for itself but Novak is a great champion and knew how to respond. He fought back to level the match in a truly stunning manner and was able to win it in the end. This has got to be one of the best matches of the gent's draw so far.
First up on the Centre Court were Maria Sharapova and the unseeded young American player Coco Vandeweghe. Sharapova looked rather vulnerable, she was broken in the first set by Coco, who unfortunately did not consolidate the break and subsequently lost the first set 6:3. But never write off a young player who's hungry for a big win. Maria was serving for the match in the second set at 5:4 when Coco fought her way back into the match and forced a tiebrak, she won it to 3 to push Maria into the decider. Maria looked very shaky at times, missing first serves and double faulting, she hit 10 double faults in this match alone and she holds a record of the event with 38. Not good when you're playing against a big server like Coco Vanderweghe. Coco was down 0:3 in the third set and managed to comeback to 2-3 on her serve but failed to consolidate the break and once Maria led 4-2. She never lost control of the match again wining the 3rd set 6:3. Maria's experience and Coco's nerves played an important role in Maria's victory. Credit to Coco for fighting hard and pushing Maria to the limit today.
Match of the Day: Serena vs Victoria Azarenka. Hands down the best match of the tournament so far. These two bring the best tennis out of each other. Both very focused and dialled in from the first point, both such great fighters. The quality of that match was extraordinary. Vika won the first set 6:3 and looked very strong and threatening; despite a few double faults, she was solid on serve and didn't allow Serena to break her. But you know what happens when Serena loses a set and has her back against the wall – she starts playing better and better (if that's even possible at her level!) and finds a way back into the match. The Comeback Queen was hard at work on Centre Court today. She was as strong as ever in the beginning of the decider and earned herself a 3:0 lead against Vika. Vika managed to hold her service games but was unable to break Serena a lost the last set 6:3. Amazing effort from Azarenka who played a fantastic match but as it often is Serena's able to dig very deep to play at a higher level then her opponent. That's why she's such a great champ. Here are some stats: Serena: 46 winners (that's including 17 aces) to only 12 undenforced errors. Vika: 20 winners (including 7 aces) to 11 unenforced errors. A very clean match from both. And yet another thrilling encounter.
On No. 1 up first were Garbine Muguruza and Timea Bacsinszky. Tough one to call. Both are young players, considered to be rising stars, both ranked in the Top 20. The first set was tight as both held serve but Muguruza marched on victorious finally breaking to close the set 7:5. She didn't panic when she lost the opening game in the second set and broke straight back. From then on she looked even more confident and calm. Later on in the set she secured a break to lead 5:3 and finished the match with a winner on the second match point. Impressive stuff from the 20th seed. She is now the only Spanish woman to represent her country following a first round exit of Carla Suraez Navarro.
Next on No. 1 Court were Madison Keys and Agnieszka Radwanska. A young American player who has nothing to lose against a more experienced player. Still it was tough to call. Radwanska suffered quite a lot these past few months, falling out the Top 10 first time in a few years, and simply hadn't been playing well. But it all changed in London, her game works on grass and she's had an impressive run at Wimbledon so far. Keys was an unpredictable opponent, with her strong serve and hard ball hitting, she was up for a fight against Radwanska and did just that. She pushed the 1st set into a tiebreak which she lost but came back to win the 2nd set 6:3 in an impressive manner. She was not able to keep the momentum in the 3rd and ended up losing the match in 3 sets. Keys hit a lot of winners but 40 unforced errors were the key to her loss today. No player can afford that many unenforced errors against Radwanska. She may not hit many aces or winners but she doesn't make many unenforced errors either, in fact it was only 7 in the entire match. It will be interesting to see what she can come up with against young and fired up Muguruza.
Ladies' semi-finals will be played on Thursday.