WIMBLEDON 2015 – My highlights: Day Seven
It's hard to believe we're already in week two of Wimbledon! The second Monday of the tournament is also known as Manic Monday. It has certainly lived up to its name yet again. Wimbledon is the only major tournament of the year that schedules all 4th round matches on the same day. Both gentlemen and ladies' draws take their final shape as all 8 quarter-finals are decided.
The clash between Richard Gasquet and Nick Kyrgios turned out to be a particularly interesting match. Gasquet broke early in the opening set and looked very solid on serve. Kyrgios did a good job keeping up with Gasquet but eventually lost the 1st set 7:5. And then something weird happened... Kyrgios lost the 2nd set 1-6 and seemed to be completely absent on court. Where there's Nick there usually has to be lot of drama... He has been accused of tanking the set (losing on purpose, not trying hard enough etc.) He received a code violation warning for swearing and his behaviour was very unprofessional to say the least. He managed to fight back in the 3rd set and won it in the tiebreak. The 4th and final also went into a tiebreak with Gasquet battling past Kyrgios shots and monster serve to win the match, and move to the quarters. It was a good match, it's a shame that Kyrgios' behaviour is making headlines rather than the quality of play, and Gasquet's performance.
Andy Murray was up for a tough test against Ivo Karlovic and he's legendary monster serve, in the course of this tournament, he served over a 100 aces. But don't be fooled. Serve is not his only weapon. For a tall guy, he's 6ft 11 in, he is a very quick player, and covers the court very well. Andy was up for a challenge and brought his best returning skills to the table, at times returning unreturnable balls. He was also solid on serve. But Karlovic was not about to give up the match and make it easy for Andy. He took the 3rd set 7:5 breaking in the last game. Andy thought back and just needed one break to win the 4th set 6:4. Interesting stat: Andy 62 winners, including 8 aces, Ivo 75 winners, including 29 aces. The biggest highlight of the match: Andy lobbing the big guy. TWICE.
Stan Wawrinka played his 4th round match against David Goffin. Stan is playing well and is enjoying the fact that the spotlight is on Novak, Roger and Andy, while he quietly and at times unnoticed wins his matches, one after another. This one was no different, however, Goffin made him work for it. The first two sets were very tight, both ending in tiebreaks, first one to 3 and second to 9 in Wawrinka's favour. In the 3rd set things looked better for Goffin when he broke Wawrinka to lead 4:3. When Wawrinka was behind with a perspective of trailing Goffin 5-3, he immediately put pressure on Goffin to level the set to 4 all. From then on it was all about Wawrinka, he broke for the second time to settle the score 6:4 and securing another straight sets win of his Wimbledon campaign.
Gilles Simon, the French player who battled past Gael Monfils in the thrilling Centre Court encounter, is looking more and more impressive. He dispatched Tomas Bedrych in 3 comfortable sets 6:3 6:2 6:3 to set up a showdown against Federer. I'm not sure he's got enough game to beat the mighty Roger but definitely is a sort of a dark horse of the tournament. He plays the game very patiently, and his ball striking is very clean. There are stats to prove just that – 11 unenforced errors against Bedrych in a little less than 2 hours of play. Impressive win for the Frenchman.
Roger didn't have any problems beating Roberto Bautista Agut, who tried his best against Roger but he had to not only battle shots coming off Roger's racket but also an injury to his ankle. Good effort considering the circumstances.
Marin Cilic continues his quest for the title after winning against Denis Kudla, who ranked 105 in the world, was no pushover on court and took one set 6:4. At the end he couldn't pose much of a threat to the big serving former US Open champ. Cilic makes the quarters for the second year in a row.
Vasek Pospisil defeated Victor Troicki in 5 sets, in a little over two and a half hours. He's the only Canadian in the last eight and will play against Andy Murray next.
Novak Djokovic has been taken for a ride by Kevin Anderson. The tall South African took the first two sets in tiebreaks before losing the next two to the world no. 1. The play was suspended due to low light and is set to continue on No. 1 Court before ladies' quarters on Tuesday afternoon.
The gentlemen's quarter-finals will be played on Wednesday.
The match of the day in the ladies' draw was the 26th career meeting between the Williams' sisters. One of those matches you're very excited about and at the same time you don't want to watch. Serena has said many times that there is not tougher opponent than her sister and that if she can play against her sister, she can play against anyone. Venus brought a very good form to Wimbledon, and was playing very well on her favourite surface. She is a living example that age is just a number, and that if you work hard and have a strong will to win you can do just that. I always root for her to do well, she's been through a lot in her career and is a great champion. Serena knew that Venus would be a huge threat to her. Serena leads in head to head 14 to 11 but only 3 to 2 on grass. To keep Serena Slam dreams alive she was all business on court, no room for errors, no room for a slow start. She was impressive from the first moment she stepped on court, winning the first 8 points and breaking Venus' opening game to love. Venus played a good match, despite the nerves, and a few double faults. With her serve, movement and court coverage she probably would have won against any other player on that day but when Serena's dialled in, her serve is perfect and she doesn't make errors, she is simply unbeatable. A clinical performance from the world no. 1.
Remember I wrote about a threat that is Garbine Muguruza? On Manic Monday she delivered again ousting Caro Wozniacki 6:4 6::4 to reach the quarter-final. She made a lot of unenforced errors but blasted winners left and right when it mattered the most. As surprise winner as she can be she's not in the last 8 by accident.
Coco Vanderweghe caused the upset of the day by defeating the 2015 French Open runner-up, Lucie Safarova, in two very tight sets both ending in tiebreaks. She held her nerve and relied on her serve to reach the 1st major quarter-final of her career.
Viktoria Azarenka ended 18 year old Belinda Bencic's dream run at Wimbledon in straights sets, while Madison Keys and Timea Bacsinszky both had to come back from a set down to win their matches.
Aga Radwanska form seems to be improving too, she dispatched Jelena Jankovic in straight sets.
Maria Sharapova also won in straight set but struggled at times against Zarina Diyas. Diayas managed to break Sharapova a few times, but failed to deliver on her serve and consolidate the breaks.
Ladies' quarter-finals will be played on Tuesday.