WIMBLEDON 2015 – My highlights: Day Five
Every day is just more exciting than the previous one! I needed an evening off to calm down. So many amazing matches and nerve racking moments!
First match between Nick Kyrgios and Milos Raonic was full of emotions on court. Rackets were flying around and Nick (more than Milos) straggled mentally. It was a battle of huge serves. Both men posses amazing serving skills – Milios served the fastest serve at Wimbledon just two days ago and Nick serves aces left and right with so much ease. It was a quality 4 set match and a very tight encounter. Kyrgios was able to push Raonic to his limit in the 4th – and when Kyrgios managed to brake Raonic's serve there was no going back. He was able to serve it out and knock out 8th seed from the tournament. Nick's has had some good wins and tough losses but ever since coming to the spotlight last year when he beat Nadal he seems to be improving his game. He has a lot of talent and needs to work on consistency and mental strength.
Meanwhile on the Centre Court we had an interesting encounter between Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 11th seed of the tournament and 21st seed Richard Gasquet, It turned out to be a rather interesting match. Gasquet started very focused, moving well, serving well, returning well, and he instantly broke and led 3:0 in the first set. He went on to win that set 6:3 and 2 more 6:4 6:4. He had less winners than Dimitrov, one 3 aces, but a much lover count of unforced errors (very important especially when a player doesn't hit many winners). He's not one of those players who get many free points, he works for his points and he is a very patient player on court, he pressured Dimitrov to hit a lot of errors, was much more confident on court than his opponent. Maybe some of that confidence comes from the fact that he'd won all the previous meetings between the two. He certainty came on court with the winning attitude, imposed his game on Dimitrov and won in 3 convincing sets. Much better match than you would expect.
Stan Wawrinka played in No.1 Court against Fernando Verdasco. Stan won in straight sets but Verdasco did make him work for it. He was very stubborn on his serve and defended his break points rather well. The score 6:4 6:3 6:4 doesn't quite illustrate the full quality of the match. And it definitely was a good one.
No 1 seed, Novak Djokovic, who won comfortably in 3 sets looks as strong as ever. His performances form the beginning of the tournament are solid. Can anyone stop him from taking the tittle? Roger? Andy? Anyone?...
David Goffin and Kevin Anderson also won in straight sets.
Another battle between huge serving player unfolded in the evening hours on No. 1 Court between Marin Cilic (seed 9) and John Isner (seed 17). What a great match! Too tall and strong super servers in a very tight encounter – 3 out of 4 sets ended in tiebreaks, one went to Cilic with a 6:4 score. And that's not all. After John forced a decider we were in for a treat. Things didn't look too good for the American in the beginning as he was trailing 0-3. But in some extraordinary fashion he was able to come back and level the set to 3 all. Channelling his inner Serena, perhaps? A comeback worthy of a champion. From then on it was game after game after game for the server. Currently we're on 10 all. Isner has some experience playing long matches (Wimbledon 2010 epic win against Mahut 70:68, the longest match in the history of the game) so who knows... It a tough one to call. The play was suspended due to low light and it will continue on Saturday (second match of the day on No. 1 Court).
Let's talk about the ladies! Surprises? Here's one – Australian Sam Stosur a former US Open champ was beaten by unseeded Coco Vanderweghe. I didn't see that match so I can't really say what happened there. Whatever the game play plan was it worked wonders for Coco.
Venus, Azarenka, Sharapova, Bencic all won in straight sets, and here is another surprise Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan beat Andrea Petkovic, the 14th seed in straight sets. Sloane Stephens put up a good fight against Lucie Safarova but it was not enough to stop her from advancing to the round of 16. And she did it in Serena style, coming back from a set down. Maybe this is a new thing in tennis nowadays?
Let's talk about the Serena – Heather Watson match – and let me tell you – it was as nerve racking as a tennis match can get. Drama, drama, drama. I could barely watch at times. Serena was all business in set 1 winning easily 6:2 and then... Watson started playing incredible tennis, Serena's sharpness suddenly disappeared and she lost the second set 4:6. Watson looked focused and inspired and when she was 3-0 in the decider, I really thought it was all over for Serena. But if there is anyone who can do wonders to comeback into the match it is Serena. I don't know how she did, she doesn't know how she did. She was as close to losing as possible 0-3, 0-40 and then she turned it around at within a short time they were back on serve at 3 all. And then things changed again when Serena lost her serve to love and it was 4-5 to Heather. She came as close as 2 points away of finishing the match but Serena just didn't let her. She barely lets anyone push her around the court and Heather got as close as she could. It was 5-5 and this time Serena didn't allow any errors on her serve, winning it to love. She led 6-5 but breaking Heather was no easy task so when she finally won the point at A-40 there was a huge sign of relief on Serena's face, as big as the disappointment that Heather Watson must have felt.
A very tough match for Serena, she was pushed to the limit and managed to get herself out of a huge trouble. She is under so much pressure form herself, from the media, from everyone to ALWAYS win EVERY match and EVERY tournament, and sometimes that pressure just gets to her. She was not only playing against a great player but also against the pressure, Heather's home crowd, and everyone's expectations. Any other player would have lost that much. But not Serena. I've never seen any athlete as mentally strong as she is and she's such a warrior, never ever wants to give up. And she herself credited that win to her mental toughness. A quality to admire. Next she has to play her toughest opponent of all. The 26th meeting between Serena and Venus is on Monday...