Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Wimbledon at the Olympics: Monday Part 2

I managed to get some more tickets for the Monday on Centre Court through the Olympics website and was excited that finally throughout my summer of tennis, there would be confirmed tennis that would not be overshadowed by the Great British weather! We arrived at Wimbledon train station slightly earlier than Sunday and walked to the grounds again.  Once again we had a great spot as Petra Kvitova and her team walked out of one of the side roads and we followed them all the way into the grounds... yes, slightly stalker-ish, but we were both heading to the same place ;-)

The practice courts
 Once again, we wandered around the practice courts, which were slightly emptier than Sunday.  We saw Victoria Azarenka on a court to herself with Laura Robson, Heather Watson and Marina Erakovic ready to come on after.  It was interesting to note that Azarenka was grunting just like she does during matches... this is unlike Maria Sharapova who does not grunt during practice, but Azarenka appears to get the majority of the flack.

Victoria Azarenka

Marina Erakovic

Heather and Laura practicing with Judy Murray looking on

We then saw Nikolay Davdyenko and Dmitry Tursunov who were both playing well and really going for it in their practice session.  They were then replaced by Venus Williams who practiced with Mary-Jo Fernandez looking on.   Serena Williams came onto a nearby practice court with her hitting partner.

Nikolay Davydenko

Venus Williams

Venus with Mary-Jo Fernandez watching on
On the other courts, Juan Monaco was practicing with Richard Gasquet and then David Goffin/Olivier Rochus and Feliciano Lopez/Marcel Granollers were sharing court 4.  I managed to get a picture of Granollers staring right at me! Sorana Cirstea and Irina-Camelia Begu were warming up on the opposite court and appeared to play for a long, long time!

Juan Monaco

Feliciano Lopez

David Goffin

Marcel Granollers

Sorana Cirstea
We kept wandering around the practice courts and saw new players emerge! Venus was replaced by the Radwanska sisters and Monaco/Gasquet by Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek... Berdych was the highest ranked player I had never seen so I was glad to get some pictures of him.  He seemed to be hitting the ball well and i'm surprised by his disappointing grass court season.  Finally, we saw Petra Kvitova warming up with Ons Jabeur, who looked rather useful at the net.

Agnieszka Radwanska

Urzsula Radwanska

Tomas Berdych

Petra Kvitova
Milos Raonic vs. Tatsuma Ito (first set)
With the start of play on the outside courts approaching, we decided to head to court 16 to watch the first set of Milos Raonic and Tatsuma Ito.  Raonic was a player I had never seen and I was keen to see him live.  We sat surrounded by some friendly Canadians who warned us we were in strike position to get nailed by one of Raonic's serves.  

Raonic won the first set, 6-3 and played well.  The serve is the key to his game bolstered by some solid groundstokes and a touch of variety too in the slice.  He struggled to close out the first set and I wonder if his mental game could let him down in his move up the rankings... time will tell!

Tatsuma Ito

Milos Raonic


Raonic returned pretty well in the first set
Victoria Azarenka vs. Irina-Camelia Begu
We arrived in our excellent Centre Court seats about halfway through the first set where Azarenka was in complete control.  Begu looked overrawed in her first ever appearance on Centre Court.  However she really picked up her game in the second set as Azarenka started to make more errors.  Begu has a big game and she finally started to believe in herself. 

Victoria Azarenka


Irina-Camelia Begu

Azarenka fumed at the chair umpire at one point over losing a point on a challenge and never recovered mentally as she lost the set.  Begu picked up a foot/ankle injury towards the end of set, but finished the set off admirably considering some of her recent choking episodes on the WTA tour.

Azarenka was not a happy chappy

Things went downhill in the second set

Azarenka gesturing to her team
Begu started the final set with a break of the Azarenka serve before the Belarusian world number one came roaring back to 2-1.  Unfortunately Begu then folded in the fourth game as she hit four sloppy errors to hand Azarenka the advantage.  She never let go and absolutely steam-rollered through the final games to win 6-1 3-6 6-1.  Azarenka won on a dead netcord and kissed the net at the end of the match.  Begu showed potential, but mentally will have to strengthen to have a chance of moving up the rankings.

Azarenka on the run

A bad set!

Azarenka survives... really liked the red/green combination!

Azarenka beats Begu, 6-1 3-6 6-1

Azarenka won on a dead net cord and kissed the net at the end
Roger Federer vs. Julien Benneteau
The next match up on Centre Court was the one that everybody wanted to see.  It is worth noting there were many empty seats during the Azarenka match, but it was practically full for Federer.  The Swiss maestro got a terrific reception as to be expected, but unfortunately it was a rather drab match as Benneteau failed to turn up.  It looked like he was suffering from an injury of some sort, which is rather funny because when I saw him at Eastbourne calling a medical time-out...  he seems to be a rather dramatic and injury-prone Frenchman!

Roger Federer

Roger in red

Federer serving

Julien Benneteau
Federer won 6-2 6-2 and the match was over all too quickly.  I have to mention the annoying people we had in front of us! This woman was taking pictures all throughout the match, but kept getting her partner to take pictures of her with Centre Court in the background during the play! She was leaning into the poor woman next to her and sitting in people's seats in front... just so rude and showed absolutely no attention to the actual tennis that was going on!!


Federer wins

This could have been a tricky one but thankfully for Fed, Benneteau did not turn up
And to the outside courts...
After Federer, the majority of Centre Court emptied out and the grounds were extremely busy for a time.  We had a sweep around all the courts to see what was going.  Anne Keothavong was practicing with Jeremy Bates opposite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra, and Tamira Paszek was practicing with Sofia Arvidsson.  Paszek didn't look to be playing particularly well!

Anne Keothavong

Sofia Arvidsson

Tamira Paszek

We also caught a little bit of the doubles match with Lucie Hradecka/Andrea Hlavackova and Timea Babos/Agnes Szavay.  It was good to see Szavay back in action and despite losing, she paraded a flag with Babos at the end for some excited Hungarian fans.  The match had amassed an impressive crowd at the end and seemed to be played in true Olympics spirit.

Lucie Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova

Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Andreas Seppi
We headed back to a once again depleted crowd to enjoy Del Potro vs. Seppi.  The first set was comfortably won by Del Potro, but the second set was very good.  Seppi really raised his level and was cheered on by some extremely loud Italian fans sat just behind us. 

Juan Martin Del Potro

Del Potro

Andreas Seppi serving

Both played very well in the second set, which featured some long rallies with many winners.  Seppi forced the tiebreak, but fell away rather dramatically with some loose errors.  Del Potro played a very impressive match and if he can get to the quarter-finals where he is likely to play David Ferrer, he must improve on that disappointing straight sets loss he received in the 4th round of Wimbledon.

You can see from the pictures that Centre Court does not look good.  There were a few bad bounces and a lot of dust flying up during the points.  It is understandable with Centre Court having had the most tennis played on during the Championships and I think they have done the best job they could.

Del Potro

Del Potro beats Seppi, 6-3 7-6

Del Potro looks to the skies
And to the outside courts again...
We headed back out again and saw Yaroslava Shvedova and Galina Voskoboeva getting thumped in the doubles, Feliciano Lopez and David Ferrer embroiled in an epic doubles match and finally the singles match between Flavia Pennetta and Tsvetana Pironkova.  We saw Pironkova gift her service game at 4-4 in the first set with a number of double faults, but I was still surprised to find out she had lost later on.

Yaroslava Shvedova

Flavia Pennetta
Caroline Wozniacki v Yanina Wickmayer
This match was a strange decision from the schedulers, I thought but it turned out to be the best match of the day by a country mile.  I have never been a big fan of Wickmayer, but I developed a new found respect for the Belgian player.  The first set was won by Wozniacki, 6-4, but it was extremely tight with a number of long rallies.

Yanina Wickmayer

Caroline Wozniacki
Wickmayer levelled up in the second with a stunning set of tennis.  She was aggressive, but was also surprisingly patient as she worked the rallies really well before unleashing an array of winners past Wozniacki.  Too often, Wickmayer is criticised for her lack of a gameplan and ballbashing, but she showed some real thought in her gameplan today.


Wozniacki went off for a comfort break at the end of the second set and came back fighting with an early break.  It looked like it might run away from Wickmayer, but she was fighting for her life out there as the pair got locked in an enthralling 13-deuce game.  It was such high quality tennis and the crowd absolutely loved it! Unfortunately for Wickmayer, she just could not convert her break points.  Wozniacki held, but to Wickmayer's credit she did not give up and kept fighting for an opportunity in the match.

Wickmayer fistpump

Wozniacki fistpump!

Yaninas down!

Wozniacki more attacking than I have seen her before
 A sparse crowd were rewarded with a great match which Wozniacki eventually wrap up a 6-4 3-6 6-3 in about two and a half hours.  I felt very sorry for Wickmayer, who should build on this impressive performance.  This was a very big win for Wozniacki who has struggled in three set matches this year, but she played very well to win today.  Credit also to Wickmayer for a very classy handshake; she is known for some of the bitchiest post-match handshakes so that was nice to see after such an entertaining match.

Wozniacki wins!

Approaching the net

A classy handshake from Yanina :-)
Another great day at Wimbledon and we left at about 8.15pm after an epic day of tennis.  My summer of tennis will conclude on Wednesday as I am going to Centre Court once again (greedy, I know!!!)

Centre Court in the sun...