Our seats were side on to the play and on the opposite side of the umpire. We were three rows from the back but it was still a good view! Another positive note is how comfortable the seats were and how much leg space you get. This is compared to other venues notably Queens where it was painful to be sat down for longer than an hour!
At the start of the third set, there was a lot of support for Rezai who was matching Serena from the back of the court. We immediately noticed that one of the line judges was the same one that Serena threw a wobbly at in the US Open two years ago! At the start of the third set, Serena threw down a huge serve which hit the same line judge! Serena did apologise! Unfortunately Rezai’s game started to drop off at 1-1 in the third set as she hit a number of wild errors. Rezai has had a terrible 2011 following a number of family issues which have massively affected her game. She has won just five matches this year so taking a set off Serena was a commendable achievement.
Our view from our seats on Centre Court with no zoom!
Serena and the line judge she threatened at the US Open!
The turning point came for Rezai at 1-3 down in the 3rd set when an epic point took place (you can see it on the BBC Sport website!). Rezai looked to have an easy overhead smash but unfortunately she didn’t hit it into the empty space and it went straight back to Serena who produced a superb lob to win the point. It got the biggest applause of the day on Centre Court, however the applause on TV sounded nowhere near as loud as it did in real life!
From that point on, Serena eased to the finish line in super quick time and wrapped up a 6-3 3-6 6-1 win. There was a nice exchange at the net and it was obvious how much the win meant to Serena. As much as I dislike her, it was touching to see her get upset in the post-match interview, which received a warm applause from the Centre Court crowd.
Serena strolled to victory in the third set
An emotional Serena salutes the crowd
The next match up was between Roger Federer and Mikhail Kukushkin. Even from the warm-up, Federer looked totally effortless on the court. Federer won his opening service game in about one minute as he battered four well-placed serves past Kukushkin. After saving early break points, Kukushkin quashed his early nerves to grab a foothold in the match and both players held with consumate ease as the first set went into a tiebreak. It was at this stage when Federer raised his game and he was imperious as he won the tiebreak, seven points to two.
Federer produced a majestic display of serving
Kukushkin gave a good account of himself
For the rest of the match, Federer always looked in control and never looked in doubt for the win. He mistimed a few shots here and there but overall his game was flowing well and he served superbly throughout the whole contest. Kukushkin put in a good fight but could never challenge Federer who eased to a 7-6 6-4 6-2 victory. The crowd gave him a rapturous applause at the end and it was well deserved after a great 1st round performance.
Federer at the net
My best shot of Federer