Getting tickets for Centre Court and No.1 Court is always very exciting, but I find getting a ground pass or just watching matches on the outside courts at Wimbledon is just as fun. Here are my photos and recaps from the matches I watched at day 1 of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships.
Karolina Pliskova d. Irina Falconi, 6-4 4-6 6-1 (R1)
I wanted to watch Thanasi Kokkinakis on court 16 but as expected, it was very busy! Instead I went for court 17 which is kind of hidden and always seems to have seats available. It was the second time i’ve watched Karolina Pliskova during this grass court season. In the first game of her match against Irina Falconi there was a terrible call by the linesjudge. There was a ball from Pliskova that was PLUM on the line that he called out. Everyone around me was agreeing that it was definitely in.
Pliskova started great, crunching winners down-the-line and going up an early break. She lost it immediately with some dumped errors into the net. Falconi was very solid and kept the score close. Pliskova got her serve going towards the end of the set to wrap up the opener. I was slightly concerned when I checked the score a little later, but I was pleased to see Pliskova eventually come through in three sets.
Belinda Bencic d. Tsvetana Pironkova, 3-6 6-1 6-3 (R1)
This was the match on my order of play circled with thick red ink. I watched the match on the court 18 roof from midway through the first set right to the end. You get a different view from the top and I was really happy with my photos from here too. Bencic looked tired in the first set and the pair were having some really lengthy rallies. Although both players struggled with injuries, it was a decent match with plenty of high quality points. Pironkova was in control of the rallies early on with her flat and penetrative groundstrokes. She deserved the opening set, serving it out on a long deuce game where she saved two break points.
Although Pironkova was up a set, I noticed she grimaced at one point. She then took a medical time-out at the start of the second set and went off court for a while. It gave Belinda something to play with and she powered through the second set. Pironkova was clearly struggling with her movement and was limping at one point. Bencic held a tight opening service game to get to 1-1. At this point, she started flying. It felt a bit like the final in Eastbourne. Pironkova didn’t have any answers and Bencic stepped up her game, serving aces and hitting plenty of winners.
Bencic was clearly struggling with her leg/thigh and as she tried to close out the match on Pironkova’s serve at 5-1, she let out a scream of annoyance. When serving for it, I noticed Belinda was crying 😦 She looked in pain and Pironkova seemed to feed off that, suddenly hitting much harder. Belinda had two match points when she tried to serve it out, but could not convert. In a marathon final game which had five deuces, Bencic challenged a ball that she had hit out on match point. Hawkeye showed it had missed BARELY. She managed a smile 🙂
On a crazy final point, Bencic’s sixth match point, she finally sealed the win. I was so happy for Belinda. I’ve watched a lot of her matches these past few weeks and i’m warming more and more to her. I hope she can recover in time for her second round match on Wednesday.
Pierre-Hugues Herbert d. Hyeon Chung, 1-6 6-2 3-6 6-2 10-8 (R1)
I watched the final set of Herbert-Chung which was really great. I also had a direct view of the Court No.2 scoreboard so could follow Lucie’s scoreline! I managed to get a standing place right at the front and there was quite a crowd at the end. My legs were like stone at the end. Chung got the early break in the decider and cheered on by some Korean fans, looked in control. He had two break points for a double break lead but could not convert.
Herbert is fun to watch. His serve looks great and he always looked to come into the net. Most of the time it was working and his invention won through in the end. He just wasn’t clinical enough in the crucial moments otherwise he would have won earlier. He came back from a break down and then kept forcing scoreboard pressure on Chung. He had a few match points, one with a Chung second serve, but couldn’t get it done.
Chung tailed off as Herbert’s dynamicity really shone through at the end. There were a couple of long, extended points where Herbert used his deep slice and although Chung stayed in those points well, Herbert had too much game in the end. Chung’s fans were loud when he was winning points but went quiet when he was struggling, probably when he needed them most!
Herbert’s celebration was great. Not much beats watching first round matches at Wimbledon like this.
I had a delightful position watching with this one American guy who wouldn’t shut up between the points and another guy crunching ice. Apparently, Pierre-Hugues Herbert is actually Peter Herbert, a British chap. To be fair, they don’t put first names on the scoreboards on the outside courts but this guy was speaking like he knew what was going on. Sorry i’m a bit of a tennis snob.
Darija Jurak and Ana Konjuh d. Jelena Jankovic and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 6-3 6-3 (R1, Doubles)
i love watching doubles at Wimbledon and when I saw Jelena Jankovic on the schedule, I circled this match! Also, i’d never seen Ana Konjuh live so wanted to get a few snaps of her in action. Not only is JJ a tremendous human being, she’s one of my favourite players to photograph. In one set, I saw happy JJ, sad JJ, mad JJ, pissed JJ and moaning JJ. It was glorious.
Jankovic was playing with Mirjana Lucic-Baroni who at one point, got foot faulted on her serve. Her response was “you gotta be kidding me”. She said she’d never been foot faulted before and was not amused at the linesjudge. That look hahahaha
There was one point where JJ was targetted at the net and she was smiling all the way during the point.
There was another point where Konjuh kept getting balls back, at least three or four and JJ was again laughing during the point. They were all smiling at the end of it.
Konjuh and Jurak won quite convincingly in the end and there was a nice handshake. Doubles is great 🙂
And finally, here are a few more shots from around the grounds. I got to see Yulia Putintseva for about a minute through a crowd and I was already laughing. I still want the full Poots experience but hopefully next year!