Here’s the second part of my live round-up from day 4 of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships. For the first part covering wins for Lucie Safarova and Timea Bacsinszky, click HERE. I had an amazing day (thanks to big bro for taking me!) and this part recaps some of the women’s matches that I watched on court 2 and the outside courts. Hopefully i’ll have some times for regular previews on Friday and a Set Points article tonight. I’m loving Friday’s schedule of play :-).
Tennis Twitter was most upset that Sara Errani v Alizé Cornet aka “why you say vamos” wasn’t streamed. There was so much good tennis on the schedule that unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of it. My plan was to go over for third set but it never happened. Cornet beat Errani, 7-6(4) 7-5 in two hours and 19 minutes. I watched Errani’s first service game which lasted about ten minutes! She had quite a few failed ball toss attempts. There were some superb points just in this one game with Errani coming forward to the net on multiple occasions. You really get a sense of how good the rest of Sara’s game is.
We returned to peek through a big crowd of people to see Cornet win. It was a good handshake (see Sara’s tweet below) and Cornet was understandably delighted and animated. I loved how both players addressed what happened in their last match and could laugh about it now.
While my brother tried to get a glimpse of the match on court 7 between Madison Keys and Kirsten Flipkens, I saw the end of Kiki Bertens v Mona Barthel which had comparatively fewer people watching. Bertens led 6-4 *5-2, but threw in a pair of shaky games to get pegged back to *5-4. Bertens closed out the match at the second time of asking to win, 6-4 6-4. Barthel had led the head-to-head, 9-2 so it showed how Kiki’s form really is on the up. Mona’s still coming back from the virus though and I was just happy to see her back playing competitively again.
I then joined the Keys-Flipkens match for the start of the third set after Flipkens had levelled the match. I saw Pam Shriver with her microphone doing a live broadcast for ESPN, which was interesting. The first game of the third set proved to be a pivotal one as a frustrated Keys managed to save two break points to hold. Flipkens was pissed and bounced her racquet. She knew what an opportunity it was on the Keys’s serve so it wasn’t a great surprise to check the scoreboard later to see Keys was 5-0 up in the third set. The American didn’t serve it out at the first opportunity but eventually sealed the win, 6-4 4-6 6-3.
Next it was over to our seats on court 2 for the first time to catch the end of Simona Halep v Francesca Schiavone. I keep missing Simona every year so I was very pleased to finally see her play and get some photos! There were a couple of crazy points, one where Halep did this swivel shot at the net (can’t even explain it!) which she nearly won. On the whole, I thought Halep looked superb. She made very few errors and was constructing the points smartly against Schiavone. It began to rain at the end but Halep didn’t lose her composure and finished off the match confidently, 6-1 6-1 in 65 minutes.
I did stay to watch the first set of Bernard Tomic v Radu Albot which wasn’t bad. Albot was the better player in the first set, flying through his service games but Tomic prevailed in the tiebreak. The Aussie looks so casual sometimes but he can unleash some real power. Next we went over to watch some of Caroline Garcia v Katerina Siniakova, which had just started a second set. Garcia was getting a pissed at the umpire, Mo Lahyani on some of the calls. The rallies were high-octane and fun to watch. Siniakova took an almighty tumble at one point. Garcia walked up to the net and Lahyani got out of his chair but she was fine thankfully. Siniakova came roaring back in the end to win, 4-6 6-4 6-1. I LOVE taking photos of Siniakova, I can’t wait to watch her live again soon.
After watching Lucie’s match, we headed over to court 18 for the first time to watch the first set of Dominika Cibulkova v Daria Gavrilova. It was my first time on court 18 this year. While i’ve been shocked with Petra and Venus both playing on this court, it’s a wonderful court to watch tennis on. I often go on the roof where you get a different perspective. It’s a nice place to get photos!
It was a quality opening set – Gavrilova started well, going up an early break, but Cibulkova came fighting back from an error-strewn start. In a flat-out hitting match between the pair, I think Cibulkova wins every time. Gavrilova had to do something different and she did try, throwing in some drop shots, but the success rate wasn’t too high! She hit one magnificent crashing winner down-the-line that prompted a huge roar and big smile. She put pressure on Cibulkova when she served for the first set but the Slovak player was too good. Cibulkova won in the end, 6-3 6-2.
There was an eventful moment on the roof as I witnessed a guy drop his phone over the railings – he was so lucky it landed on a platform just the other side and didn’t drop over!
We then headed over to court 2 to watch some of Agnieszka Radwanska v Ana Konjuh. Never did I think it was going to end in such a dramatic finish. When we joined the match, Konjuh looked disengaged as Radwanska won the opening set, 6-2. The match began to turnaround though at the start of the second set when Konjuh saved five break points to hold to 2-2. In the next game, she broke to go ahead in the set.
It was a quietly plucky showing from Konjuh who held her serve (and nerve) to win the second set, 6-4. The last two games of the set both went to deuce with Konjuh having to stave off a break point before deservedly forcing a decider on her fifth set point. It was a strange set from Radwanska who produced some uncharacteristic errors and became overwhelmed and quite passive up against Konjuh’s power game. Add to that, the Croatian player was playing Radwanska at her own game with some lovely feel at the net and decent drop shots.
Konjuh went ahead in the third set and was unmovable on serve. Radwanska was not playing her game and getting bogged down into long rallies where Konjuh was surprisingly consistent and often coming up with the winner. Konjuh’s game is huge and the serve was especially accurate in this match. The drop shots were really good in the decider – Radwanska is normally onto them but Konjuh did remarkably well to win a handful of points this way. Konjuh stayed ahead and even worked up a match point up 5-3* on Radwanska’s serve. The world number three held to force Konjuh to serve it out.
Konjuh had two more match points at *5-4 *40-15 – on the second of those, one of her shots clipped the top of the net and fell back over on her side of the net. It was a heartbreaker and the crowd was really getting into it. Radwanska escaped getting back to 5-5 but my feeling was that even though Konjuh was beginning to wobble, Radwanska wasn’t playing well enough to capitalise. Konjuh was still in the zone and broke again to go up *6-5.
Serving for the match for the second time, Konjuh played a poor game and for the first time, made some really wild errors. Radwanska broke back again and then held, serving much better. Konjuh then had to serve to stay in the match *6-7. She faced a match point in the process but produced some gutsy tennis to stay in it. I was really surprised as I expected Radwanska to take it there. The 27-year-old bounced her racquet at the end of that game which you don’t often see.
With Radwanska up 7-7 *40-15, Konjuh chased a Radwanska ball into the net and unfortunately stepped on it, going over on her ankle and grinding to a halt by the umpire’s chair. It was absolutely horrible to witness live. Radwanska went over to try and help, and the trainer was immediately called. I could see through my camera lens that Konjuh was crying so I guessed it was bad. Twitter also confirmed this. I didn’t take any pictures of the fall as I just can’t take pictures of someone in distress like that. A few people started to leave the court as it was pretty late but most stayed to see the resumption of the match.
Konjuh was hobbling around the court but she kept fighting and the crowd gave her a rapturous applause after one point she won. The crowd were murmuring after Radwanska hit one drop shot and Konjuh couldn’t run. It seems cruel but it’s sport… what is Aga supposed to do?! I didn’t have a problem with that at all. Radwanska eventually wrapped up the match winning, 6-2 4-6 9-7 in two hours and 36 minutes.
It was nice to see Radwanska ask Konjuh how she was at the end but clearly, the 18-year-old was heartbroken. Three match points had eluded her and she picked up a bad injury too. She got a hugeeee applause from the crowd at the end but she just wanted to get off the court. I wish Ana all the best, she’s seems like a lovely girl and her game is on the money. Hopefully she won’t be out for too long but this looked a nasty injury.