What a day… Friday produced it’s fair share of drama, both on and off the court. The weather was once again not playing ball although the Wimbledon schedulers didn’t help themselves. I still cannot get my head around the fact third round matches were scheduled BEFORE second round matches. Perhaps they could have got all the second rounders finished if they had scheduled with the potential poor weather in mind but now Middle Sunday will come into play. Here are my thoughts on day 5 for the women which featured some cracking matches…
Today’s matches involving Serena and Venus were the highlights of the day with both coming from a break down in third sets to win on Friday. Serena was pushed to the brink by an inspired, Christina McHale but fought back as she so often does to prevail in her second round match, 6-7(7) 6-2 6-4 in two hours and 29 minutes. McHale had saved a set point at *4-5 *30-40 in the first set with a Hawkeye challenge as her shot was shown to have *just* caught the line. Serena’s reaction was hilarious!
Serena saved two set points in a tense and thrilling tiebreak, but hit into the net on the third as a gutsy McHale claimed the first set. Earlier this year the American had missed a set point in the first set of their third round encounter in Rome. Serena rolled into action in the second set, relieving some angst with a remarkable meltdown after the first set that saw her racquet end up with the cameraman! The match went to a third set…
McHale lost an early break (she had game points to lead to 3-0) but showed tremendous resolve to win service games at 2-2 and 3-3 where she saved a combined four break points. The pair played out another brutal game which featured the rally of the tournament with McHale serving at *4-4 *15-30. The American had two game points to hold to 5-4 but just couldn’t get there! A lack of first serves was her undoing as Serena started crunching return winners. Eventually the pressure took its toll and McHale went wide on break point. Serena promptly closed out a quite fantastic match with some HUGE serving.
Over on No.1 Court (Oracene had a busy day haha) Venus Williams edged Daria Kasatkina in an extra-time finish, 7-5 4-6 10-8 in two hours and 41 minutes. It was a wonderful match which saw four rain stoppages including one on match point! Kasatkina had led by a break in the decider but gave away the advantage straight away with a double fault. Kasatkina was then playing catch-up, having to serve to stay in the Championships. She saved a match point at *4-5 *30-40 with a forehand winner but Venus kept getting ahead on serve. The rain then came with Kasatkina facing another match point at *6-7 *30-40. Venus’s face when play was halted was a picture!
On yet another resumption, Kasatkina saved the match point and held… she was smiling away! Kasatkina looked more relaxed as she successfully served to stay in the match on four occasions. Venus finally broke through playing a super aggressive game up 9-8, winning the first two points with superb winners. For Kasatkina, it was yet another tough loss having been in tight third sets with the likes of Roberta Vinci, Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens.
However, I feel Kasatkina can take positives away in all these matches. Her game, with barely a full year on the tour, is already challenging the best. Nerves are still an issue and she’ll need to find a way to battle through them and stay aggressive. I remain confident she’s the real deal and with time, she’ll get that big win on the big stage. Congrats though to Venus as she continues to demonstrate her incredible fighting spirit. Two days off will no doubt help her come Magic Monday…
Carla Suárez Navarro was the first woman into the second week after she had a routine win over Marina Erakovic, 6-2 6-2. The Kiwi has had an incredible tournament, coming through qualifying and then winning extra-time finishes in the first round (d. Irina Falconi, 4-6 6-3 10-8) and second round (d. Jelena Jankovic, 4-6 7-6(1) 8-6). Erakovic held serve just twice against the Spaniard who is into the fourth round of Wimbledon for just the second time in her career.
So we now know the first match set for Magic Monday and it’s an interesting one!
Back to second round action and Svetlana Kuznetsova survived a three setter against the Brit, Tara Moore. Kuznetsova won, 6-1 2-6 6-3. Moore gave it some welly at the end, forcing break points as Kuznetsova served for the match thanks to a powerful cross-court forehand that caught Kuznetsova by surprise. The Russian player survived, not suffering the same fate as she did in Eastbourne when she missed match points against Kateryna Bondarenko.
Annika Beck is into the third round of Wimbledon after defeating Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-2 6-1 in just 55 (!) minutes. It’s been a great tournament for Beck who missed all the warm-up tournaments on grass due to a spine injury. She seems like a lovely person and I really enjoyed the interview linked below after her 12-10 three set victory over Heather Watson in the first round.
Focusing more on the Beck-Watson result, here’s Heather’s press conference after that loss. I really respect her honesty and her outlook on the situation.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is into the third round of Wimbledon for the first time since 2010 after coming from 3-5 down in the first set to beat Yulia Putintseva, 7-5 6-1. Pavs will be aiming to reach the second week of a Slam for the first time since the 2011 US Open.
This is a nice feature from Pavs on Live at Wimbledon. She was asked by Anne Keothavong about playing Poots, which was interesting haha! Also, they showed highlights for Court 4 during the interview but the match wasn’t streamed?!
And finally, Barbora Strycova booked her place in the third round with a 6-4 6-0 victory over Evgeniya Rodina. Three second round matches are yet to be completed…
Court 2: Makarova leads Kvitova, 7-5 0-0 30-40*
Court 11: Stephens-Minella, 3-6 7-6(8) 3-3*
Court 15: Niculescu leads Bacsinszky, 6-4 2-6 1-0* 40-40*
ICYMI: You can check out my two write-ups from Thursday live at Wimbledon. For even more photos, check out my albums on my Facebook page using the link at the bottom of the page. If you like what you see, i’d appreciate a like! 🙂 Saturday is my last day at Wimbledon and i’m liking the schedule :-).