Saturday was my third and final day at Wimbledon… i’ve been so lucky this year! Thanks to my friend for taking me who had No.1 Court tickets for Middle Saturday. It was a crazy day, witnessing probably the biggest shock i’ll ever see live. 12 singles matches will be completed on Middle Sunday. Unfortunately i’ve ran out of time this weekend so i’m already beginning to turn attention to Magic Monday match-ups. Like last year, i’ll be doing a live blog post updating all the action as it happens on Monday. Anyway, here are my best pics from Saturday…
Before we headed over to No.1 Court (play started at 12pm on Saturday), there was time to watch a bit of tennis on the outside courts! I managed to get some pictures of Andrea Hlavackova, Lucie Hradecka, Madison Brengle, Tatjana Maria.
I stopped for a few games of the doubles match on court 6 featuring Alison Riske and Louisa Chirico against Yanina Wickmayer and Annika Beck. At one point, Wickmayer and Beck were laughing at the hilarity of a call that had gone against them.
Beck and Wickmayer eventually won the match, 7-5 in the third set but not without some drama…
Then I headed over to watch the end of Sloane Stephens against Mandy Minella on court 11. The match had been postponed midway through the third set on Friday. As the match neared its conclusion, I joined proceedings with Minella two points from the win at 5-4* 40-40. On the first point I saw, one of Minella’s shots clipped the net but fell back on her side.
Stephens eventually held and, serving to stay in the match for a second time, had a convincing love hold. Minella was annoyed at one of Stephen’s serves not being called out in that game. Minella seemed to lose her focus a tad, then playing a poor service game and chucking in a woeful slice at 30-30 to set up the break point for Stephens which she duly converted.
Stephens served for the match at *7-6 and quickly brought up *40-0 and three match points on her serve. However, she blew them all, throwing in this face after the third miss.
Stephens gathered herself again to come out on top of two lengthy rallies. Stephens won, 3-6 7-6(6) 8-6. I was pleased to get this celebration shot!
It was tough on Minella who had a brilliant tournament. The 30-year-old had come through three rounds of qualifying with all three matches going the distance. She reached the second round of Wimbledon for the first time via retirement. It was her second career match against Stephens but another heartbreaker; Stephens had won in a third set tiebreak, 7-6(5) in the first round of the US Open back in 2013.
We then headed over to No.1 Court to watch the resumption of the third round match between Novak Djokovic and Sam Querrey. The American had gone up two sets to love so I was excited to see how this was going to pan out. I was still very confident that Djokovic would come back…
The start of the third set was exactly what I expected… Djokovic won the first four games before the first (of many) rain delays. Saturday was one of those frustrating on-off days with so many showers around and almost all of them seeming to pass over Wimbledon. When the players came back, Djokovic extended his lead to 5-0. He failed to serve out the set though with Querrey establishing himself in the second part of this match. Djokovic eventually won the third set, 6-3.
The fourth set was absolutely wild as both players missed numerous break points and opportunities. It was pretty erratic play from both but at the same time, I couldn’t take my eyes off it…
Game 1: 4 deuces, Querrey saves 3 break points
Game 3: 6 deuces, Querrey saves 3 break points
Game 4: 3 deuces Djokovic saves 2 break points
Game 5: 2 deuces, Querrey saves 2 break points
Game 6: 3 deuces, Djokovic saves 3 break points
After missing break points in one of these games, Djokovic was furious and screaming in the direction of his box.
It was the hold of serve from *15-40 down from Djokovic to level up at 3-3 in the fourth set where I expected the world number one to roll. He produced an incredible pick-up in this game, roaring with delight and getting the crowd really going. Boris was on his feet applauding!
Querrey kept going long on his groundstrokes as more often than not, he found the big serve on break point. Djokovic though finally converted on his 12th break point of the set to lead *5-4. Again, I assumed that normal service would now resume but Djokovic failed to serve out the set! Querrey then held to get within one game of the match in front of an engaged and vociferous crowd. Unfortunately the rain came again… what timing! So it was time for a Pimms.
On the resumption, Djokovic won the first six points to hold to love and go up 2-0 in the fourth set tiebreak. Again I thought, he’s got this. But Querrey didn’t go away and the errors started to come back for Djokovic. In fact, they were flowing for the world number one. The crowd were getting more and more excited as suddenly a historic win for Querrey came into view. My mind has gone to mush remembering those last few moments. My heart was beating so fast, I couldn’t believe I was going to witness this live! Querrey brought up match point and Djokovic went long again! I wasn’t even pointing my camera for the Querrey victory leap because I just had to see this happen with my own eyes.
The crowd went crazy and were on their feet at the end and I can’t remember ever hearing such a noise on Court No.1. I did manage to get my camera out for the handshake and a few happy Querrey snaps.
A huge congrats to Sam who won, 7-6(6) 6-1 3-6 7-6(5) because I didn’t think he could do it. Also though, i’m not sure if it was picked up with the coverage but Novak stayed behind to sign a few autographs which was very classy. I feel sorry for the guy because he never seems to have a crowd on his side. The No.1 court audience were pretty jubilant that Querrey had won. I thought that was the underdog effect (we Brits love an underdog!) although when they put up the Djokovic-Querrey result on the scoreboard later in the day, it got another huge crowd so I don’t know…
It was then time for the women’s match featuring Madison Keys and Alizé Cornet. The crowd was subdued, understandably after Djokovic-Querrey, although I was disappointed that many people disappeared for the entire women’s match and promptly returning for the final men’s match. I feel like a lot of people don’t give women’s tennis a chance. Granted, Keys v Cornet wasn’t brilliant, but there have been some wonderful women’s matches this year which I still feel get swept under the carpet on the BBC coverage here in the UK. It’s one of the reasons why I will continue to give my all in covering the WTA because I think it’s great and deserves to be showcased.
It was an erratic display from Keys; when she found the court, she was too good for Cornet. She hit one magnificent volley in the second set that got a racquet clap from Cornet. The Frenchwoman though got a lot of gifts and took advantage to force a deciding set. Keys was so in and out; one moment she had the rhythm, then she lost it next point. The unforced errors were there but Keys just about reined them in when it really mattered.
Keys seemed to be annoyed at the time that Cornet was taking in between points when she was serving and she seemed to make one complaint to the umpire. There was a bit of Cornet drama as she chucked her racquet after twice failing to serve out the second set (the crowd went oooooo!). She also fell over at the net (but won the point) and was stretching her leg out continually in the third set. Keys never looked in trouble in the third set, going up *4-0, having a little stumble, but eventually getting the job done. Keys won, 4-6 7-5 6-2.
She was pumped at the end and I was happy with this shot.
Alos, chuffed that Madison used my picture on Facebook and didn’t crop my stamp off in the corner!
Finally, we stayed for the first few games of the third round match between Nick Kyrgios and Feliciano Lopez. Surprisingly it opened with two breaks of serve… I was expecting to see stellar serving! It was good fun and there were some neat rallies. Kyrgios applauded one of Lopez’s return. We left when Kyrgios had a stoppage for what looked like a nose bleed.
It was another memorable day at Wimbledon and if you’re going over the next week, enjoy it! I’ve got three more days off work and will be watching on TV on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Stay tuned for plenty of previews and round-ups as we head into week two of Wimbledon 2016.