Three today, three on Monday: Tennis isn’t coming home after Djokovic sends last Brit packing
On a day where England moved a step closer to the World Cup final, Michael Hincks reports from Wimbledon, where the last Brit standing was sent packing after a thrilling Centre Court showdown.
Tennis isn’t coming home
After much umming and ahhing over the scheduling, Kyle Edmund’s match with Novak Djokovic on Centre Court started mere minutes after Gareth Southgate’s England side conquered Sweden to reach the semi-finals. Unfortunately, British No 1 Edmund could not bring it home after falling in four enthralling sets against the three-time champion.
Djokovic was very much the pantomime villain out on Centre, subjected to jeers when challenging calls he was more than entitled to be disgruntled about, and also ironic cheers when called for a time violation. But he is used to such hostile atmospheres when either playing Andy Murray or Wimbledon’s darling Roger Federer, and he was more than happy to gesture to the crowd when matters finally went his way.
The Serb’s match-winning celebrations were telling, too, directed solely at his corner, while his trademark offering of appreciation to each corner was nowhere to be seen.
Halep crashes out
No 1 seed Simona Halep became the latest casualty in the women’s singles, falling to Su-Wei Hsieh in three gruelling sets. Halep was looking to win back-to-back Grand Slam titles after winning the French, but instead she became the ninth top-10 player to crash out before the second week.
It means No 7 seed Karolina Pliskova is the last woman standing from the top 10, though it’s Serena Williams who remains the firm favourite for Grand Slam title No 24, which would move her joint-level on the all-time list alongside Margaret Court.
Nadal warming to the task?
Rafael Nadal hasn’t looked entirely comfortable at Wimbledon this week, but it looked as though the world No 1 had warmed to the task on a sweltering Saturday when taking down rising star Alex De Minaur in straight sets, and 31-degree heat.
It also means we’re halfway there in terms of a dream Federer-Nadal final, with many hoping the two greats can face one another in a Wimbledon showdown 10 years on from their epic in the fading light. Nadal edged that classic encounter, though he was in jovial mood when dismissing his eagerness for a repeat affair.
“If I am in the final, I prefer to face an easier opponent. I am not stupid,” he said, smiling. “But if I am in the final, will be great news. Any opponent will be difficult, of course.”
THREE ON MONDAY
Just another Manic Monday
There is nothing quite like second Monday of Wimbledon. Near-perfect weather means there is no play on the middle Sunday, which will be the calm before the storm, as every single fourth-round match is set to take place on what is dubbed Manic Monday.
Seeds will be scattered all over the courts as a result. With six matches scheduled on Centre Court and Court One, it means fitting Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Karolina Pliskova, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro, Jelena Ostapenko and Angelique Kerber, among others, all on the two main show courts is simply not possible.
All eyes on Roger and Serena
Amid the madness, the day will revolve around 36-year-old duo Federer and Serena, who are defying age, but living up to their same-old reputations.
Federer was widely backed to win a ninth Wimbledon, but there were doubts whether Serena had the fitness to go all the way, having played just eight matches prior to SW19 this year following her return from giving birth in late 2017. However, she has overcome three stern tests to date, and knows she is just four away from making history.
Clash of styles
There are big-servers littered in the top half of the men’s draw, but one fascinating match-up sees Kevin Anderson take on the guile of Gael Monfils, who has already shut down one acing machine in Sam Querrey.
The unseeded Frenchman is one of the most unpredictable players on the Tour, and while his 5-0 record against Anderson would have you believing he is favourite to make it six, the 6’8” South African is building momentum nicely as he looks to reach the Wimbledon quarters for the first time in his career. This match-up, destined for the outside courts, is one to look out for.News Now - Sport News