Your Woman in Wimbledon: Day Five

29 Jun

The little bit of rain yesterday became a lot of rain today, so much so that for much of today the only court in play was our court, Centre Court. For everyone else it was a waiting game or sit on Henman Hill to see play on the big screen.

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Nothing, however, dampens the spirit of stalwart tennis fans who just get stuck into the champagne a bit earlier.

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And for the first time in no one knows how many years two British players were on Centre Court on the same day. That’s a very big deal for the home crowd and the only empty seats were the debenture holders and the VIP section.

Laura Robson was first up against Colombian qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino to play the match carried over from the previous day because of rain. Laura seemed slow to start but she saw off Mariana in two sets 6:4 6:1. I can’t see Laura going past the next round, she is a solid baseline plodder, but the Brits are delighted to see the 19-year-old doing well.

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At this point, 3:05pm, the organisers made a critical error. They opened the roof over Centre Court. It takes half an hour to fully open during which no play can occur.

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No sooner had the next pair, Jerzy Janowicz of Poland (remember him my Day 1 report?) and 11ranked Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, finished their warm-up than the rain came down again and the covers came on. Why would you open the roof that late in the day with so many matches backed up?

Half an hour later the players were brought back on and play commenced. Jerzy still smacks out the fastest serve at Wimbledon. Today 140mph was his top speed, even with his right elbow wrapped in pink tape.

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Nicolas Almagro.

But in the opening set it was Nicolas who aced the first game. For a relatively short guy he has a deadly serve. Last time they met, this year’s Australia Open, Nicolas won the match so no doubt Jerzy was keen to erase that painful memory. Jerzy certainly enjoyed taking centre stage at Wimbledon today and played a smart passing game to win 7:6 6:3 6:4. After his shout of joy and double fist pump Jerzy repeated his gesture of Monday by bowing to the crowd on all four sides of the court.

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Inevitably we had more rain and the roof was closed again. Andy Murray finally walked on court at 6pm to a huge roar from the crowd. His opponent was the much shorter Tommy Robredo of Spain.

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These two used to be well matched but today, despite Tommy’s accurate, kicking serve, and beautiful backhand, Andy won in three sets 6:2 6:4 7:5. Andy made more unforced errors than one would expect and his second serve is slower than Serena’s. What’s up with that? Watching Ivan Lendl’s face I can imagine there will be an interesting conversation between the two of them tonight. Oddly Lendl never once applauded Andy, even when he won match point.

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No more play was scheduled on centre court which is strange, they could have started a women’s match and played under lights. We wandered around to see some men’s doubles before deciding to try our luck on Court One where Petra Kvitova was playing Ekaterina Makarova and the score was one set to Petra with Ekaterina up 5:2 in the second.

As usual we had no trouble getting in and found great seats. Ekaterina took the second set and was up 2:1 in the third when play was stopped due to lack of light.

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We’ll leave the weekend Wimbledon tickets for the weekday workers and resume efforts to get into the grounds for Monday if the weather holds. I reckon I’ve got the formula for success now and if you send me a stamp self-addressed envelope and include a crisp £20 note I will tell you what it is.

(That was, of course, a joke.)

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Match point for Andy.

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Fred Perry.

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