Your Woman in Wimbledon: Day Eight

3 Jul

And then there were four, Radwanska, Lisicki, Bartoli, and Flipkens. The Women’s singles quarterfinals today were a mix of hard fought three setters, Radwanska over Li Na, Flipper over Kvitova and easier two setters, Lisicki and Bartoli.

Stuart declared he was ‘tennis’d out’ so I bought a Ticketmaster ticket and went on my own to centre court while he took it easy. He did watch some tennis in the pub.

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Leaving our flat for my last AELTC day.

Ticket prices from tomorrow are over £100 each (our self-imposed limit) so this may well be my last day at Wimbledon 2013. I made sure to do it properly. First stop take away flat white coffee from Paul’s in the Village (the coffee in the AELTC catering concessions is appalling) followed by picking up a newspaper for the tennis goss. Into the grounds by 11am with a farewell to Ryan, our ticket guy at gate 7, and on to browse the outside courts for interesting junior players’ matches. I settled on Zhou against Xu. Prediction – another five years and the top seeds will contain a lot more Chinese names.

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My commute.

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Ryan, gate 7.

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I then found the promising Australian Open 2013 junior champ Nick Kyrgios on court 17 playing Austrian junior Lucas Miedler and sat courtside to watch Nick clean up the second set. Nick talks aloud to himself a lot, most of it berating himself for missed opportunities to close out a game. Not sure that’s the best approach but hey, he’s only 18. Today he’d razored the hair on his temple into a kind of flash symbol. With his tall, dark good looks he reminds me of early Pete Sampras. Nick’s a big perspirer, rivers of the stuff. He finished the 6:2 6:4 match with four aces. One to watch!

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I’d hoped to see the Croatian junior ranked sixth in the world, Borna Coric, play but it wasn’t to be. Last Sunday while having a sundowner at the Rose and Crown we got chatting with the young man who’d kindly moved to free up a space in the sunshine for us. He’s Borna’s conditioning coach and travels with him when they can afford to pay him. At 16 this kid typically travels with an entourage of five, coach, conditioning coach, physiotherapist, mental coach and agent/manager. I asked him about the importance of fitness training for today’s players. He said that from what he saw in the Wimbledon gymn the person who trains the hardest and is most focussed is Serena Williams. So for all of you who say Serena is lazy because of the way she walks between points, think again. Andy Murray was another he cited for his work ethic.

Before the 1pm start on centre court I bought a piccolo of champagne (a horrifying £18) to accompany my homemade sarnies on the hill watching doubles on the big screen and talking with folks at my table. That’s the top spot on Henmen Hill, a flat area just by the disabled space.

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Play started with the centre court roof open. Showers were forecast. Will they never learn…. The court covers had to be pulled on twice in the course of the match before they got smart and closed the roof. I was in the nosebleed section so no point taking many photos.

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The Li Na V Agnieszka Radwanska match could have gone either way. The umpire made two errors of judgement against Li in the first set that rattled Li a little and she lost the tie break 7:6. She came back in the second with some lucky net caughts to take it 6:4. Had the umpire called the first set correctly Li would actually have won the match right then and there.

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However in the final set Radwanska won points with backhand passing shots and Li had some unforced errors that saw her trying to stave off defeat at 5:2. Li saved five march points in the last game but went down 6:2.

Next up was little Ninja turtle Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium against giantess Petra Kvitova. Yes, Kvitova again… Kirsten is a tricky, fit player and ran Kvitova around with a real mix of shots.

Kvitova won the first set 6:4 but called for a trainer when she was down 2:5 in the next set prior to her service game. As with Radwanska when she lost the second set to Li Na and called a medical time out, I believe Kvitova used her medical time out to rest and regroup…. She is overweight and not running fit, it’s that simple. She slowed the match down, challenged obvious outs and generally huffed and puffed.

Happily, Flipper stayed on course and blew Kvitova’s house down 3:6 4:6. Kvitova even challenged Flipper’s final serve which was clearly in. Flipper celebrated with some arm pumps and kisses to her team in the players’ box.

It was 7:30pm and I had promised to be home for dinner. I headed towards the gates. As I stopped to put on my sweater (centre court is warm with the roof closed) a sweet young man asked me if I wanted his ticket for the court one senior gents’ invitational doubles match between the four Macs, the MacEnroe brothers against doubles legends Paul McNamee and Peter McNamara. How could I not go?

The Debenture seat I’d just been handed was in the second row, a perfect view of the match. There was a lot of banter but John and Patrick were deadly serious about winning.

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When they came to the net Peter and Paul were their match. The Aussies’ problem was moving. Not much left in the legs for baseline rallies. They would shout after the ball ‘Go in!’ Or ‘Go out!’.

The crowd got into the spirit shouting out ‘C’mon Andy’ or ‘C’mon Laura’ just to rile the Macs. And of course, ‘YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS’ got a few reprisals from the spectators.

In the end the McEnroe brothers won 6:1 6:2 and John had to race straight back to presenting on air.

I had to head home to make my dinner date with Stuart and watch the Wimbledon highlights!

POSTSCRIPT: Celebrity sighting today was Jack Nicklaus. Jack has a buff bodyguard.

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Wimbledon has some choice hospitality areas like the Gatsby Club that I doubt I will ever see the inside of.

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