Wimbledon 2016 Day 5 round-up and highlights
We saw big action from the All-England tennis club last night, and we’re seeing more and more upsets as we move through the tournament!
World No. 1 and women’s defending champion Serena Williams is safely through to the third round after surviving a bit of a scare against compatriot Christina McHale. After McHale took the first set at a tiebreak, a visibly agitated Williams brought more power and aggression to her serve, and in the end it was mental tenacity and strength that won out, with the 34-year-old winning 6-7(7) 6-2 6-4.
Williams herself acknowledged the fact, saying it had needed mental power to keep at it; she is currently looking to equal German ace Steffi Graf’s 22-Grand Slam title record, an all-time high for any player, male or female. Williams has 21, and despite having made the finals at both Majors this year, she has lost each time – in Australia to Angelique Kerber, and in France to 22-year-old Garbine Muguruza – the first Grand Slam title for each of those players.
The biggest victory of the night was indisputably that of Juan Martin del Potro over fourth seed Stan Wawrinka. Although Del Potro is a Grand Slam – and Olympic singles – winner, most would have pegged the Swiss for victory at that match given that the Argentine has not only recently recovered from injury, but also been struggling with form.
Del Potro entered the tournament unseeded, and rained his mighty forehand on the court; Wawrinka began the match fairly strongly and looked to be in a fairly winning position to begin matters.
The tall Argentine, who has had a number of wrist surgeries over his career so far, brought back his wrist-intensive play to court – and with some fluid strokes dispatched Wawrinka from the tournament.
It was Del Potro’s first Wimbledon appearance in two years – he last saw Centre Court in 2013, when he made the semi-finals – and lost to eventual finalist Djokovic.
Del Potro won 3-6 6-3 7-6(2) 6-3 after rain saw a delayed start of play, with the roof coming on on Centre Court. The Swiss had not looked particularly weak early on, even drawing first blood as he scalped the first set off Del Potro, but by the second set had all but lost his momentum, and was unable to regain it.
Djokovic becomes Choke-ovic
Reigning champion Novak Djokovic has been nothing but unstoppable this year, winning titles on every surface possible. He began the year with an Australian Open victory and htis year broke his French Open ‘jinx’, finally taking the title at Roland Garros and giving him his career Grand Slam.
Djokovic also currently holds all four Majors titles.
That said, the Serb looked seriously out of sorts last night, up against big-serving American Sam Querrey. Again, with play delayed seriously by rain, the World No. 1 was visibly frustrated – a frustration that would be compounded soon after when Querrey played an unexpectedly strong game.
The American took just under an hour to scalp the first two sets off Djokovic, 7-6, 6-1.
Playing on court 1 would mean Djokovic did not have the option of playing under a retractable roof – and it was the weather gods who would come to the Serb’s rescue in the end! Djokovic left a rainy Court One down two sets to love to an unexpected rival.
Play is set to resume today for that match – and that promises to be the big whopper!
Elsewhere, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams survived a scare from Daria Kasatkina to progress to the next round; Britain’s own women’s hopes were squashed with Tara Moore, the last British woman standing in the home tournament, crashing out. The wildcard lost expectedly to Svetlana Kuznetsova, with British No. 1 Johanna Konta having tumbled on Thursday to the unseeded Eugenie Bouchard in another upset.
Andy Murray still remains the country’s biggest hope in the tournament, and given that he has been in strong form so far and is yet to drop a set, home fans will expect big things of the Scot this time around.
Roger Federer is not feeling the effects of Brexit just yet! The Swiss took on two Britons in quick succession in Rounds 2 and 3 – beating Daniel Evans 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 to take his 150th win on grasscourts.
Australian ‘wild child’ Nick Kyrgios was up against Dustin Brown of Germany; both showy players, they took each other on in a battle of the aggressive servers in a match that was always going to go down to the wire.
That match saw wild swings of power shifts, with Brown taking the first set in a tiebreak, Kyrgios coming back for a 19-minute second set, and then losing his momentum entirely.
Eventually, the Australian came out on top, winning 6-7(3) 6-1 2-6 6-4 6-4.
Two seeded players put in decisive performances yesterday – Czech Tomas Berdych and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga each beat their rivals – German Benjamin Becker and Argentine Juan Monaco – in straight sets, each in a little over an hour, both progressing to Round 3.
The biggest question on everyone’s minds will still be Novak Djokovic and whether he can come back. This has happened to the Serb before, so he won't be too worried, but will still want to know where he lacked.
Stay tuned as action from that match resumes today!