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    Quarter-Finals

    Womenís Singles

    Alison Riske USA vs Serena Williams USA [11]
    I had my lede for this game all planned out. I was going to talk about Serena throwing shade on Ash Bartyís ascent to world no.1 by either not be aware it had happened or doing a very good job of acting surprised by the news. Some have leapt to Serenaís defence, saying she is a busy Woman what with combining Tennis playing with motherhood, so wouldnít have had a chance to keep up with the Tour news. Others have accused her of condescension and arrogance. As per the USWNT discussion, yes, this is arrogance from Serena. She has a lot to be arrogant about. Maybe this manifests itself in not giving a hoot what the ranking list currently says, and regarding whoever happens to top it at the moment as only the steward whilst the true monarch (herself) is in exile. Well, is she wrong there?
    But then Bartyís winning run was ended by Alison Riske denying us the anticipated confrontation, and we have an all-American tie. An entire planned out intro junked. Pah! Bloody Riske. Instead of Serena, the current Queen of grass court Tennis playing her heir apparent, we have her against one of the more minor Princesses who is finally getting a day of her own in the spotlight. Itís not quite the same, but itís still potentially an interesting match. If Riske can deliver of her best, that is. This is the big issue of course. Itís the biggest match of Ali Riskeís life, by a considerable margin. A Centre Court Wimbledon Quarter-Final against Serena. Itís something she will have daydreamed about. Her grass court ability has always made it a possibility, but time was beginning to run out on a day like this until this yearís breakthrough (Riske is now 29).
    One interesting wrinkle is these two players have never met before. And there is a lot to get used to about each otherís games. Both take time away from their opponent, but in very different manners. Serena blasts the ball past people with a consistent pace and weight that few if any of the other female players can match. Riske has to get her feet moving quickly enough to get to balls. However, if she can, then her own short backswings, punchy forehand and well constructed leant on backhand can redirect the opponents power whilst they are still recovering from their own swing. She is also itching to get forward to take advantage of an opponent caught out by how soon the ball has reappeared on her side of the court. Riske is then comfortable volleying it away for the winner. All of that is why Riske succeeds on grass.
    However, the key word above is Ďifí. Because if Riske canít get to the balls as they whistle past here, then she is a goner. And I think she wonít be quick enough. She also has an issue with serve. If she canít get Serenaís delivery back, how will she break? And if Serena gets a read on Riskeís decent, clever but not huge deliveries and whales on them, then itís a constant firefight for Ali. And that is exactly what she will do, leaving fans like me disappointed but proud in their girlís run.
    Serena in two.

    Barbora Strycova Cze vs Johanna Konta GBr [19]
    When Jo Konta first raced up the rankings and made the worldís top 10 she did so by overpowering players who tried to fight her fire with their own. However there was a fly in the ointment back then which was she didnít cope anything like as well with what one might term ice, i.e. the funky sorts of players, the Hsieh Su-weiís and Anastasija Sevastovaís of this world. These types knocked Jo out of a number of events when she had looked to be flying.
    Barbora Strycova is one of these slice and dice merchants. The Czech wonít try and blast through Konta, because she doesnít have the power for that. She will try and discombobulate her into defeat. And of the players who play that way, Strycova is one of the stronger exponents of the game on a grass court. This is her second Grand Slam Quarter-Final, and also her second at Wimbledon (l to Kvitova in 2014). She has also been in grass court finals at Birmingham on a couple of occasions. Grass is her preferred surface as it takes her slices and rewards her comfort at the net (she is one of the top doubles players).
    However, in the last year or two Konta seems to have worked out how to generate her own power whilst keeping control of the shot. She is no longer reliant on pace in to find pace back out. And she hits a very big ball. Strycova is a good defender, but Konta has blown even better ones away such as Sloane Stephens, repeatedly.
    Being in the QF is obviously a huge chance for both players. For Konta itís at home against a player she would be expected to beat. There is a return to the Wimbledon semis that she last made two years ago shimmering in front of her. Whether she gets through that is a thought for another day, because one match at a time. However, this is her fifth Slam QF so she has experience of the stage, and also of winning on it. Her record previously is a handy 3-1, with the Ď1í being against Serena so completely excusable. Itís a big deal for Jo, but not a one off or likely her last ever chance. That isnít the case for Strycova. The Czech is 33 and has talked of retiring after this season. She will never have a better opportunity, and that adds stress.
    That last point may be important. Strycova has mellowed with age, but she was once known for having an extremely negative on-court demeanour. She demanded vastly high standards of herself and would rage against the world and its sister if she wasnít managing to meet them. Why did she think she should be winning every match? Well, she was an exceptional Junior back in the day. She predates the combined rankings now used in the U18s, but that didnít matter. She topped both the girls singles and doubles lists, wininng two singles crowns and three doubles. Very big things were expected of her in the Seniors, not least by herself, but it never quite materialised as she has always been underpowered. And in the end that is the crux of this. The same reason why Strycova hasnít won a slam is why Konta wins today. She can hit through her opponent, and the same isnít true from the other end.
    Konta in two.

    Comment


      Elina Svitolina Ukr [8] vs Karolina Muchova Cze
      For those of you who were fretting over where the next generation of Czech Womenís Tennis players were, the sleepless nights are over. Itís not just French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova making waves now, but also Karolina Muchova. I can feel the waves of relief from here. Itís a country that had been wildly starved of Tennis players to follow, after all!
      Talking of that, I think that someone has spent a considerable part of her youth watching game tapes of Martina Navratilova and Jana Novotna. Because Muchova does something rather unusual in terms of the modern womenís game Ė she serve-volleys, she chip-charges! The net is her friend and she wants to be close to it. Not every time, that would be nuts, the world has changed since the 80s and 90s, but often enough to be noticeable. Muchova made her way forward 41 times against Pliskova in R4 and won the rally 66% of the time when she got there. And Pliskova absolutely belts the ball. It was an impressive showing of risk-reward.
      It will be a gamble to do that again against Svitolina as the Ukrainian could take very nicely to having a target. But itís one Karolina probably has take because she has only had one dayís turnaround from an extraordinarily long match, 13-11 in the third, which has to mean she is tired and stiff. Long points are not her friend here. And ultimately, I think that tiredness is the decisive factor.
      Everything is stacked in Svitolinaís favour here, really. Except, except... Elina has struggled time and again with delivering when itís expected of her. This is just her fifth Slam QF and she has never been past this stage. Which is an extraordinarily poor record for a player who has won the Tour Finals, won Premier 5s and been a regular in the top 5 (peak ranking of 3). Like Pliskova, who Muchova down yesterday, there is a clear mental block there. So having a Ďreally ought to winí match is not necessarily as much of a positive as it might first seem. It adds extra stress.
      Of course Muchova will be tense as well, seeing as this is not only her first ever Slam QF but also her debut on one of the big show courts (this match is being played on #1). Itís a very big day in her life and something to look forward to with excitement, whilst for Svitolina itís one to be got through and looked back upon. I hope she manages, frankly because seeing people struggling against themselves is never pleasant. I think she will.
      Svitolina in two.

      Simona Halep Rou [7] vs Zhang Shuai Chn
      Zhang Shuai takes her time getting accustomed to things, but when she eventually settles she produces. That is the only conclusion to be drawn from her Slam singles record. It took the Chinese player 15 goes to get past R1 in any of the Slams. Such was her frustration at the repeated exits that she was close to retiring from the sport before she finally broke through at the Aussie Open in 2016, finally getting over the hump and then going on a wild run to the QFs until she finally lost to Konta.
      And now she has done similar at Wimbledon, where the R1 losses persisted until this year. But again, once finally into R2 (and doing so in style, thrashing a seed in Caroline Garcia) she has gone all the way through to the last eight for the second time in her career, taking down a former World No.1 in Caroline Wozniacki along the way. And now she faces a faimilar face in Simona Halep, and one that brings good memories. Because it was Halep who was at the other end of that court in Melbourne when the first monkey was thrown from Zhangís back.
      That match was at a time of struggle for Simona which she has mostly put behind her. Mostly, but not entirely as the period since her French triumph has been something of a slip backwards rather than a power forwards. Itís as if the motivation has died a little, that if Simona is not sated she at least feels she will be able to look back at her career and have the landmark win. Once a slam champion, always a slam champion and all that. The second may not be harder than the first, but itís a different thing and I wonder if Halep is taking time to adapt to what is required.
      She certainly hasnít been all that stable in 2019, changing coach a few times. Her French Open defence was OK but no more than that. However, she now has a dream draw to make her first Wimbledon final and kick on again. And these days that sort of thing no longer fazes here. I think she will be licking her lips at the thought of this and what lies beyond.
      Experience is all in Halepís favour. This is her 13th Slam QF, and fourth at Wimbledon. Her strike rate in the previous ones is 50/50, which is acceptable. All the major baggage of her past has been thrown off. The h2h is in Zhangís favour, standing at 2-1 but those all predate the new look tougher Simona. Game style also breaks Simonaís way. Zhang plays nice all-court stuff and scampers about in defence, but Halep can do that as well, but better. And when it comes to leaning into the shots, Simona has more power. And if Zhang comes in and tries to use her volleying skills (she is another storng doubles player) that also works for the Romanian, who wonít panic on her passes.
      Itís a great stage for Zhang to be on, and like that Aussie Open run a brilliant ten days to reminisce about in future years. But Halep has too much game and too much to gain by bringing it out today. If she focuses the win is hers for the taking.
      Halep in two.

      Comment


        The above couldn't be more off beam so far. Zhang leads Halep 4-1 (single break) and has threatened repeatedly to break again. And Riske led Serena by a break at 3-2, was broken back (after recovering from 0-40 to deuce) but has regained her lead immediately.

        Comment


          I cursed that, didn't I? Both matches are back on serve!

          Comment


            And both the expected players won set one. Halep, who had looked in the most trouble of the pair, then raced away with set two to seal her semi-final place. Williams, however, has dropped the second set against Riske and is into a decider. Riske even broke Serena in the first game of that, but Serena broke straight back. And of course Riske comes into this match having won four straight three-set matches...

            Comment


              Well that escalated quickly. One minute it was 4-3 on serve to Williams. Little more than 60 seconds later it's Game, Set and Match to the unofficial no.1. Ah man. At least Ali has a very good video to show her eventual kids* (assuming she has any) - "Mom was very good at Tennis, you know. Watch this - she played the Greatest of All Time on Centre Court and went toe-to-toe with her for two hours"

              * - Riske is marrying a scion of the Amitraj clan later this summer.

              Comment


                Svitolina broke Muchova in the opening service game of their match. In the four games that followed, Svitolina won just one point!

                Comment


                  Three out of four ain't bad...

                  Comment


                    Strycova was wonderful to watch. Drops and dinks and slices, tennis from a different planet. I suppose Serena will power her way past, but it would be great to see more like today.

                    Comment


                      All three players who raced into a break lead in set one lost. I knew it was three out of three when Jo got into that position. Ah nuts. She does keep blowing chances does Johanna. Its become time to face up to her occupancy of the Henmanesque nearly, nearly but ultimately just a little bit too flawed limbo.

                      Comment


                        Yeah, I've been supporting Strycova the whole way through the tournament. I've seen her the last two years in Birmingham semis, and she is just brilliant to watch. I strongly doubt she has much chance against Serena Williams, but Riske took her to 3 sets, so you never know. (And, Janik, Strycova is still very vocal on court, mainly in exasperation when she misses a shot, which makes her even easier to warm to.)

                        Comment


                          The BBC have decided to start calling them "Murena". Not only is that going to get irritating by Sunday but I bet by then at least three children have been christened as such.

                          Comment


                            The BBC commentator suggested they should call themselves Andy Williams.

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by Jimski View Post
                              Janik, Strycova is still very vocal on court, mainly in exasperation when she misses a shot
                              Leopards can't changed their spots. But whenever I've seen her in the last few years it has been rather more restrained than the thundercloud she brought with her back when she first came through. And that was directed outwards to all and sundry as well as inwards. She was a legendary sourpuss at that point of her career.

                              She also doesn't hold with sacred cows and is not afraid to speak her mind off the court either. And not just on the link subject but also... well I'll save it for the Semi preview [that gives a strong hint, I reckon].

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Janik View Post
                                All three players who raced into a break lead in set one lost. I knew it was three out of three when Jo got into that position. Ah nuts. She does keep blowing chances does Johanna. Its become time to face up to her occupancy of the Henmanesque nearly, nearly but ultimately just a little bit too flawed limbo.
                                I think she's potentially better than him on other surfaces (relative to her competition) but he probably had a better shot at winning Wimbledon, in the transition period from Sampras to Federer when non-greats could win it, than she might get.
                                Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 10-07-2019, 09:21.

                                Comment


                                  That transition was rather brief - only three years. But that was Henman's chance, for sure.

                                  Konta had a very spiky press conference with a journalist who tried to ask her about why she chokes (phrased gentler than that). She called it patronising. I don't think that was fair. The questions about her performance, why her unforced error count was way up were uncomfortable but need asking. It would have been patronising to avoid the issue, just because she was likely to find it uncomfortable. The line taken was pertinent, rather than impertinent. But given Jo's attitude to anything that she feels is negative like that (see also her refusal to accept Vondrousova's win in the French Semi was aided by her underperforming), it was also a hiding to nothing to ask them.


                                  Quarter-Finals

                                  Menís Singles

                                  Novak Djokovic Srb [1] vs David Goffin Bel [21]
                                  At least this match shouldnít be as one-sided as Novakís demolition job on Ugo Humbert in R4. David Goffin is a fine player, as we saw at the French when he took a set off Nadal. He has been in the top 10, has been runner-up in the Tour finals, has led his country to two Davis Cup Finals, has reached ATP Finals on all three surfaces and has now made Slam QFs across the same. However for all that he is part of that second tier who the top four are in a wholly different league to. His best other runs, once in the US and once in Paris, ended at this stage. He doesnít even have the run of QFs and SFs of a Raonic or Nishikori, to name two similarly able players.
                                  The Belgian is undoubtedly a talent and a shot maker. He also possesses a bigger serve than his relatively average size and slim build suggest he ought to be able to produce and also crisply hit groundstrokes off both wings. He has touch in his hands and to make for deft angles and solid volleys and a good tactical Tennis brain. He doesnít have many weaknesses, really. This isnít the problem against Djokovic. The problem is the strengths are not strong enough to overcome the relentless, suffocating pressure that the top guys apply.
                                  For players to beat one of the top guys they really need a pattern of play that they can employ reliably and take can be brought into the rallies against the will of the opponent. Basically either a big serve, remarkable return ability or withering power from essentially nowhere. Goffin has none of these. That means he has to red line it for three-plus hours to win the match. Itís just not doable, not when Djokovic can achieve the same level without being constantly at 100%. As seen against Nadal recently and Federer a few years ago, Goffin can produce that sort of sparkling Tennis for a while. He can win a set if he does. But his mortal and eventually comes off the plateau and loses in four.
                                  From Djokovicís side of the net, this is a good match up. He does what Goffin does, but better. He serves better, he has more punch from the baseline and he defends better, again a strength of the Belgian. The surface also helps Novak more, or possibly more accurately hinders him less than David. Both are probably at their best on a hard court, but Djokerís game works highly effectively on all surfaces whereas the speed of grass does hinder Goffin somewhat.
                                  I maintain that how Nole plays on the full defensive is his most impressive attribute, though. Itís not just that he gets a racquet on balls that no other players would, itís that when he does get a racquet on it, 95% of the time the ball drops within six inches of the opponentís baseline. Their best shot has just been negated and they have to start again. Words cannot express how frustrating and undermining that is. A player simply has to believe that when they have hit their opponent with their best shot that it will cause damage. There is a tendency to refuse to believe what has just happened and still throw the kitchen sink at the next shot as if itís a short attackable ball when the reality is the rally has been reset and you need to start again.
                                  Goffin actually won the last meeting of the two, his only victory in their series to date. But that was over best-of-three (Monte Carlo two years ago, for the record). Iíll be generous and give him a set.
                                  Djokovic in four.

                                  Guido Pella Arg [26] vs Roberto Bautista Agut Esp [23]
                                  This comfortably the lowest profile of the four matches today, lacking as it does any top 20 players or Slam finalists. Neither has particular name recognition with the more casual Tennis watching public. But likely to be the most competitive and entertaining of the four. Given the clay court backgrounds of both men, the rallies are likely to be extended and cerebral as the two try and work their opponents out of position so they can hit a winner. I hope the Court 1 crowd and there in time (itís the first match on) and enjoy it to the full.
                                  For Pella this is completely uncharted territory. He had never been into the second week of a Slam previously in his ~six-seven years of trying (19 main draws). In fact he had only been beyond R2 twice, Wimbledon and the US last year. However one canít say he doesnít deserve to be here, not after beating the 2016 and 2018 runners-up, Milos Raonic and Kevin Anderson, in the last two rounds to add to his defeat of 2017 runner-up Marin Cilic in R2 last year. And Pella is playing for free essentially as he was really behind the eight ball against Raonic in the last round. Few players survive when Raonic has the balls in his hand just needing to hold serve to stay in the match. But that is what Pella got through at 3-5 in the fourth on Monday before winning four consecutive points against the Canadianís delivery to move from 40-15 down to breaking for the win at 8-6 in the deciding set.
                                  That match is a bit of a worry, though. Not how Pella played, but how well he will have recovered. It finished just before 8:30pm on Monday and the Argentine was showing clear pre-cursors of cramp in the last few games. He must have spent the time since mostly on recovery rather than working on his game. Particularly as he also needed five sets to get past Andreas Seppi in R2.
                                  Also worrying for the Argentine fans is the previous h2h record. Itís only two matches, but both went Roberto Bautista Agutís way, and comprehensively so in the end. The Spaniard won their only Slam meeting, in Melbourne in 2017, for the loss of just five games. Pella did win the first set in their most recent meeting, on the clay of Munich this year, but Bautista Agut won that one going away, 6-0 in the third. Bautista Agut is also more of an all-courter than Pella, having a decent Wimbledon record previously of 2 x R3 and 2 x R4, and that is from a total of just five previous visits. His runs generally end in comprehensive fashion with defeats to major players such as Murray or Federer. It takes one of that level to expose a game that is absolutely solid, but not spectacular.
                                  Tension may play a part as this is a major opportunity for both men. Pella hasnít even been this far before as mentioned above, but neither has Bautista Agut much. His first Slam QF was just six months ago in Melbourne, where he lost in four to Tsitsipas. And the Greek was the favourite for that after eliminating Federer, whereas Bautista Agut will go into todayís match with the slight edge I would have thought.
                                  One area where I give Pella the edge is on serve. He has a bigger weapon there than his opponent. I think he will need it to fire as once the exchanges get started I reckon Bautista Agutís greater all court game will allow him to take a court position slightly closer to or even inside the baseline that will allow him to dictate the patterns. And also be able to simply outlast the Argentine.
                                  Bautista Agut in five.

                                  Comment


                                    Sam Querrey USA vs Rafael Nadal Esp [3]
                                    Of all the players facing one of the big three today, I feel Sam Querrey has the best opportunity of success. And by best what I really mean is least worst. Why? Is he a better Tennis player than Goffin or Nishikori? Nope. Is Nadal notably weaker than Djokovic or Federer? Also nope. What it is is the court and one particular shot Ė Querreyís serve is a huge weapon on grass. That makes him somewhat akin to a lumbering heavyweight who, whilst he might be out of his depth in almost every aspect, still retains the Tennis equivalent of a punchers chance.
                                    Whilst one canít end a Tennis match early with one particularly withering shot (though Kyrgios did try to do that to Rafa a few days ago!), what a big serve can for a player is reduce a match to effectively just a handful of rallies during tie-breaks. And if Querrey can compress it to ~10 rallies that actually count rather than 100, then his odds pick up enormously as the random factors of miss-hits dropping in, lucky drop dead net cords, unexpected unforced errors, rare winners in baseline exchanges become more significant as if any happen there is limited time for them to be lost in the noise.
                                    It is something that has worked against Rafa in the past, even on clay. Back in the day there was a particular type of player who did better than expected against him. Tall guys with huge serves and big strikes off the ground. Think Robin Soderling, John Isner, Lucas Rosol and others who either pushed Rafa hard, even on clay, or actively toppled him. Sam Querrey completely fits that archetype. One thing is certain, Querrey has to attack. And that probably means more than just try and hit every groundstroke that comes his way for a winner, whenever it happens to be on the court. Rather it also incorporates serve-volleying to force Rafa to take cuts at the serve rather than chip the ball back in an attempt to neutralise and start rallies from shot three.
                                    For Rafa it is about reading the serve, getting the ball into play and extending the rallies. 3 shots or less too often and he is in trouble. Medium length rallies of 4-8 and itís in his favour. If he manages to make lots of them last 9+ then it will be a massacre. It is also about Rafaís own delivery as well. If Querrey is holding comfortably, then Nadal nees to do the same. The good news on this is not only is Nadalís delivery a punchy and very effective shot these days, Querrey is also a poor returner. He will almost certainly try and chip the ball back. Which means serve-volleying could also be an effective tactic for the Spaniard. We might see more of that here than we are really used to these days.
                                    There should be no worries about nerves here. Nadal has played in many Slam QFs over the years, both in general and at Wimbledon. He has won the vast majority, including all six previous goes at SW19. There was a fallow few years up until beating del Potro in five last year (the one before that was 2011) but having got the taste back he should be very ready to feast again. As for Sam, this is his third appearance on this particular stage in four years, and fourth overall. His record at Wimbledon is 1-1, losing in four to Raonic in 2016 and getting a big win against Murray in 2017. That match was the high point of Querreyís career so far, though it does come with an asterisk Ė Andy was clearly severely hampered by injury in the last two sets. It was only the situation of a Wimbledon QF that saw him complete the match.
                                    Querrey has won sets in best of fives and even matches over best of three against Nadal before (OK, once, the h2h being 1-4). If he were to come through 7-6 7-6 7-6 it would not be completely out of left field, but it would still be a big shock and itís one out of ten at best. I have to play the percentages and say Rafa is too good and even if it does reach breakers he will find a way of winning them.
                                    Nadal in three.

                                    Kei Nishikori Jpn [8] vs Roger Federer Sui [2]
                                    The list of players born at the wrong time, who would have won Slams in another era, is of course speculative. But most peopleís compilation of such would include Kei Nishikoriís name alongside the likes of Tsonga, Berdych and Ferrer. That little clique was basically the Ďlittle fourí for many many years occupying spots 5-8. They have a ton of Slam QFs and SFs between them and even the odd final appearance but no victories. Of that group, Kei is the youngest. Whilst Ferrer (37) is now retired and Berdych and Tsonga (33 and 34) both look very close to the end and are no longer realistic contenders.
                                    Nishikori, however, is still only 29. He really is the one who can be most frustrated that the likes of Federer are not only still here at this point, but still playing seemingly as well as ever. Five years ago Kei might have been thinking Ďoutlast them and move seamlessly into the top spots myselfí. No longer. If he wants to win the Slams he is still capable of, he will have to do it Ďproperlyí, i.e. by beating that seemingly unbeatable group. And if he were to do it this Wimbledon, well, that would likely mean toppling Federer, Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back. And if that happens, Japan should declare a week long national holiday in celebration!
                                    Thinking about the pressure from back home, one wonders if the breakthrough of Naomi Osaka and her own sparkling success in winning slams (particularly beating Serena in a US Open final, which is comparable to what is facing Nishikori here) has lifted some of the burden off Kei. The Japanese are way into Tennis, it is one of the countries with the highest TV audience ratings and sponsorship income for the sport in the world. Their small group of truly elite players donít have the benefit/curse of a home slam that British players do, but otherwise the difficulties of a very bright spotlight shinning on just a tiny handful of people is very similar. Kei must be so glad that Naomi has step into it with him after so long exposed on his own.
                                    Can he manage that run? Well, there are reasons for hope (the 2014 US Open with his final appearance looms large), but letís take it one step at a time. He has to beat Roger first. And the h2h isnít encouraging, tipped 7-3 in the Swissí favour. However Nishikori did when their last meeting, breaking a run of defeats that stretched back to 2014 when he beat Federer at the O2 last autumn. That will give Kei confidence, as will their only Slam meeting at the 2017 Aussie, which went the distance. Both of those were on hardcourts however, which is Nishikoriís best surface. Grass is his worst. He has never made a tour final on the surface, and has only made one previous QF at Wimbledon in a decade of trying compared to at least three QF or better at each of the other Slams. He has also only ever beaten one top 10 player on grass, that win coming at this venue but not this tournament Ė he beat David Ferrer in the 2012 Olympics, which he also made the QFs of. However, this is the second straight QF for Kei at Wimbledon. So slowly, but slowly he is getting better on grass. Or is the grass slowing down to meet him? He took a set off Djokovic at this stage last year, which is another straw to grab at.
                                    But they are straws. Because I donít really need to lay out how grass is Federerís best surface, do I? And that he is better than Nishikori on Nishikoriís best surfaces, let alone Keiís least strong. Everything breaks in Federerís favour here. He serves better, he is more willing to come forward, he volleys better, he returns better. And he knows the stage, both in existential terms of what a Wimbledon QF means and in the very practical sense of the look and feel of centre court. He would almost be nodding terms with particular blades of grass, such is his ubiquity at this particular event. He has only been absent from Menís QF day twice in the past 19 years!
                                    It would be something if Nishikori wins, and not just because of the variety it would bring in terms of personalities in the last four (Kei has never been that far before, Roger has featured a yawnsome 21 times) but also because the only way he is going to do so is he produces three hours or more of eye-popping big ball striking from the baseline, high risk Tennis. But itís not going to happen, is it?
                                    Federer in three.

                                    Comment


                                      "Goffin actually won the last meeting of the two, his only victory in their series to date. But that was over best-of-three (Monte Carlo two years ago, for the record). Iíll be generous and give him a set."

                                      Djoker did not share my charitable views.

                                      Comment


                                        Murray and Williams a set down to the top seeds.

                                        Kevin Mitchell, The Guardian, implies that Strycova is favourite against Serena, who is becoming more beatable:

                                        https://www.theguardian.com/sport/20...-quarter-final

                                        Comment


                                          Not how the bookies see it. Or me!

                                          Murray/Williams are out of the Mixed. Muzza was the last Brit in the senior able-bodied events left.

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                                            Lost to the top seeds so not a shock. I was more surprised they played it so early, on Court 2, rather than waiting for the men's quarters to conclude on C or 1, but presumably that's so Serena could get some rest and practice before the SF and have less sitting around.

                                            Another mixed game had a tie-break at 12-12 today but I don't know if that's the first ever case at Wimbledon or just the first I spotted.
                                            Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 10-07-2019, 18:13.

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                                              There was a men's doubles match yesterday (or the day before?) that went to a 13-12 tiebreak. (Think it was Kontinen/Peers.)

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                                                Is there any general consensus on the best ever men's, women's and mixed doubles teams?

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                                                  I suspect the Bryans for the men's, and Navratilova/Shriver for the women's?

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                                                    Billie Jean King and [whoever]

                                                    Navratilova/Shriver were pretty hot on the Women's side. At the same time Fleming/McEnroe(J) were extremely handy on the Men's. If Navratilova/McEnroe(J) had ever hooked up for the Mixed... but as far as I know, they didn't. World singles No.1s playing serious doubles, eh? Not going to happen these days (check's women's draw, sees Azarenka/Barty withdrew in R3, BArty could have claimed both spots is she had won the title).

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