Week One of Wimbledon

I must say, as well as all its other benefits, it’s nice that moving the tournament back a week means that here in the States, we have a national holiday taking place when ESPN is still showing Wimbledon the entire day.  Since it seems there will never again be a People’s Sunday, we need all the days off from work in which we can actually watch live that we can get.

Although at least they had the sense to use the roof today, and make sure everything was done in time for the big day of tennis Monday.  Still, one did worry about if the gambit failed to get the match completed before curfew, and we instead had Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon coming out to play two games Monday instead(and when Monfils would’ve thrived on a People’s Sunday too, I bet).  Quite frankly it was a relief when Simon didn’t have much trouble with the last set.

Today was definitely an odd one, in ways.  Petra Kvitova going out even felt more of a shock than Rafa Nadal had Thursday; after he went down at the French, one almost feels like anything could happen to poor Rafa anyway.  A bizarre episode involving medical timeouts begs the question as to whether it is proper to give someone who’s thrown you off with a medical timeout a taste of his own medicine, or, if that was not Andy Murray’s motivation, just how alarmed we should be about these back/shoulder issues.  And James Ward losing, though it was a match that didn’t draw the attention or drama of Serena and Heather Watson yesterday, is kind of more heartbreaking than the latter.  After all, Heather is still on the up, and did we really want her triumph to come at the expense of Serena’s possible calender slam, and a good all-Williams grass battle?  But who knows if James Ward will ever again get anywhere near the chance he couldn’t grab today, and when the matchup he would’ve prevented would’ve been no great loss(seriously, why couldn’t Dustin Brown had followed up?  I want more of that guy); hey, we might have even seen an all-British quarterfinal!(talk about the crowds going crazy…).

And now the question is, do we dare start believing in Madison Keys now?  Or will she now get overhyped and then crash and burn, just like every other young North American woman who has shown promise recently?

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Officially not happy with ESPN

Okay, I admit, I do kind of like Eugenie Bouchard.  She’s easy enough to like, if you’re willing to forgive modern teenage music tastes, and don’t mind your female athletes hyper-prioritizing winning, and I’ve always found Maria Sharapova okay enough(they’re right to drawn the comparisons between the two of them).  When this tournament began, I certainly didn’t think it likely I’d be cheering against her.

But ESPN’s hype.  Crossed the line sometime between when she won her semi-final and things started going downhill for her today, and then kept going.  I was actually out for much of the final for real life business that couldn’t wait, but when I followed on my phone the final score and time of the match felt like a comeuppance.  The guard is slow indeed to change in tennis, and ESPN seems to make an idiot of itself every time the remote possibility emerges that a young blonde white player from North America might become the next big thing.  Which Bouchard actually shows more probability of being than anyone else has in recent years, but that just makes the whole thing worse.  But then I come home to ESPN showing her press conference, and, well, really?  This day ought to have been about Petra Kvitova rising again from her post-win slump and returning to the pinnacle she’d once stood on, all while playing the tennis of her life.  Had she been North American, I doubt ESPN could’ve gotten enough of that storyline.  Instead, watching the ABC rerun later, I found myself almost counting how much the commentators were talking about Bouchard struggling, as opposed to Kvitova being brilliant.  There was much more dwelling on the former than the latter.

At least tomorrow we’ve got the old guard Swiss and Serb, and the one of them ESPN usually favors is arguably the best tennis player in history anyway.  It’ll probably be a more even match too.  I hope.

A few scattered conclusions on Wimbledon

Has the guard been changed yet?  On one hand, the ladies semifinalists are all young, and Murray and Rafa both went out to much younger opponents.  On the other, not only is Nole still around but so is old man Federer, and I’d still pick one of them to win it, especially with Stan now out too(I would also pick Kvitova to pick up a second Wimbledon, though there, really, who knows?). And it’s not like the two guys out haven’t both shown indications of trouble recently, and I want to see how both their conquerors follow up on Wimbledon.  Dmitrov, especially; he has now finally undisputedly arrived, but will he stay? But this whole year has been about guard changing, so we probably will get the answer to that question in New York.

Should we stop anticipating potential matchups for Serena?  It doesn’t seem to go well.  First everyone buzzes about her and Venus in the 3rd round of the French, and then neither of them reach said round.  Here, everyone was waiting for her and Sharapova’s quarterfinal, and then, somehow, neither of them makes that one either!

They should’ve had a People’s Sunday, if only to get the lineups for a normal crazy second Monday.  I’m still confused as to why they didn’t.

At least the World Cup hasn’t kept much of the country from seeing anything like the end of a the marathon match the way it did last time around.

So Wimbledon starts tomorrow

Ready? It’s time!

Ready? It’s time!

And I’m probably going to miss most of it this year since ESPN only comes on half an hour before I have to go to work(suddenly the stopping of play on the Middle Sunday seems to be aristocratically insensitive!), but a few scattered thoughts anyway.

So now apparently Rafa’s thrown his back out, at least according to Chris Fowler?  And they still think he can win?!  Granted, one underestimates an injured/struggling Rafael Nadal at one’s peril, but really?  Though I’d be more shocked if Rosol is the one who defeats him again; I’d worry more about Karlovic, especially after his recently shown ability to break.

Looking at Roger’s draw, I can’t help but feel it’s all or nothing for him here, like he’ll either go out in the second round again or he’ll win the whole thing.  Which one he’ll do at this point is anyone’s guess…

Poor Maria Sharapova.  Dodges a Serena quarterfinal in one slam, and then promptly gets drawn into her quarter again!  And Serena ain’t gonna lose early for the second slam in a row when that slam’s Wimbledon.  I know we’ve had some shocking losses sometimes in history, but still, I can’t believe that one.

Bold prediction: Belinda Bencic will come out of Halep’s quarter.  Well, maybe Halep will take her down, but enough of that quarter feels like a free-for-all that I’m feeling a shock semi-finalist, and she’s just the one that feels like the one with the most potential for it.

Got the sinking feeling Maria Kirilenko’s going out in the first round again…Ovi will probably never make it to Wimbledon at all this year.

What a Tournament!

Haven’t been able to watch as much Wimbledon this past week as I was the first three days, but I’ve been able to follow the crazy from work.    So much for it all making sense again on Monday.  Instead the tennis gods upended up with the one upset we still weren’t able to believe would happen.  I remember Wednesday one person wrote he wouldn’t be surprised if Serena was abducted by aliens-but that was still seen as more likely to happen than her losing.  Though once she crashed out and Aga Radwanska survived, I actually figured okay, this would be A-Rad’s slam.  Then today…

I did get to watch much of ESPN this morning, where I admit, I got kind of tired about hearing about Sabine Lisicki’s smile.  I bet we wouldn’t have heard so much about it had she been a man.  We still didn’t seem to learn much from them really about her or Flipkens, and while with Flipkens it seemed not to matter that much in the end, with Sabine it still may.  Though my money is now on Bartoli, especially after seeing her display this morning.  I’ve seen her live; she has a determination to win about her, and when she reaches a slam final without a Williams sister I can’t see her not taking advantage.

Not daring to assume anything about the men at this point.  At this point it would defy the expectations of this tournament if Nole and Andy did both make the final!  Though Andy did arguably defy the trend yesterday, when he obviously was supposed to go down to Verdasco and refused to.  In earlier years, he probably would have, and Nole would probably be out by now too, but now let’s see if they’ve really grown out of that.

Three days of Wimbleweird

Just as well I’m going away tomorrow; these last three days at Wimbledon have been enough for anybody!  I’ve lost track of the upsets and injuries both, one of my favorite two players is out when he really should not be yet, and I don’t even have Ovie and MaKiri to cheer me up.  Maybe the tournament will start making sense on the big Monday, when I’ll be back.  Until then, a few thoughts:

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Wimbledon draw reactions

And as I intend to spend three days staycation lazing around watching the Championships this year, despite the fact that I am very much not looking forward to Serena’s probably winning the ladies title, a few reactions to the draw:

I have often thought when seeing Grand Slam draws, that Novak Djokovic is very good at getting easy ones.  Then, at the French this year, he very much did not.  But the Tennis Gods must have repented of that very quickly and made it up to him for this one.  Roger, Rafa, and Mandy all on the other side of the draw?  Talk about luck!

Meanwhile, we are stuck with a probable Fedal quarterfinal in an age where that no longer promises a good match at all.  But still, this is Roger’s best surface, so assuming Rafa’s knees hold up, etc., if we must lose one of them before the semis, here’s hoping they go in style.  But before then, it seems Roger may be the one who has to deal with Rosol in the 3rd…

Hewitt-Wawrinka & Sabine Lisicki & Francesa Schiavone sound all well a good, but I suspect the blockbuster first round match will be Angelique Kerber & Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Maria Sharapova possibly facing Michelle Larcher de Brito.  Insert the obvious comments here…

I’d predict Donna Vekic to upset Caroline Wozniacki, but that seems just a little too obvious a thing to happen, to the point you wonder if it somehow won’t.

Deeply sorry we have to lose one of Maria Kirilenko or Laura Robson after only one round.  If the latter upsets the former, she’d better stick around after.

The Americans were remarkably good at drawing each other for the first round, with even a clear potential 2nd-round clash if both Sam Querry & James Blake make it through their first round matches(certain in neither case, though; what state will Bernard Tomic be in?), and then another one in the ladies for Alison Riske & Mallory Burdette, though between Riske’s inability to win WTA matches outside Birmhingham & Burdette facing Ula Radwandska, that seems far less likely.  And for the home players, there in theory might be a all-British second round match too, though really, it’s a safe assumption James Ward won’t make it past Rendy Lu, so…