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Women's Quarters, Men's 4th Round Results from Today

Fed (Centre Court), Joker (court 1) to play simultaneous quarters


July 03, 2012 | 10:00 PM

After what was the rainiest London June in over 102 years since records were kept, July is starting no better. For the tournament's progress to have been delayed by no more than 5 singles matches (three of them begun) after 7 days is testimony to the system of coping with which the tournament has developed. With the most water sensitive surface of all - quicker to become slippery and far more difficult to dry - Wimbledon runs circles around the US Open. It's no secret that their tarp system is as efficient an operation as you'll see in sports: to cover 19 courts at a moments notice takes a legion of well-trained men waiting in the wings for a summons to the court to be ready to dash the 50 feet across the court. Nets can be taken down in a jiffy, and tarps inflated to become tent structures to allow air underneath and protect the surface from the pressure of too much water. The issue of drainage from the tarps was engineered somehow - no small feat. And yet...

In spite of all this management, the weather affects play more on grass than on other surfaces. The delays and confusion about the roof closing policy - all the affected players have been asking for more clarity, starting with Nadal after his 2nd round loss (he didn't understand why they closed it before the 5th set, and claimed to be ignorant of how long it took, though he says he wasn't consulted before the decision was made. Murray managed roof timing to a tee, rushing through a last changeover to get in a final game and serve for the match in the 4th set against Baghdatis in order to finish by the 11 pm curfew when Wimbledon's license forces play to end (they finished at 11:02), but even Federer remarked that the WC needed to be more transparent about their goals, and expressed concerns that the tournament remain an outdoor event. From Nadal to Fed, there is agreement that with the roof closed, Centre Court is very different for the players.

Outside Centre Court today, evidence of water damage to play was everywhere again. In Brian Baker's final game with Kohlschrieber, with mist getting heavier preceding what would be a long rain delay afterwards, both players slipped and fell. Fish and Tsonga both took spills from the dampness, Fish's causing a medical time-out to look at his hand. Tsonga's back hurt in the 2nd set - possibly from earlier stress on the grass - and required an off court break for treatment. Had it not been for their two medical breaks, they might have finished before the rain postponed their play with the Frenchman lading 2-1 in sets and up 4-2.

The other men's quarters outside Centre Court were completed because none required more than 3 sets of play today. The American men didn't benefit from the extra day:

- Kohlschreiber def. BAKER 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-3

- Tsonga def. FISH 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4

- Mayer def. Gasquet 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 (becoming the 2nd German to reach the men's quarters; there are two German women as well)

- Murray def. Cilic 7-5, 6-2, 6-3

- Ferrer def. Del Potro 6-2, 6-2, 6-3

Kohlschreiber and Mayer became the first German pair to reach the quarters since Becker, Stich and Kiefer in 1997. Mayer's 60 winners against Gasquet topped everyone's tally today, while Kohlschreiber's solid serving and play left Baker stalled at the start and unable to break serve (Brian was 0 for 5 in break chances, while the German was 3 for 3). Kohlschreiber hasn't lost a set since his 5 setter in the 1st round with Tommy Haas.

FISH was the only loser to seriously extend his opponent today. After winning the first set Monday, he'd fallen behind 2-4 but fought back and had a chance to go ahead 2-0 in sets, but in the breaker Tsonga brought out the ace machine. Before playing Fish he hadn't lost his serve, winning all 13 break points held against his serve, but against Fish he struggled relative to the American, who held more easily throughout the match, needing barely 2/3 the number of points on serve. But Fish didn't make his chances count, and Jo did. With the help of several aces and a couple of needless errors from Fish, Jo evened the match. The next two sets were close, but the clutch player won, saving 3 breaks in the 3rd set and allowing none in the 4th while converting 2 of 8 he earned against Mardy in the 6-4, 6-4 finish.

The featured match from the women's quarters:

Serena's A game was on display throughout her match with Kvitova, guided by an unusually calm temperament, her ship tightly controlled for a fast sail by a steady hand on the main sail. With her serve feeling comfortable in the closed roof environment, in the first set she hit 72% first serves with 7 aces, winning 83%, 71% won on 2nd serves. This gave her confidence to hit away on her returns, pre-empting some of Kvitov'a's first strike ability. Petra was held to 2 games in the first set, struggling to hold in long games (there were 32 points played in 4 Kvitova service games). This was the kind of power tennis that usually favors the American when she is match tough and expecting a big match.

In the 2nd SET, the quality of the power tennis exchanges improved - and became what everyone expected: the best 2nd serve in women's tennis vs. one of the best returners. After Serena made a couple of wild errors and Kvitova fought her way out of a long service game at 1-1, her squawks became regular, as did the grunts and fist pumps on Serena's side. Serena continued to stand on the baseline to return 1st serves, and inside the line for 2nd serves. Petra started painting lines with her 2nd shots, but was unable to earn a break point until Serena served at 4-5. The American's 1st serve got her out of trouble as it has through the tournament.

When Kvitova made an unforced error with her backhand in a rally that went on too long for her, and then missed a forehand in the net, Serena had the break she needed: she finished the set off with 3 aces (to reach 13 for the match) and an unreturnable 1st serve on match point.

Complete score: 6-2, 7-5 (an almost identical score to Serena's defeat of Petra in the 2010 semis here)

Azarenka, who will meet Serena in the next round - a match which will probably decide the title winner, was making fast work of Paszek until midway through the 2nd set, when down 3-6, 0-3, Tamira began to fire some of the 17 winners she then accumulated in the 2nd set. For a time she dominated and threatened to even the match, but the tie-breaker went to the favorite 7-4.

Complete score: 6-3, 7-6

The other two quarters went the distance, both ending 7-5 in the 3rd set:

- Like Azarenka, Kerber jumped out to a a set and half lead before Lisicki's winners started to offset her errors (she would end with a 57 to 50 margin) and her aces offset her double faults (10 and 5). With the match slipping out of her tight grip, Kerber let her temper get the better of her and became the beast in the garden, turning off spectators even in her own box. That she managed to win testifies to how hard she fought to make this win possible.

Complete score: 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-5

- Radwanska and Kirilenko battled for 3 straight sets and almost 3 hours, played on two courts, outdoors until 4-4 in the 3rd set, and then in Centre Court after a lengthy rain delay suspended outdoor play for the summer. By the end there'd been 30 break points and 10 service breaks Aggie used her delicate touch and excellent instincts to keep her dream alive of finally making a major semis.

Complete score: 7-5, 4-6, 7-5

Radwanska or Kerber are 2-2 in H2H, splitting two matches in 2011 on hard courts, both 3 sets in almost identical scores. It is a toss up which one will become final fodder for Serena or Vika. Niether has beaten Serena, though they haven't played in a few years. Aggie has lost 9 of the last 10 with Vika (6 in a row this year), while Kerber hasn't beaten her or played her recently.

SCHEDULE OF PLAY (Wednesday)

Centre Court

1:00 PM

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - QUARTERFINALS

Roger Federer (SUI)[3]

v

Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)[26]

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - QUARTERFINALS

David Ferrer (ESP)[7]

v

Andy Murray (GBR)[4]

No. 1 Court

1:00 PM

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - QUARTERFINALS

Novak Djokovic (SRB)[1]

v

Florian Mayer (GER)[31]

GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES - QUARTERFINALS

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)[5]

v

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)[27]

It's hard to imagine Joker, Fed or Jo losing to their opponents. Fed has once again been awarded the advantage of a Centre Court berth.

It's just as hard imagining Ferrer and Murray not having a close match: they are 5-5 H2H (David won the last two, including their 4 set quarterfinal in Paris last month. David is in his first Wimbledon quarters, and has nothing to lose (unlike Andy). His match against Del Potro today was a shocker, and may have left him with a whole new confidence on grass (the only set he lost was against Roddick). This will be Andy's first real test here, though he has lost two sets already.

Rick

Wimbledon Day 8, 7.3.12


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