- If you’re willing to play by the sword, you need to be willing to kill by the sword. Gulbis pushed one time Wimby finalist Berdych to three tiebreaks, and won them all. Both guys only had one break each, and Berdych only earned one break point all match. Gulbis showed some rare mental stability, blowing several match points and going down a minibreak in the third tiebreak. But he kept serving huge and used some… choice creativity to make the magic happen. Grass should always be a good surface for Gulbis, and if he can remain focused, he could do some damage.
- Heather Watson is rounding into the tennis player I hope she can be. She has incredible self belief, and never once let the occasion of centre court overwhelm her. The confidence oozes through her game. She has wonderful footwork and is a true ball striker. She looks like a player who has worked meticulously on her game and knows what she is capable of. Magnificent stuff.
- The one player who did let the occasion get to her was the player Watson defeated: Iveta Benesova. Failing to break in a long game in the first set, she failed to capitalize on big points and essentially threw in the towel in the second set, from what I saw. Minutes, perhaps seconds after getting off court she tweeted:
F WORD GRASS!!!!!!!!
— iveta benesova (@IvetaBenesova) June 25, 2012
My new favourite saying for anything terrible.
- It was a tough day for Yen Hsun Lu. As I wrote, he showed off his grass court prowess in the first set, but came up lame with a groin injury at the start of the second. It didn’t seem to effect him that badly, but his net game let him down massively and his movement was not the same. Still, a treat to watch and an excellent match that featured many points of high, high quality grass tennis. Harrison will play Djokovic next.
- I hate to say it, and it may upset people, but Jankovic is becoming a bit of a disgrace to the sport. As a slam finalist and former number 1, her complete lack of interest or self belief is mind boggling. Her backhand looked back to old ways, digging out some low balls and pounding others. Her forehand was atrocious and her gameplan was even worse. At times it seems she was making adjustments, trying to get to net. It often ended in a terrible volley. Other times she defended, other times she ball bashed, other times she totally went for it. It was like an exhibition match where JJ was completely blind to who was across the net (one Kim Clijsters). Even when she was in the second set, she was never really in it. Sorry JJ fans, it appears things are getting worse before they’ll be getting better.
- As far as first days go, today was fantastic. I’m not sure if it was the allure of Wimbledon, the fact that I had the day to sit down and really, really write, or all of them, but today got my tennis passion back into overdrive. And it felt damn good. Thanks everyone.
- Reminder: live blogs every damn week day. One down, nine to go. Tell a friend. Cheers.