W.11- The Alter Ego That Keeps on Giving
Hmmm, while The Rad's work may be done at this Wimbledon... It has left us a few parting gifts, it would seem.
=DAY 11 NOTES=
...as the rounds wind down, things just keep getting better at this Wimbledon. Today, it was the men's shot to turn up the drama in the semifinals.
The result: a semifinal record 4:43 match between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in which the Argentine #8 seed battled the world #1 all day long. Literally. Bashing groundstrokes that made a thudding sound that simply no other player in the world can produce, including one go-for-broke crosscourt forehand that left Djokovic sprawled on the court, unable to reach the stunningly hard-hit ball, then looking to the Player's Box and shaking his head in a, "What can I do when he does THAT?" sort of way. Ah, now I remember why I picked JMDP as the prospective world #1 in 2010 following his masterpiece U.S. Open run in '09 in which he knocked out both Federer and Nadal. Del Potro pushed the Serb like no one has at this Wimbledon, but it still wasn't quite enough. JMDP saved two match points in the 4th set tie-breaker to force a deciding 5th, but Djokovic, as he's been doing to just about every in matches like this for a couple of years now, outlasted him in the end.
There really is no better "long distance runner," aside from Rafa on red clay, in tennis. And it's because of this that while Djokovic may always reside in the long shadows of Roger and Rafa, he, TOO, might end up in the "Greatest of All-Time" discussion when all is said and done. This marks the thirty-fourth straight slam in which at least one of the Big 3 -- Djokovic, Nadal & Federer -- is making an appearance in a the final, a streak that began after the 2005 Australian Open produced a Safin/Hewitt final. While Federer and Nadal's consistent slam contending years round the final corner, Djokovic, at 26, has a large window left to rack up slam crowns. And his search for a new set of rivals for those titles is already taking shape, as well. Adding the finally-over-that-wrist-injury del Potro's name to it would be a wonderful thing for tennis, as today showed.
One name on that rivalry list is ALREADY established, though.
Djokovic will play for career slam #7 against Andy Murray, who took out first-ever Polish slam semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz in four sets, the last with the Centre Court roof closed in the fading light after the Pole pushed for it for most of the 3rd set. So, Murray, playing in the fourth straight final of a slam in which he's competed (he skipped this year's Roland Garros), will take a second straight shot at becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. Last year, he reached the Gentlemen's final, falling to Federer, but then came back later in the summer and, loaded with confidence, won Olympic Gold on the very same court, then used that momentum to claim his first slam at the U.S. Open.
Djokovic defeated Murray in the Aussie Open final in January, and this will be the fourth (of the Scot's career total of seven) grand slam final match-up between the two as they move up the all-time slam rivalry list topped by the record eight pairings of Federer/Nadal in major finals.
...in doubles, Aussie #12-seeds Ashleigh Barty & Casey Dellacqua advanced to their second slam doubles final this season (AO) with a semifinal win over #7 Groenefeld/Peschke, while #8-seeded Hsieh Su-Wei & Peng Shuai took out unseeded Aoyama/Scheepers.
In mixed doubles, Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor reached their second straight slam final, having been runners-up in Paris last month. They'll face top-seeded Lisa Raymond & Bruno Soares. Raymond, the Wimbledon Mixed defending champ after her '12 win at SW19 with Mike Bryan, helped to end Katarina Srebotnik's quest for a Mixed Career Grand Slam, as the Slovenian (w/ Nenad Zimonjic) lost to Raymond/Soares today.
...the junior singles finals are set. The Girls champion will come from the match-up between #1 Belinda Bencic (SUI) and #5 Taylor Townsend (USA). The two already have a recent history, as Bencic has defeated the Bannerette twice in recent weeks, including in last's week semifinals at Roehampton. On Day 11, Bencic, the RG Girls champ, defeated #15-seeded American Louisa Chirico, while Townsend, the '12 AO junior winner, took out #2 seed Ana Konjuh, the '13 AO champ, in a three-setter, 2-6/7-6/7-5.
Bencic is also still alive in the junior doubles with Petra Uberalova. Last year, she reached the Wimbledon Girls doubles final with Konjuh, losing to Eugenie Bouchard & Townsend.
The Boys final will include unseeded Korean Hyeon Chung, who earlier defeated top-seeded Nick Krygios, and #6-seeded Italian Gianluigi Quinzi. Quinzi took out the last Brit left in the junior singles today, Kyle Edmund. Edmund is still alive in the Boys doubles semifinals, though.
...wheelchair action, which is confined to just six total doubles matches on the All-England Club's grass courts, began on Friday. After today's women's semifinals, the top-seeded Dutch team of Jiske Griffioen & Aniek Van Koot will face off for the title against Japan's Yui Kamiji & Brit Jordanne Whiley.
Proof of The Rad's departure? Or proof of It's imminent return later this summer?
*LADIES' SINGLES FINAL*
#23 Sabine Lisicki/GER vs. #15 Marion Bartoli/FRA
*GENTLEMEN'S SINGLES FINAL*
#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #2 Andy Murray/GBR
*LADIES' DOUBLES FINAL*
#8 Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) vs. #12 Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS)
*GENTLEMEN'S DOUBLES FINAL*
#1 Bryan/Bryan (USA/USA) vs. Dodig/Melo (CRO/BRA)
*MIXED DOUBLES FINAL*
#1 Raymond/Soares (USA/BRA) vs. #8 Mladenovic/Nestor (FRA/CAN)
*GIRLS SINGLES FINAL*
#1 Belinda Bencic/SUI vs. #5 Taylor Townsend/USA
*BOYS SINGLES FINAL*
Hyeon Chung/KOR vs. #6 Gianluigi Quinzi/ITA
*GIRLS DOUBLES SF*
#1 Krejcikova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE) vs. #5 Ducu/Stojanovic (ROU/SRB)
#8 Kalinina/Shymanovich (UKR/BLR) vs. #2 Bencic/Uberalova (SUI/SVK)
*BOYS DOUBLES SF*
#1 Edmund/Silva (GBR/POR) vs. Couacaud/Napolitano (FRA/USA)
Kokkinakis/Kyrgios (AUS/AUS) vs. Balti/Donati (ITA/ITA)
*LADIES' WC DOUBLES FINAL*
#1 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Koot (NED/NED) vs. Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR)
*GENTLEMEN'S WC DOUBLES FINAL*
x/x vs. x/x
**SLAM FINALS - ACTIVE MEN**
24...Roger Federer, SUI (17-7)
17...Rafael Nadal, ESP (12-5)
11...NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SRB (6-4)
7...ANDY MURRAY, GBR (1-5)
4...Lleyton Hewitt, AUS (2-2)
**MOST SLAM FINAL MATCHUPS -- MEN**
8...Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal
5...Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic
5...Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras
5...Ivan Lendl vs. Mats Wilander
4...Bjorn Borg vs. Jimmy Connors
4...Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe
4...Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick
4...NOVAK DJOKOVIC vs. ANDY MURRAY
**2013 ATP FINALS**
9...Rafael Nadal, ESP (7-2)
6...David Ferrer, ESP (2-4)
5...ANDY MURRAY, GBR (3-1)
4...NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SRB (3-0)
4...Stanislas Wawrinka, SUI (1-3)
**WIMBLEDON FINALS - #1 vs. #2**
1972 #1 Stan Smith/USA def. #2 Ilie Nastase/ROU
1977 #2 Bjorn Borg/SWE def. #1 Jimmy Connors/USA
1978 #1 Bjorn Borg/SWE def. #2 Jimmy Connors/USA
1980 #1 Bjorn Borg/SWE def. #2 John McEnroe/USA
1981 #2 John McEnroe/USA def. #1 Bjorm Borg/SWE
1982 #2 Jimmy Connors/USA def. #1 John McEnroe/USA
2004 #1 Roger Federer/SUI def. #2 Andy Roddick/USA
2005 #1 Roger Federer/SUI def. #2 Andy Roddick/USA
2006 #1 Roger Federer/SUI def. #2 Rafael Nadal/ESP
2007 #1 Roger Federer/SUI def. #2 Rafael Nadal/ESP
2008 #2 Rafael Nadal/ESP def. #1 Roger Federer/SUI
2011 #2 Novak Djokovic/SRB def. #1 Rafael Nadal/ESP
2013 #1 NOVAK DJOKOVIC/SRB vs. #2 ANDY MURRAY/GBR
TOP QUALIFIER: Petra Cetkovska/CZE
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #1 Serena Williams/USA
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #23 Sabine Lisicki/GER
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): xx
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: #11q Mariana Duque-Marino/COL d. An-Sophie Mestach/BEL 6-7/6-3/8-6
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - (Q) Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR d. #3 Maria Sharapova/RUS 6-3/6-4
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - #23 Sabine Lisicki/GER d. #1 Serena Williams/USA 6-2/1-6/6-4
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): Nominee: SF - Lisicki d. A.Radwanska
TOP UNDER-THE-ROOF MATCH: Nominee: QF - A.Radwanska d. Li (partial under roof)
FIRST WINNER: Lesia Tsurenko/UKR (def. Arruabarrena-Vecino/ESP)
FIRST SEED OUT: #5 Sara Errani/ITA (lost to Puig/1st Rd.)
UPSET QUEENS: Czech Republic
REVELATION LADIES: Australia/New Zealand
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Great Britain (1-6 in 1st Rd.)
LAST QUALIFIERS STANDING: Eva Birnerova/CZE, Petra Cetkovska/CZE & Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR (all 3rd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Alison Riske/USA (3rd Rd.)
LAST BRIT STANDING: Laura Robson/GBR (4th Rd.)
IT ("Upstart"): Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR (def. #3 Sharapova/2nd Rd.)
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: #20 Kirsten Flipkens/BEL
COMEBACK PLAYER: #15 Marion Bartoli/FRA
CRASH & BURN: #13 Nadia Petrova/RUS (1st Rd./Ka.Pliskova; third straight 1st Round slam loss)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Eugenie Bouchard/CAN (escaped early-round carnage, winning after being down 7-5/5-4 vs. G.Voskoboeva, with Kazakh serving for match, in 1st Rd.)
DOUBLES STAR: Nominees: Barty/AUS, Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS), K.Mladenovic/FRA, L.Raymond/USA
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Louisa Chirico/USA
All for Day 11. More tomorrow.