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Wimbledon diary: Centre of attention

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Originally published on: 02/07/10 18:23

Friends in high places

The Royal Box was awash with famous faces and royalty for Andy Murray’s semi-final showdown with Rafael Nadal, including Sir Michael Parkinson and tennis legend Stan Smith, but the person who managed to extract the loudest cheer from the crowds as he arrived at the ground wasn’t even sitting in the box. Former England football captain, hero to millions and Muzza’s adidas stablemate David Beckham found himself a sweet perch just behind Team Murray for the match.

Bet he’d rather have been in South Africa, mind.

Don’t mention the score

Probably best not to mention football to Becks for the next few weeks. Probably best not mention it to the umpire out on Centre Court with him this afternoon either.

No doubt Carlos Bernardos’ focus was firmly on the match before him and Wimbledon is of course a footie free zone, but the Brazilian umpire for the day’s second semi-final went out on court with his country leading the Netherlands 1-0. Unfortunately, their Dutch opposition stormed back in the second half to win 2-1 and book their place in the final four.

You could almost hear the disappointment creep into his voice during that third set. Somehow, we sense, he knew.

The Court of a thousand uses

No doubting where the Swiss Army would play if the unfeasible invitation ever came their way. The All England Club continue to come up trumps with its innovative developments – showing the semi-finals on the big screen on Court 2 was a great way of accommodating those spectators who could not access Centre Court or make a land grab on Murray Mound. Inspired.

Kicking back with the girls…

She’s dealt with the eve of a Wimbledon final five times already in her career, so while it’s not really just another ordinary day for Serena she knows how she will spend her time preparing for the match. “Well, I’m just gonna relax a little bit.  I’m going to watch some ‘Desperate Housewives’ because I have to catch up.  So I’m excited about that.”

The stress is clearly unbearable.

Zvonareva doubles up

The first match on Court 1 today saw tomorrow’s other finalist Vera Zvonareva once again teamed up with compatriot Elena Vesnina to play her semi-final against Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta. Net result? A second Wimbledon final after the pair posted an emphatic 6-3 6-1 victory.

What a Championships it has turned into for the 25-year-old Muscovite. And why? Here’s her assessment: “I think sometimes it’s hard work, sometimes it’s experience, sometimes it’s maturity, everything together. Maybe if you put all these things together, that will bring the results.”

Nole not there upstairs

The day’s first semi-final was a match that had some enthralling moments before Tomas Berdych came out on top 6-3 7-6(9) 6-3. Novak Djokovic, who seems to suffer fairly regularly from health problems, did not dismiss them as a factor in the result today, but on balance it had more to do with is tactics.

“I don’t know.  I didn’t feel, to be honest – didn’t feel great on the court. I don’t know why. In that third set I kind of dropped the energy level and wasn’t managing to step it up and be aggressive. Maybe, because I was so much far behind the baseline and just kind of defending myself.  Wrong tactics, I guess.”

London Calling?

Stacey Allaster Chairman and CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour today announced the 2011 calendar. As well as a new event in Maryland in July, probably the biggest change for next year will be the location of the year-end Championships, which from 2011 will take place in Turkey following three years in Doha.

After that it’s up for grabs and Allaster said that if the finances allow it the Tour may look at a mature market…and given she’s hot on delivering a great fan experience, London – which has been such a success for the ATP tour – will be given consideration.

No decision will be made for at least a year, but if it happened, you heard it here first. The girls in London to cap the season? Bring it on!

Junior Britwatch: gone, expect for a Burton (and a Morgan, Broady and Farquharson)

Lewis Burton and George Morgan played Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics and Libor Salaba and won 6-2 7-6 in the boys’ doubles semi-final. All the other Brits were knocked out today, which is a shame after shame after two standout runs.

Oliver Golding took on Aussie Benjamin Mitchell on Court 12 and lost 6-2 6-2. Disappointed, but generous in defeat, Golding said although his game was not up to scratch “I’ve got to give some credit to him as well because I think he played a great match.  He was quite a different sort of player to everyone that I’ve played against so far.”

After that it was Laura Robson’s turn to face defeat 7-5 7-6 in her semi-final match against 17 year-old Sachie Ishizu of Japan. As she came off court she slammed her racket into the ground, clearly frustrated with her performance.

There were two other British boy’s pairings in action as well. Richard Gabb and Ashley Hewitt took on the Russian pairing of Mikhail Biryukov and Alexander Rumyantsev. The Brits lost 6-4 6-4.

Liam Broady and Tom Farquharson played Brazilian pair Guilherme Clezar and Tiago Fernandes. And after a 6-3 4-6 6-2 win the boys in red white and blue will also play for a place in a potential all-British final.

You never know…

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