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Wimbledon Diary Day 4

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Originally published on: 23/06/11 21:11

There was something in the air today at the All England Club and please don’t stop reading as this is most definitely not a weather report, there was too much action to waste words about the grey fluffy stuff.

It all started today, when I tripped over the Hewitt Family walking down the stairs in the media centre. Well not, dad, as Lleyton was somewhere else waiting for his match on centre court against Robin Soderling, and what a match that turned out to be! The Aussie had lots of fans here today and he put in a marathon effort, taking the first 2 sets, and in so doing created a career milestone for the Swede, who never before has come back from a 2 set deficit to win. So, perhaps this match will prove pivotal in allowing Soderling, the No. 5 seed to expand the much talked about men’s gang of four and make it into a famous 5. The score, for the proverbial record was 67 36 75 64 64.

The three hour and fifty-four minute match meant Li Na and wild card Sabine Lisicki stepped out under the roof about 4pm. It looked like plain sailing for Li Na who bagged the first set 63, but then Lisicki gathered herself and began to look like the player who in 2009 came here as a 19 year old and reached the quarter finals and started booming down her big serves. After the match Li Na, the defeated No. 3 seed, who was still smiling said, “Every serve was like around 117 miles. I mean this is impossible for women”

As Li Na heads back to China tomorrow, to the 116 million fans that watched her Roland Garros triumph, she will be missed from this tournament for both her tennis and her sense of humour. Mind you she’s not expecting much of a welcome “I just want to be with my friend, with my family” . In response to the question about why Chinese men are not breaking through in tennis like the women she said” Women always working so hard”. Her comments lose a lot of nuance, in the written word, so if you can check her out online, she’s a lot of fun.

Meantime Lisicki can reflect on a great win. Her tears of joy after saving two match points and closing the match 36 64 86  confirm her as yet another German contender to watch. In the next round she meets Japanese qualifier, Misaki Doi. Our prediction, she’s going to go deep.

With these two dramatic matches over, at 8.45pm Roger Federer stepped out against Adrian Mannarino of France.  It was probably good for the health, not to mention the centre court electricity bill, that the six times Champion, magnificently played his way into the third round conceding only 7 games as crumbs for the Frenchman.

Francesca Schiavone celebrated her 31st birthday with a win against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 75 63 on new court 3 and there was a Czech face off on Court 17 between Lucie Safarova and Klara Zakopalova. Seeded 31st ,Safarova was defeated but she and Li Na were not the only seeds to be defeated today. In the women’s game we also saw the departures of  Agnieszka Radwanska and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Serena ruffled a few feathers today with her comments about No.2 court where she played her match against Simona Halep, which she won in three sets 36 62 61. What perhaps was more interesting was her assessment, when asked, of 17 year old Laura Robson. “First of all, she’s a lefty which automatically puts you a step ahead.  I always wanted to be a lefty.  Can you imagine?” Can you imagine indeed!

At 8.45 pm there was more drama on Court No. 1 where Jo Wilfried Tsonga scrabbled his way to a four set victory over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 67 64 64 76. The Frenchman deserved a prize for the acrobatic celebration at the end, not to mention the entertainment in the match. Men’s seeds who departed today included Viktor Troicki defeated by Yen Hsun Lu and Florian Mayer defeated by the pony tail of Xavier Malisse and we watched with interest at 9.05pm as we dashed off for a “meeting” in the West End as Nicolas Almagro wrapped up his match against John Isner, where tie breaks were de rigeur, 76 76 67 63.

And so Day 4 came to an end, wow, only day 4, hope to see you back here for Day 5.

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