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Wimbledon Diary: Day 6

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Originally published on: 01/07/12 00:00

How many?
Aged 32, Francesca Schiavone, who won her match against Klara Zakopalova 6-0 6-4, is playing in her 48th straight Grand Slam singles draw. Asked if she has plans to extend her run, the 2010 Roland Garros champion replied with a smile: “How Many? 120?” So, we calculate that if the super-fit Italian can play every slam for the next 18 years, she could do it. Must find out what she eats for breakfast.

Hit and giggle
Before Queen’s Club this year, it had been seven years since Brian Baker, who today reached the round of 16 with victory over Benoit Paire, had played a competitive match on a grasscourt. There are two grasscourts at the club where he grew up in Nashville, USA, and for his preparation, he says: “I think I played once, like hit-and-giggle tennis on that. Played kind of a pro-am doubles tournament up in the Hamptons with a buddy from Nashville on grass.” The American came to SW19, played qualies and is now in the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time ever. Remarkable.

Golden egg
Yaroslava Shvedova, the 24-year-old Kazhak, defeated French Open finalist Sara Errani 6-0 6-4 and achieved a first among any woman in an Open Era Grand Slam when she won the first set, not only six games to love but 24 points to love – yep, a whole set without dropping a point. It’s known in the trade as a golden set, but according to Shvedova’s own post match tweet: “Today I laid a golden egg”. Her next opponent Serena Williams, when asked about the match up against the golden egg-layer said: “Hopefully I'll be able to win a point in the set. That will be my first goal, and then I'll go from there.”

Lost in translation
Philipp Kohlschreiber today defeated Lukas Rosol, Rafa’s slayer, 6-2 6-3 7-6. Under normal circumstances the match may have passed under the radar, but we couldn’t help chuckling at the fact the German said of his opponent: “I was hoping he’s not having that day again against me. I think also the conditions today, it was a little bit windy, we played on a smaller court, so it was everything a little bit more in my favour, I think.” We measured Court 12 – it was definitely 78 feet by 27 feet, same as Centre Court, but it certainly held less spectators (15, 000 vs. 1, 020).

Bella bella
With Francesca Schiavone, Roberta Vinci and surprise package 20-year-old Camila Giorgi, there are three Italian women in the last 16 at Wimbledon for the first time ever. Whoa! That might not be all, the Italians will be boasting about winning Euro 2012 next.

Crazy lady
After her 6-7, 6-2, 9-7 victory over Jie Zheng today, Serena told the No. 27 seed at the net that they had played an unbelievable match. How did the Chinese woman reply? “I just wish her she can win this year,” she said, pretty generous for a woman who had narrowly been lost her sixth of six battles with the American.

Go compare
Juan Martin del Potro today equalled his best achievement at Wimbledon by reaching the round of 16, with his defeat of Japan’s Kei Nishikori. By his own analysis he is not sure what his level of play is compared to before the wrist injury that kept him out of the game for most of 2010. The Argentinean said:“I don’t know if I am playing better or similar or worse than 2009. I’m Top 10 and having a good season this year.” David Ferrer, who saw off Andy Roddick, is his fourth round opponent.

Hawkeye
Word from the All England Club that Rufus the pigeon-chasing hawk had been stolen, along with his cage was met not only with disapproval but some hilarious twitter commentary. Our favourite tweet was from Tom Fordyce, BBC’s Chief Sportswriter, who reckoned someone awoke in South West London with a “terrible hangover, vague recollection of doom and large hawk perched on the wardrobe.”

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