At many a party, there is someone who comes and crashes the whole thing for a spell. Wimbledon is no different and today, the unwanted guest was, as always, the rain, which delayed the start of the matches by more than an hour on the outside courts, then stopped them for three full hours.
The visit of this very unwanted guest at the tennis party resulted in the completion of only 12 of the matches on today’s schedule. Of course, four of them were Centre Court matches, and contrary of during the tournament, they did not hesitate to close the roof as soon as it started to rain. Hence, the first match started relatively on time.
The indoors conditions of the court when the roof is closed, as usual, made the ball heavier and slower than usual, which ended up causing the second major surprise of the tennis tournament, as Julia Görges of Germany defeated World no 2 and Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, in three sets.
It was, really, the only surprise of the day.
Andy Murray passes with flying colours
The favourites in action today all passed more or less easily. Andy Murray escaped what was, on paper, a very difficult first round against Stanislas Wawrinka.
To be fair, Wawrinka did not have a good match, serving way below par (48% for the whole match), making a lot of errors, all in all, not playing very well.
After a shaky first game, it was all the contrary for Andy Murray, who played really like he did at Wimbledon: fearlessly, working his way into cracking the opponent’s serve, although his break point conversion could have been better (3 for 13). For a first match, and under the roof, it was, nonetheless, more than acceptable.
His 6-3 6-3 win over the Swiss sends Murray into Round 2, where he will face a rival he knows well: Jarkko Nieminen, who defeated Somdev Devvarman 6-3 6-1. It was Devvarman’s first match since last October, after undergoing a shoulder surgery in November.
Murray leads the head-to-head with Nieminen 4-0, their last match this memorable French Open second-rounder, where the Finn proved unable to finish a rival who started barely able to walk due to back problems.
Shaky start for Tsonga and Djokovic
The second and fifth seeds had a little more difficulty in their opener and, like Roger Federer did on Saturday, they both dropped a set en route towards the second round.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was made to battle against slippery conditions on Centre Court (which only seemed to bother the men today, incidentally) and a very inspired Thomaz Bellucci, who really gave all he had during the match. In the end, however, the World no 6 triumphed, 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4, and awaits the winner of Milos Raonic/Tatsuma Ito in the second round.
As for Novak Djokovic, he started the match against Fabio Fognini as we’ve seen him start many a match of late: slowly, letting his opponent install his game, and not taking the control of it like he should, maybe, have done. Broken back as he was serving for the set, he ended up losing it in the tiebreak, which was interrupted at 7-7 because of the rain.
After that, the slippery conditions of the court did nothing to improve his mood, but a fall seemed to kill every fighting spirit in Fognini, who slipped, dropped serve and opened the door very wide to the domination we’ve seen from the Serbian until the end of the match, which he won, 6-7(7) 6-2 6-2.
In the second round, Djokovic will face the winner of the match opposing Andy Roddick to Martin Klizan, postponed until tomorrow.
Pospisil fought hard in a losing cause
There were four matches involving Canadians scheduled today. Due to the weather conditions, the only one who could play, in the end, was Vasek Pospisil who, into the main draw of the singles as a wild card (he was already into the doubles, partnering World no 1 Daniel Nestor), was drawn to face fourth-seeded David Ferrer.
In other words, an impossible task for the 22-year-old from Vancouver.
This is not knowing Vashy, another of those players who just doesn’t give up easily. Down an early break in the first set, he broke the Spaniard back a couple of games later, only to be broken again the next game. Even though he tried, Ferrer would never give up on this break, this time, and took the first set 6-4.
The second set was interrupted at 40-40 on Pospisil’s first service game, who was quickly broken when play resumed, a break that Ferrer doubled seven games later. Serving for the match at 5-2, many were we to think that it was all over for the young Canadian, but he hung on and recuperated one of the breaks, then held to force Ferrer to serve it out a second time, which he did with more success, taking the match, 6-4 6-4.
Nevertheless, I must say I’m really proud of having “seen” (we could only see a part of the first set and the middle of the second on TV here in Canada, and not even the end of the match) Pospisil fighting the way he did against one of the toughest players he could be drawn against at his first Olympic Games.
We can only wish him and Daniel Nestor the best of success in the doubles, which they will start tomorrow, when they will face the Romanian team of Horia Tecau and Adrian Ungur.
Hopefully for the packed schedule that awaits on Day 3, rain will stay home and won’t come disturb the party, this time. They say Wimbledon is not Wimbledon without a rain delay. I think the Olympic tournament has had its share of it now, and hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate.