Rafa came through beating Fish in four sets. The MRI on his foot revealed no serious damage, but he was still in pain so had a local anaesthetic on it before playing and will do so again tomorrow. He raced off to a two set lead as Fish struggled with his serve and seemed somewhat over-awed by being on Court One. In the third set Rafa broke early on, but then did what he rarely does 'went walk about' and immediately lost his next serve. Fish broke again at the end of the set, thus clinching it. With Fish playing so much better and showing the tennis that got him into the quarters and Rafa making some uncharacteristic shot choices and missing his lines, it was a tad worrisome. Even when Rafa broke early in the fourth, I wasn't totally sure he wasn't going to lose his own serve. But in true champion manner, he held on and finally after squandering several match points on Fish's serve, served out the match for a win.
Djokovic raced through the first set and broke straight away in the second. He was like a man with an afternoon tea date and looked to be heading for a straight set, high speed win, when suddenly the 'other' Djokovic, the one who used to turn up on court, but who hasn't been seen this year, appeared. Aided by a drop in Djokovic's standard, plus a raising of his own Tomic took advantage, took the second set and broke in the third. It really did look as if we had a serious upset on our hands. But from somewhere Djokovic managed to up his game just enough and came through in four sets for a not-overly-convincing win.
Federer also seemed set on making an afternoon tea date as he raced through the first set against a Tsonga who was physically present on court, but seemed MIA and out of sorts. When Federer took the second set on a tie-break it seemed all set for a straight sets victory. Then Tsonga hit back and broke in the third. Okay, Federer in four. Except Tsonga had other ideas and a break in the fourth took the match into a thrilling fifth set. With both men playing excellent tennis Tsonga broke in the first game. All he had to do was to hold his serve. But come on, the 'all' wasn't easy, especially not given how he was playing - the six times champion, the man whose second home is grass, surely Federer would strike back. But despite being down 0:30 several times in the set, Tsonga held on to produce the upset of the day and won in five sets. Interestingly, John McEnroe had said before the quarter's that if there was to be an upset it would come in this match - and plutos_revenge had said the same thing. Tsonga deserved his win, he played as we know he can play and apart from the MIA bit at the beginning of the match was completely focussed. Federer, as one would expect, was full of praise for Tsonga and said whilst he (Fed) had played really well, in the end Tsonga played the better tennis. Indeed, Fed said, apart from the single break in the first set, he didn't have a break point against Tsonga for the entire match.
Murray was in stellar form as he put out Lopez in three sets. It's the one match I saw very little of, just the odd minute here or there, as I was watching Rafa's match. But what I did see, was a Murray in fine form, playing a superb game of tennis and breaking down Lopez's will. Murray said Lopez seemed tired and wasn't playing his best tennis, but he was also very pleased with the way he played. Lopez commented on Murray's consistency, saying it never wavered during the entire match. Murray did at one point slip and has a niggling groin strain, but he says it'll be fine.
Today is ladies' semi-finals' day. And the line up is:
Victoria Azarenka (4th seed) vs. Petra Kvitova (seeded 8).
Maria Sharapova (seeded 5) vs. Sabine Lisicki (unseeded).
I've had a soft spot for Sharapova since the time she won the championship and then was trying desperately to ring her mum on her mobile phone to tell her, but couldn't get a signal on Centre Court. She's an excellent player with a great range of shots. However, the one thing that really irritates me is her screaming on every single point. Really, it's high time the WTA did something about this and clamped down on this kind of thing, as it really does spoil the game. Thus, despite liking Sharpova I'm going to be rooting for Lisicki. I think she could cause an upset and beat Sharapova, she has the game, but maybe the occasion will get to her. I just hope it's a good match.
On the other side I'm rooting for Kvitova as again Azarenka is another screamer - the idea of a Sharapova vs. Azarenka final (which on paper is what we will have) really does not appeal to me. Kvitova is a very strong player, I saw part of her quarter final and she could easily overcome Azarenka. OTOH, Azarenka (despite her screaming) is also a very fine player indeed and could take some beating. Kvitova has been in this position before at Wimbledon, Azarenka hasn't - maybe that will prove to be the balancing factor.
Whatever the results, I'm (noise aside) looking forward to both matches.