Yesterday saw the final two men through to the final on Sunday. Rafael Nadal who defeated Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic who put out Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - which means no matter what happens tomorrow, Djokovic will become world #1 on Monday.
Both matches went to four sets and both matches were extremely enjoyable with high class tennis, shots you couldn't believe you'd just seen, worthy winners and men who could oh so easily have won.
Tsonga picked up where he left off from beating Federer and raced into a 3:0 lead as Djokovic seemed to take a time to settle down. The first set was one of incredibly high quality tennis with Djokovic, who did break back, edging it in the tie-breaker.
In the second it appeared that maybe the five-setter quarter final had taken something out of Tsonga and his standard of tennis dropped slightly and Djokovic won the set easily.
When Djokovic broke early in the third, I really thought it was all over and Rafa and Murray would be on court in about fifteen minutes. Tsonga, however, had other ideas. Once again picking up his standard, he broke Djokovic back and took the set on the tie breaker and I was left wondering if he could do it again.
But no, once more Djokovic raised his game just enough and took the fourth set.
Apart from set two, the standard really was incredible and there were two occasions when both men were on the ground, still hitting shots. In fact Tsonga dived once to get a ball back and was up diving again to get the next one back. It was a great match to watch and one of those matches really that seemed to pivot on a game or two - even after the match I felt that either man could have won.
In the second match, Murray also picked up from where he left off in his quarter finals and played probably the best set of tennis I have seen him play, matching Rafa shot for shot and on occasions out-Rafaering Rafa *g* Just as it looked to be heading for a tie break, Rafa played a sloppy service game, just as Murray upped his game a tiny bit more and Murray did what he hadn't done in his previous two meetings at Wimbledon with Rafa: took a set. There was some concern over Murray's fitness as during the first game he called for the trainer and was holding his groin and hip, but he had some pain killers, which seemed to kick in as he waved the trainer away at the next change of ends. And apart from the odd shot or two, he didn't seem to be hindered by his injury.
There was one point early in the match the third game (I think) that may, possibly have swung the set Rafa's way. He made one of his impossible forehand shots that you think is going out by miles, but nine times out of ten fall in due to the spin he puts on it. It was called out, Rafa pulled up with the look on his face that said 'but I don't miss that shot' and the commentators (and me) were expecting him to challenge, but he didn't. Hawkeye, however (showed to the viewers by the commentators) showed us Rafa's look had been right, the ball had been in. That would have made the score 30:30 rather than 40:15 (to Murray) and as Rafa took the next point, I was left pondering if it could have gone differently. But these thing happen; he didn't challenge, the call stood. And in truth given how well Murray was playing, I think he'd still have won the game and set.
In the second set Murray continued to play awesome tennis until a point which he should have won easily. He had an open court, even Rafa couldn't have reached the ball and Murray put it just over the line. It would have given Murray two break points, as it was he lost his next three service games, it seemed that that one missed shot was preying on his mind. Rafa upped his game and went back to hitting the impossible and took the second set and the third and broke early in the fourth.
The Murray of the first set reappeared in the fourth, but to no avail - he simply couldn't stop the force that was Rafa and Rafa served for the match and won.
As the two men left Centre Court, Rafa hung back a little and applauded Murray.
Murray said that one point wasn't the reason he lost the match, he said it didn't have a huge impact on him, it was just that he became less consistent and had to take more risks as Rafa upped his game. He also said later, the thing with playing Rafa is that shots come back that really shouldn't and they don't just come back once or twice, they keep coming back at you and you're forced into taking that little bit extra risk and so often it's too much and you put the ball just long or into the net.
It was a very enjoyable afternoon and early evening with two incredible matches that saw the Men's seedings hold out as seed #1 meets seed #2 tomorrow.
Today Maria Sharapova takes on Petra Kvitova to see who will lift the Wimbledon trophy. Will Maria repeat her feat of 2004 when she was crowned Wimbledon champion? Or will we have a completely new name on the trophy and board of honour?
Seedings say it will be Maria's year and she is playing very well, also she has the experience having been in other Grand Slam finals (and winning), whereas this is Petra's first Grand Slam final so I'd expect her to be really nervous. But at the same time, Maria is carrying the expectation that she will win, she's the higher seed, she's the one whose been here, done it, lifted the trophy - the pressure may well be on her more than on Petra.
Also, I really can't see Maria getting away with serving the amount of double faults she did in her semi-final and still win - not this time, not unless Petra is so nervous, she just can't forget the occasion and play her game. Petra has the game to beat Maria and from what I saw has the mental strength too - but this is Wimbledon; this is the one Grand Slam everyone wants to win more than any other. Mental strength or not, the occasion is going to get to both women.
One thing is for certain it's going to be a very noisy match. Maria will scream on every single point and Petra has this little yap like noise she makes when she wins a particularly good point.
I'm fence sitting as to whom I'd like to win and whom I think will win. I like both ladies very much, I have (as I said before) a soft spot for Maria, but her screaming really, really annoys me and does interfere with my enjoyment of the game. And no, I can't watch it without sound because the commentary is part of my enjoyment. Having said that, I'll be happy with whoever wins - they both have the game to do so. If I really had to pick the one I'd prefer to win it would be Maria (just) but as for who I think will win . . . Nope, can't call that at all.
Prediction: three sets, a good match, a close match. May the better lady win.