Wimbledon 2009 Midpoint Notes

22:55 Sun 28 Jun 2009. Updated: 13:45 09 Jul 2013
[, ]

Halfway through, and there aren’t too many big stories that weren’t present at the start of the tournament—the big three are still Nadal’s absence, Federer’s attempt to break the Grand Slam record, and Murray’s chances of being the first British men’s player to win in 73 years.

Nadal’s nonattendance stalks the men’s draw, even this far into the tournament. As I look ahead to what might happen next week, there’s a void where Nadal would have been. The seed who was pulled up to replace him, Del Potro, is already gone, having been taken out by the only previous champion in the draw who’s not Federer: Lleyton Hewitt. That win by Hewitt is probably the biggest story so far. Hewitt next faces Radek Stepanek, and I think he’ll win that one, setting up a potential meeting with Berdych or Roddick. Hewitt–Roddick, should they both win, could be quite a match.

Of the matches I saw in week one, the best were probably Marin Cilic over Sam Querrey (4–6, 7–6 (3), 6–3, 6–7 (4), 6–4), Tommy Haas over Marin Cilic (7–5, 7–5, 1–6, 6–7 (3), 10–8), and Juan Carlos Ferrero over Fernando Gonzalez (4–6, 7–5, 6–4, 4–6, 6–4). I didn’t see all that much of Haas–Cilic, but enough to convince me it was mostly high-quality tennis.

Cilic over Querrey and Ferrero over Gonzalez had similar endings: the player who served second in the set was down four–five and got nervous, and that was it. Until that game, Querrey hadn’t dropped a point on serve in the set, and until that game, Gonzalez hadn’t faced a break point in the set and generally looked stronger. But tennis can come down to those key moments, in ways that can seem deflating and even unfair. As a spectator, I felt bad for both Querrey and Gonzalez after the final game. For Querrey, it was because he seemed the lesser player putting up a great fight against Cilic, until the last moment.

With Gonzalez it seemed that he was the stronger, better, player, but Ferrero showed tremendous will in fighting him off and doing just enough to pressure him at the key time. At four–five, thirty–all, Gonzalez missed a first serve, hit a shaky forehand into the net to go down match point, and then double-faulted to give up the game. Ferrero’s earlier work in the game set all that up, and after thirty–all he merely had to get the ball in play once to secure his place in the next round.

It still looks good for Federer to get to the final, but he might have some tough matches along the way. Assuming everything goes predictably (and that he keeps winning), in order to reach the final he would have to beat: Soderling (who won’t be feeling the pressure he felt in the French Open final), either Fernando Verdasco (Australian Open semifinalist) or Ivo Karlovic (whose game on grass is extremely frightening—he served up forty-six aces in his win over Tsonga), and then Novak Djokovic, who is still dangerous. All three of those matches are potentially very tricky.

As for Murray, his path to the final looks a little smoother to me: he should beat Wawrinka tomorrow, I don’t think either Ferrero or Gilles Simon can trouble him enough (although maybe I give them too little credit), and if Hewitt or Roddick make it to the semifinals, I don’t see them taking Murray down either. It won’t be easy, but he doesn’t have to go through anyone in the top four to make it to the final, unlike Federer.

Federer should get there, but if he and Murray were swapped in the draw I think that Federer would be almost guaranteed to make it, while Murray would have significantly more trouble.

There’s an awful lot of potentially fantastic tennis left to play. Just tomorrow, the following matches could prove extremely interesting:


I haven’t been following the women’s side as much, and it still looks like a Williams sister will take it. Jankovic going out early wasn’t a huge surprise, and the same goes for Kuznetsova. I’d love to see Ana Ivanovic give Venus Williams a shock tomorrow, but I just don’t believe it’ll happen.

Despite the difficulty of his draw, I still think Federer will roll on into the final, and then beat whoever he encounters there.

Addendum: here are the tennis blogs I’ve been reading recently:

Leave a Reply