Recapping Day 5 of Wimbledon while looking ahead to Day 6 marquee matches
Day 5 Recap
-Serena Williams played her toughest match of the tournament thus far, coming back twice from third set deficits to overcome a game Heather Watson, playing with a shockingly rowdy Centre Court crowd behind her. It seems that, at least in part, Serena plays in so many three setters at majors because she tries to win without tapping into her full game. At the French Open, despite her illness, one never really got the sense that Sloane Stephens, Vika Azarenka or the other players who took her the distance were actually going to pull off the win.
Against Watson though, it was bleak. In a game that may turn out to be historically significant, the momentum swung back and forth between Williams and Watson as the Brit served up two breaks at 3-0, with the winner likely going on to win the match. That proved to be true as it was Serena who broke serve, however Watson breaking at love at 4-4 was entirely unexpected. Williams broke back to stay alive and claimed the final three games of the match. She’ll now face her sister Venus in a highly anticipated Manic Monday affair.
-Serena’s fellow No. 1 seed, Novak Djokovic, won in a much more straightforward manner, cruising past a sleepwalking Bernie Tomic. Djokovic plays big server Kevin Anderson in the round of 16.
-Stan Wawrinka (over veteran Fernando Verdasco) and Richard Gasquet (defeating 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov, who has regressed so far that the result was predictable) also advanced with smooth third wins.
-Controversial Aussie Nick Kyrgios avenged his quarterfinal loss to Milos Raonic, defeating Dimitrov’s fellow 2014 semifinalist in four sets as the Canadian faded late due to injury.
-In a battle of servebots, Marin Cilic and John Isner are knotted at 10-all in the fifth with play suspended due to darkness. Cilic should win this match considering Isner’s game is not suited to grass, but, after leading 3-0, Cilic was broken for the first time all match in the fifth, so who knows.
-Azarenka and Maria Sharapova battled their way to straight set wins.
-Stephens was looking good up a set on French Open finalist Lucie Safarova, but the lefty Czech quickly bounced back and easily won a deciding third set.
-Finally, teenager Belinda Bencic scored an impressive victory, rallying from an early deficit over Bethanie Mattek-Sands to prevail 7-5, 7-5. Her next match against Azarenka will be one to watch.
Day 6 Matches
Timea Bacsinszky (15) vs Sabine Lisicki (18)
The third round feels too early for this matchup, though it’s a function of their respective rankings. Bacsinsky wasn’t expected to do much at Wimbledon, but her sensational comeback season keeps going. A loss here would be nothing to be ashamed of considering Lisicki’s grass dominance. With Simona Halep out of the way, the winner of this match should follow with another victory into the quarterfinals. If it’s Lisicki, she might be the only player in the field who can break up a Serena Williams-Petra Kvitova final.
Prediction: Lisicki in three sets
Andy Murray (3) vs Andreas Seppi (25)
At age 31, Seppi has had a bounceback season marked by a win over Roger Federer in Australia. Unfortunately for him, he’s never taken a set off Murray in six meetings. Murray looked much better in his second round win over Robin Haase than he did in his opener.
Prediction: Murray in straights
Caroline Wozniacki (5) vs Camila Giorgi (31)
This will be an uncomfortable match for Wozniacki, who’s never had much success at Wimbledon and has been up and down thus far. Giorgi can take out any opponent, including herself, with her high-powered groundstrokes. Her serve suffers due to her size, though that doesn’t keep her from taking big cuts on it, thus resulting in a litany of double faults that hand free points over to her opponents. When she’s off, it can be painful to watch, but when her game is working, it’s one of the more impressive sights in tennis. Although Woznaicki is a defensive player, the surface does not suit her as it does Angelique Kerber or Aga Radwanska. This match is on Giorgi’s racket.
Prediction: Giorgi in straight sets