It’s been a tournament of upsets and that trend extended to the mixed doubles on Friday when Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic triumphed over No.3 seeds Nenad Zimonjic and Katarina Srebotnik 6-2, 7-6(4), 11-9 in two hours and 20 minutes to advance to the finals on one of the hottest days of The Championships.
With the mercury touching 25 degrees, the No.8 seeds appeared on course to wrap the match up quickly – Mladenovic in particular looked in scintillating form, producing dazzling winners off the ground and employing a razor sharp game which the Serbian/Slovenian combination had no answer to in the first set at least.
But this was the semi-final and was never going to be straightforward. Despite being within sniffing distance of a place in the final, Nestor and Mladenovic let three match points slip in the 10th game of second set and subsequently lost the tie-break. They were forced to play a further 20 more games in the final set before they could even contemplate any form of celebration – a moment they eventually reached when Zimonjic floated a backhand wide on their sixth match point.
Over on Court No.1, seasoned doubles specialist and defending champion Lisa Raymond was having a far easier time. The top seeded American, who collected the trophy here last year with compatriot Mike Bryan, appeared to be savouring every moment as she skipped around the lawns enjoying a joke with Brazilian partner Bruno Soares as they set about their duel with unseeded duo Jean-Julien Rojer and Vera Dushevina.
Raymond, who has won five mixed slams, including the Wimbledon title she lifted with Leander Paes in 1999, certainly proved on a mission to cling onto the crown and used her many years’ experience to great gain. In particular, her magnificent volleying outwitted her opponents time and time again as she ceaselessly took advantage of open gaps on the other side of the court to winning effect.
The lady from Pennsylvania gelled seamlessly with Soares – the US Open mixed doubles title holder and the man who helped set a record for the longest-ever three set men’s doubles match, in number of games (63), in Olympic Tennis history last year – to help seal a 6-4, 6-4 victory in an hour and 19 minutes.
Raymond, who also holds six ladies’ doubles Grand Slam crowns, may turn 40 in August but her passion for the game shows no sign of being extinguished just yet.
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
20:19It was the wackiest of Wimbledons with the most unlikely of headline-makers: Sergiy Stakhovsky, Steve Darcis, Michelle Larcher de Brito, Kimiko-Date Krumm, Jerzy Janowicz, Sabine Lisicki, Marion Bartoli...View all