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.
20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...
20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."View all