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A Kvitova classic and Li's early exit: Best of Day 5

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga leaps into the air in celebration
by Nicholas McCarvel
Friday 27 June 2014

Even on a day where Andy Murray played on Centre Court at Wimbledon, Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova stole the show. The two ball bashers put on a classic for nearly two and a half hours, the 2011 champion prevailing in three dramatic sets. Below, a rundown of that match and more highlights from an action-packed Day Five of The Championships.

Match of the Day: [6] Petra Kvitova d [30] Venus Williams 5-7, 7-6(2), 7-5
In four career encounters, these two had gone three sets each time, and this time around was no different. Williams won the first set thanks to the conversion of just one break point at 5-6, clinching the set on a backhand wide from her Czech opponent.

But the five-time champion would not break again in this match, which was a wonderful display of ferocious serving and high-octane baseline exchanges. Kvitova, winner here in 2011, inched ahead in the second-set tie-break, taking a 4-2 lead before rolling off the last three points.

It appeared as though Williams, now 34, would wilt in the third, but she did not, only succumbing in the two hour, 26-minute affair when Kvitova jammed her on the backhand wing, the ball clipping the tape of the net and falling on Venus’ side of the court, ending what is sure to be rain-delay replay material for years to come.

Honorary Match of the Day: [11] Grigor Dimitrov d [21] Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7(3), 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1
It’s a situation that Dimitrov will have to get more and more used to should he continue his climb up the men’s rankings: The headline name and favourite on a show court at Wimbledon.

For three-and-a-half sets it looked as though the Bulgarian wasn’t up to the challenge, Dolgopolov doing better to cover the court and create winnable moments from different angles. But after being treated for a bit of lower-back pain, Dimitrov seemed refreshed, springing to life and earning a fourth-round berth.

His three wins in 2014 equal his win total in four prior appearances at the All England Club.

Upset of the Day: Barbora Zahlavova Strycova d [2] Li Na 7-6(5), 7-6(5)
To pick your best-ever win for a show court at Wimbledon? Why not. That’s what 28-year-old Zahlavova Strycova did on Friday against Li Na, the No.2 seed and two-time champion.

It was a scratchy effort from the Chinese woman, who also fell early at Roland Garros. Zahlavova Strycova had never beaten a top 10 player, and after the loss Li said she regretted skipping Eastbourne. “I think I [made the] wrong decision. I need to play some matches before [Wimbledon].”

Photo of the Day: Above, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga completed his first one-day match of the tournament. That’s right: the Frenchman had needed two days to win both his first two matches, but just three sets (over a few hours) to beat Jimmy Wang. He’ll play top seed Novak Djokovic in the fourth round.

Tweet of the Day: After his visit to the Royal Box earlier this week (not to mention a selfie with Rafael Nadal), it’s clear that actor Hugh Jackman can’t get Wimbledon off his mind, even after leaving the All England Club.

Jackman’s support was for Lleyton Hewitt, who fell in a five-set battle with Jerzy Janowicz on No.2 Court.

Stat of the Day: Ranked No.175 coming into Wimbledon, 19-year-old Tereza Smitkova of the Czech Republic had won just one match on the main tour coming into Wimbledon. But on Friday the teen registered her third win at Wimbledon this week (and sixth over two weeks, if you count qualifying), advancing her to the round of 16.

The second-week run for Smitkova also means a guaranteed £117,000 payout (equivalent to just shy of $200,000 USD), nearly triple her entire career earnings of $75,562.

‘Did you just see that?’ of the Day: Blink and you would have missed the Andy Murray match, which lasted just 95 minutes as Murray breezed past Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, a surprisingly easy effort for the defending champion over the No.27 seed.

Quote of the Day: Jamie Murray was playing doubles at the same time that Andy was on for singles. And where was their mum Judy? Watching Jamie.

“It’s a shame that we were on the same time. None of my family came to watch me so obviously I’m the No.2 son,” Andy joked to the BBC after his win. “My brother is the priority – he’s No.1 son. He’s always had the preference which is why I’m so competitive since I’ve been a kid.”

Judy did, however, make it to the final game of Andy’s win on Centre Court. Just in time.

Video of the Day: The true warriors of the grass each fortnight? That’d be the ball kids, captured beautifully in this short vignette.

 


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