Jerzy Janowicz finally made it on court against Tommy Robredo after a drizzly day of tennis-court-cover roulette. The Polish No.15 seed fought back from a two set deficit, but ultimately could not close out the Spaniard, who advances into the second week after a powerful finish 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(5), 4-6, 6-3.
A semi-finalist last year, Janowicz may rue the energy spent on court the day before against former champion Lleyton Hewitt. Two sets to love up himself and with match points in the third set tie-break, his double faults struck and he found tennis’ biggest five set fan pushing him for more sets. The Australian completed an identical fight-back to Janowicz’s against Robredo this Saturday, before losing in five.
Here too, his double fault count of 16 to Robredo’s three was wasteful. But his form improved into the match, and this was reflected in his service. By sets four and five he had a first serve percentage of 71 and shipped only one free point on double fault per set.
In fact it was not a case of Janowicz losing, so much as Tommy Robredo seizing his chances wisely. Much hinged on the third set tie-break. With the No.23 seed two sets up, Janowicz mustered fine composure to stay with him point for point. Both men found form on their service.
A single mini-break was the tiny advantage that Janowicz needed to work his way back into the match. He closed the tie-break out 7-5, and the Court 6 crowd – packed five deep and baying for tennis in their soggy bin-liners – responded gratefully.
The serve-off that commenced in the fourth set saw balls flying across the All England Club. Indeed, Janowicz stamped his authority on the final game of the set with a serve that Robredo skied out towards centre court.
The rally of the match came at 30-all: Robredo’s fight suggesting he was not keen to participate in a fifth. Janowicz broke things up with a characteristic drop shot, Robredo roared as he made it, but Janowicz – as if conducting a drill – lobbed, the smaller man scampered to pick it up but couldn’t do much and the power on the Pole’s ball was too good.
Delighted to see a fifth, the standing crowd crushed more tightly. The competition paid off their commitment in the increasingly cold All England Club. The first light-based line call queries started in game two on the Janowicz serve, with the 6ft 8ins titan claiming his baseline corker had ‘ripped the line off!’ Sadly Magdi Somat the Chair Umpire did not agree and Robredo seized his break point chances.
Despite finding himself a break down, the world No.25 remained composed and produced some solid rallying. It was the Spanish man who showed frustration at unforced errors when 4-2 up. He squandered two match points, but the final rally was a just point to end on, so ferocious was it.
Robredo’s delight at overcoming both light and Pole showed in his celebration. Pointing to the sky and pumping his fist he again smacked a ball at Centre Court – though this time by design. And well he might.
Through to the second week for the first time, Robredo will face Wimbledon legend Roger Federer. That’s quite a prize.
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