Wimbledon 2019 day four: Murray makes winning return, Nadal edges past Kyrgios in thriller, Kerber crashes out

5 Jul

Andy Murray won his first match at Wimbledon in two years after he and men’s doubles partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert made it safely through to the second round with a late-night win.

The Scot was making his long-awaited return to SW19 after first sustaining a hip injury during the 2017 championships.

Murray and Herbert made it through with a four-set victory
Getty Images - Getty

And Murray didn’t let his fans down as he and Herbert beat Marius Copil and Ugo Humbert 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-0 in an entertaining evening match under the new roof of No.1 Court.

Two-time men’s singles champion Murray, 32, admitted to being a bit nervous before the start of the match.

He said: “It was great to get the win and a nice atmosphere.

“I was a little bit nervous at the start but we got better as match wore on.”

There was a thriller on Centre Court as third seed Rafael Nadal defeated the fiery Nick Kyrgios in four sets.

The Spaniard won 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) against Kyrgios, who reportedly prepared for the crunch clash by spending Wednesday night in a local pub!

Kyrgios caused Nadal all sorts of problems and even foxed Nadal with an underarm serve during the first set, however, the Australian was involved in a number of arguments with the umpire.

The best and worst of Kyrgios was on display
Getty Images - Getty

Defending women’s singles champion Angelique Kerber is out after losing 2-6 6-2 6-1 to American world No.95 Lauren Davis.

The German, who beat Serena Williams in last year’s final was far from her best. Williams, who is Murray’s mixed doubles partner, managed to avoid a defeat in the second round to 18-year-old qualifier Kaja Juvan – winning 2-6 6-2 6-4.

Meanwhile, there was more success for Britain in the singles with Johanna Konta breezing past Katerina Siniakova 6-3 6-4.

Konta had no problems in her match
Getty Images - Getty

Harriet Dart, 22, claimed a 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-1 win over Brazilian Beatriz Haddad and will face top seed and French Open champion Ashleigh Barty in the third round.

Dan Evans continued his fine form on grass with a straight sets triumph over 18th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili – winning 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-2).

It was the end of the road for Jay Clarke, however, as he lost 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 to the great Roger Federer, who’s bidding for his ninth singles title at SW19.

Marin Cilic and John Isner’s 2019 championships came to an end following defeats to Joao Sousa, who will face Evans next, and Mikhail Kukushkin respectively.

And Australian Bernard Tomic was fined his entire £45,000 prize money for his lacklustre 58-minute defeat in the first round.

Tomic goes home empty-handed in more ways than one
Getty Images - Getty

Angelique Kerber sweeps aside Serena Williams in women’s singles final at Wimbledon

14 Jul

Serena Williams will have to wait to equal Margaret Court’s grand slam singles record after she was comprehensively beaten by Angelique Kerber in a delayed Wimbledon women’s final.

Williams struck the first serve of the contest at 4.16pm, more than two hours later than normal, following the conclusion of the men’s semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

But just an hour and five minutes later, Kerber was celebrating a 6-3 6-3 victory and her first Wimbledon title.

Kerber celebrates her third Grand Slam title

With the Duchesses of Sussex and Cambridge in the Royal Box and Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and Anna Wintour among those supporting Williams from her box, the stage seemed set for sport’s most famous mother to write another remarkable chapter.

It was a rematch of the 2016 final, which Williams won, but this time there was no doubt who was the better player and Kerber was able to celebrate her third grand slam title, becoming the first German singles champion at Wimbledon since Steffi Graf in 1996.

Kerber defeated Williams to win the Australian Open in 2016 and then, after losing here, lifted the trophy at the US Open. Last year was a real struggle for Kerber so it was no surprise she was so emotional at the moment of victory.

As Williams said after her semi-final victory against Julia Goerges, there was nothing normal about her being in a 30th grand slam singles final 10 months after giving birth to daughter Olympia and suffering life-threatening complications.

It was a step too far for Williams who only gave birth to her daughter ten months ago

But so superbly did she play against Goerges that it was no surprise to see her made favourite against Kerber, who had been equally impressive in her own run to the title decider.

The 30-year-old gave Williams a very different test to what had come before, with Kerber among the leading counter-punchers in the game. Her ability to retrieve a huge number of balls would put the focus on her opponent’s footwork and physical resilience.

Playing her first slam final since the 2017 Australian Open, which she won while two months pregnant, in only her fourth tournament back, it was perhaps no surprise that Williams started nervously.

She recovered from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, clinching the fifth game with a 125mph ace, the fastest serve of the women’s tournament. But, rather than pull away, she became tentative again, dumping volleys in the net and unable to match the consistency of Kerber.

Urged on by husband Alexis Ohanian and her celebrity supporters, Williams upped her aggression and noise level, nearly taking out her opponent with a thunderous drive volley in the third game of the second set.

But Williams seemed unsure how best to break down Kerber, and the next point saw her inexplicably pat a volley back that should have been the simplest of put-aways and pay the price. All she could do was smile.

There was no doubt in Kerber’s mind, though, and she produced a series of superb points to break the Williams serve for the fourth time in the match and move 4-2 in front.

Williams tried everything to get back into the match but her afternoon was rather summed up by the drive volley she placed over the baseline in the final game after a stunning rally.

Wimbledon: Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber reach women’s final to set up repeat of 2016 match

12 Jul

Serena Williams will face Angelique Kerber in the 2018 Wimbledon women’s singles final after both players won their semi-final matches in straight sets.

It will be a repeat of the 2016 final which saw the American come out on top with a 7-5 6-3 victory.

This was arguably Williams’ best performance since giving birth to her daughter ten months ago

Williams put on a superb display of power and athleticism to reach her what is her 30th grand slam singles final.

The 23-time champion, who will equal Margaret Court’s all-time record if she beats Kerber on Saturday, needed just an hour and 10 minutes to defeat Julia Goerges 6-2 6-4.

This was arguably Williams’ most impressive display since she gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia just over 10 months ago.

Meanwhile, Kerber secured her spot at her second Wimbledon final after nullifying the threat of Jelena Ostapenko.

The German is now one win away from a third grand slam title.

This semi-final was billed as attack versus defence and it was the solid, reliable manner of Kerber that prevailed as she let an erratic Ostapenko, who was going for winners almost every shot, hand her a swathe of free points.

Ostapenko won the French Open in 2017 by playing in this manner and knows no other way, but she had an off day and, despite hitting 30 winners, it was her 35 unforced errors which cost her any chance of progressing.