COURT REPORT: Rooftops save the day for grateful All England Club, it’s Roger Federer’s checkmate – and unseeded Marketa Vondrousova follows in Billie Jean King’s footsteps
Wimbledon were grateful for the roofs of center and No 1 court on Friday as they were able to secure the men’s singles semi-finals and women’s doubles semi-finals ahead of Sunday’s finals on center court.
Novak Djokovic defeated Jannik Sinner in straight sets to contest his 35th Grand Slam final, despite being called by the referee in the second set. He will face Carlos Alcaraz after the Spaniard’s 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Daniil Medvedev in the other semi-final.
The tournament attracts its fair share of famous names from around the world of tennis – as well as superstar talent from other trades who are eager to join SW19 and savor the best lawn tennis on the circuit.
Saturday’s action will focus on the women’s semi-final between No. 6 seed Ons Jabeur – who is chasing the title she narrowly lost to last year – and unseeded Czech player Marketa Vondrusova.
Here is Courier Sport’s Wimbledon Audience Report by Matthew Lambert.
Carlos Alcaraz sealed his place in the Wimbledon final with a straight-sets win over Medvedev
Pop icon Shakira was on center court to cheer on Alcaraz during the semi-final
Rain? No need to climb on the roof!
It was one of those days when the All England Club thanked their lucky stars for the roofs of the center and the No 1 court.
There was not a single ball hit on the outside courts on Friday, and in a bygone era that would likely have led to the men’s final being pushed back to Monday.
Marketa thwarts predictions
Marketa Vondrousova’s run to Saturday’s final really came out of nowhere. Before this fortnight, his main draw record on grass was four wins and 11 losses, and his Wimbledon history read as follows: first round, first round, first round, second round.
She is the first unseeded woman to reach the final here since 19-year-old Billie Jean King in 1963.
Checkmate for the Fed
While his old foe Novak Djokovic beat a 21-year-old on center court, Roger Federer lost to a 14-year-old in chess.
The showdown in New York’s Central Park with the young chess masters was organized by Federer’s sponsor, Uniqlo.
One of the reasons the Swiss signed his $300m deal with the Japanese sportswear giant in 2018 was that the contract would not end upon his retirement. Indeed, it’s hard to see Federer’s brand value diminishing anytime soon.
Uniqlo organized a chess game between Roger Federer and a teenager in New York’s Central Park
Aryna’s Rocket Power
The average shot speed of beaten semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka during this fortnight was 74 mph. The average shooting speed across the men’s roster is… 71 mph.
Considering the biological advantages of men, it’s a stark illustration of the relentless power that the Belarusian generates.
Liam crushes the grunt
Liam Broady is never shy about giving his opinion on Twitter and he weighed in on the obstruction decision that was made against Djokovic in the second set of his semi-final.
“That was a horrific hurdle call,” he posted. “I’m not saying it wasn’t a hurdle, but I’ve never seen a grunt called for a hurdle and every player has done it at least once per tournament.”
Liam Broady agrees Novak Djokovic’s obstruction call was a bad decision by the referee
John McEnroe was forced into Court 6 when he tried to film a recent hit with Bjorn Borg
Legal drama of legends
Tongues were wagging when John McEnroe told ESPN that he and Bjorn Borg recently asked Wimbledon if they could play on center court for McEnroe’s Places series.
The center had just been re-seeded, so they were offered court 6 instead.
Tokens don’t lie…
Colombian superstar Shakira was spotted in the center court crowd watching fellow Latin sensation Carlos Alcaraz strut his stuff.
You could say the 20-year-old is a threat anytime, anywhere and his chips don’t lie. I will see myself outside…