LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times BST) FIRST SET Serena 7-6 Kvitova
Remarkably, the speed-gun is showing 145 mph for the first Serena serve. I think it might be getting carried away. Serena targeting the Petra forehand with success for the mini-break, but she has an ace over-ruled on Hawk-Eye and is then powerless to a stooping Kvits volley – 4-1. Ace! To the Williams backhand, 4-2. Long from Serena, 4-3. Oh, chance to steal back the mini break, wasted with a forehand pushed into the tramlines. Big serve from Serena forces the reply long – 6-3. Kvits saves one break point as Serena slaps a forehand halfway down the net – and another, despite a second serve, as Serena’s backhand goes wide. Third set point, this time on Serena’s serve… huge first serve, and there’s no getting that bacl… Tim via text on 81111: “Did you notice that its the men’s and women’s world ranked 82 who created the biggest shocks? Lu beating Roddick and Pironkova beating Williams! Random lucky number.” Serena 6-6 Kvitova
Petra like a rock here, battering her way to 40-0, untroubled in the slightest by the vaunted Serena power. Breaker, and this feels wide, wide open. Serena 6-5 Kvitova *
Serena starting to fire, driving the forehands, screaming and fist-pumping, eyeballing Papa Richard in the VIP slots. Pressure back on the plucky outsider. Charles in Nottingham via text on 81111: “I have packed my wooden racket for our holiday. My son will probably disown me but I’ve relented in not taking the wooden clamp!” * Serena 5-5 Kvitova
World 62? Not on that evidence – nerveless volleying off faultless approach shots sliced deep onto the baseline. Who expected this? Honestly? Serena 5-4 Kvitova *
The answer to that last quizzer: the clue was in the previous entry – Martina Navratilova. Well, not so much a clue as the answer itself, but still. Lame double fault from Serena, who throws her arms up with exaggerated despair as the call comes in. Acer down the middle to edge back in front, and Kvits prepares herself for the set-saving onslaught.* Serena 4-4 Kvitova
Here comes the pressure, the red-panted American stepping in to the serve and attacking the backhand side – she’ll have a break point here as a forehand goes wide, and another forehand error now – into the net-post as the ball-boy flinches, and Serena has the break back. Game on. Serena 3-4 Kvitova *
There’s the champion’s response, an angry hold to love as left-hander Kvits stretches in vain. Another quiz question for you: who was the last leftie to win the ladies’ championship here?* Serena 2-4 Kvitova
Remarkable volley from Petra once again, stretching low and to her right like her one-time compatriot Martina Navratilova. Serena just trying to stay alive – she benefits from successive drives from Kvits that come to earth fractionally beyond the baseline. Deuce…. double fault! Break-back point, greeted with dismay by the piqued punters… but Serena crashes the second serve long, and squeals in disappointment. Long again from Serena, considerably below her best so far, and when she finds the net with a backhand, Kvits hangs on. Serena 2-3 Kvitova *
This wasn’t in the script – crashing forehand again, and Kvits will have a break point. Oooh, first serve fault from Reenie, and probably a good job – the return is a thing of wonder. Ole! Fabulous forehand cross-court winner from Serena, but she’s done like a kipper up next – wondrous stop-volley from Kvits for another break point. Serena to the net – into the tape! She’s been broken – even at this Wimbledon, you don’t think…* Serena 2-2 Kvitova
Jana Novotna, of course. Talking of Czech mates, I think that’s 1973 men’s champ Jan Kodes in the VIP box, seated alongside Helena Sukova. Rapid hold from Kvits, and she’s started well here. Talking of Kodes, my old man used to use a wooden racquet that Kodes endorsed. Not sure how good it was, but he used to store it in one of those square wooden clamps. Serena 2-1 Kvitova *
The last Czech woman to reach a Wimbledon semi? You’ve got until the next game to work it out. Super forehand return again from Petra – it seems to mean nothing at 40-15, but when Serena lets a loose backhand flop into the tape, we’re at 40-30 and interested. Nope – long from Kvits. Anti-climax.
* Serena 1-1 Kvitova
Super chasing from Serena, punching a winner down the line for 15-30 and another cross court for 30-40. First serve… net. Second serve… better, and Serena scoops a forehand long for deuce. Mmm, lovely loose-shouldered forehand drives from the Czech, and she’s levelled up. Promising. Super Elsewhere at Wimbledon: from 5-4 up and serving for the first set, Tara Moore unravels a touch, losing eight games in a row, and Laura Robson runs out a 7-5 6-1 winner in their girls’ quarter-final. She’ll face Japan’s 10th seed Sachie Ishizu in the semis as she bids to win the title for a second time.Serena 1-0 Kvitova *
If Pironkova was the outsider in the first semi, what does that make Petra Kvitova? Before this Wimbledon she’d never even won a match on grass, losing in the first round here in 2008 and 2009. She’s coming out blazing, going after a Serena second serve to crash back a winning return for 30-30, and when Serena bunts a backhand long she’ll have a shock break point. Crash – first serve takes that away; bang – first serve gets her on the board.* denotes next server1508: Players emerge onto Centre Court, Serena in the now familiar strawberries and cream-inspired outfit. Kvitova opts for a vest top and skirt combo. “Of course Vera came good, my wife just reminded me my mother-in-law’s name is Vera. 1500: Zvonareva will face Serena Williams, or maybe Petra Kvitova, in Saturday’s final. That match coming up on Centre. Meanwhile, good news and bad news for Britain on Court 12. Britain’s former champ Laura Robson has come from a break down against Britain’s Tara Moore to take the first set.Vera Zvonareva on BBC Two: “I’m very excited. I think I’m not realising at this moment what I’ve done. It was very tough – she’s very young but a very tough opponent. She fought so well and I’m happy I was able to hang in the match and turn it around. It’s one of my dreams to be out there in the Wimbledon final.” Zvonareva 3-6 6-3 6-2 Pironkova It looks like she can – brilliant exchange at the death, volleys pinged back and forth, a lob and winning forehand drive from Zvon. Match point now – deep forehand, Pironkova in deep trouble… nets! Zvonareva through to Saturday’s final…
1452: Intriguing news from Court 12 where 17-year-old Tara Moore, who served for the first set against Robson in their girls’ quarter-final. Robson broke back though when her return was called in, with Moore indicating it was about a foot long. Robbo now leads 6-5.* Zvonareva 3-6 6-3 5-2 Pironkova A Tweet arrives from England off-spinner Graeme Swann: “Sat on bates bulge at wimbledon with two of the best looking men I know on women’s semi final day. The air reeks of desperation.” Pironkova serving to stay in the championships, her hopes hanging by a threat – lovely driving forehand, splendid driving backhand. 40-15. Heavy net-cord to draw groans from the crowd and a head-shake from Pironks, but she stays alive. Two breaks needed – can Zvon stay strong to get through to her first Grand Slam final? Zvonareva 3-6 6-3 5-1 Pironkova * Nerves tightening the guts of both players – woeful Pironks backhand so long Cliff can nearly take it on the full in the Royal Box, but then Zvon does the same – two unforced errors for two break-back points. Much better serving to save one, then the other – help-yourself drop-volley from Pironks, Zvon there to punch away the winner.* Zvonareva 3-6 6-3 4-1 Pironkova You can’t move for hats in the crowd – it’s like a milliner’s fantasy. A prosaic milliner – lots of Panamas, boaters, cloches. Delightful sliced drop-shot from Zvon to drag herself to deuce, and calamitous from Pironks – way, way long, and that’s the double break. The dream is dying. Zvonareva 3-6 6-3 3-1 Pironkova * Cloudy, sticky, muggy. Great day for swing bowling. Zvons belts a forehand wide and long for 30-30, and after she lets a volleyable backhand bounce there’s a big chance for a cross-courter…. boff, into the tape. That was the break-back chance, and with Zvon’s reputation for crumbling, it wouldn’t have taken much to make her wobble…* Zvonareva 3-6 6-3 2-1 Pironkova The wheels starting to come off for the plucky Bulgar. Twice she goes long with her forehand, and that means two points for a double break. Too tentative, but that’s more like it – go for it again, rather than sitting back and waiting to be dismantled – flatter deeper forehands, back to deuce. More aggression again, and she’s wriggled free. For now. Zvonareva 3-6 6-3 2-0 Pironkova * Fine exchange of forehands, and Zvon is always in control – hitting flat, the returns coming loopier and loopier. You’ll get punished for those. Zvon has now won six of the last seven games, and that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.* Zvonareva 3-6 6-3 1-0 Pironkova Zvon sits on her chair at the changeover, head completely covered in a towel. She does it to relax apparently. I do the same thing when I get home from work – get out a canvas chair, stick on the towel and shout, “Barley-water! Banana!” into the empty air. Trouble for Pironks – she’s lost ther crispness on her groundstrokes, and Zvon is in the groove – chance here for an early break, and she takes it as Pironks slaps a forehand long. From @concettasidoti on Twitter: “Only a man would go to Fever Pitch as a Colin Firth ref. That’s Mr Darcy, that is.” Tracy Austin on BBC TV: “Zvonareva cut down on the errors to win that set. I’d have to give her the edge now just for her experience alone.” SECOND SET Zvonareva 3-6 6-3 Pironkova * Sir Cliff likes that – big muscling forehands, dragging Pironks this way and that, two set points… ah, history repeating itself as a lucky net-cord seals the set. Which way will this one go now?* Zvonareva 3-6 5-3 Pironkova This Bulgar’s not for lying down – thumping forehands, crunchy serves, and she’ll make Zvons serve out for the set and parity. Zvonareva 3-6 5-2 Pironkova * Pironks does like to go for her shots – it’s what saw her past Venus in the quarters – but when the radar goes slightly awry, the unforced errors start clocking up. Lovely volleying from Zvon, and she goes down on one knee to flay a sizzling backhand away for the game. In other news: Lionel Messi, Gabriela Sabatini, Hugo Porta… Your boys took one hell of a beating. Britain’s Oli Golding sweeps into the semi-finals of the boys’ singles with a 4-6 6-4 6-4 win over Argentina’s Renzo Olivo. He’ll face Ben Mitchell or Damir Dzumhur in the last four. Easy. * Zvonareva 3-6 4-2 Pironkova Yup, you guessed it – Sir Cliff’s here as well. Wearing a jacket patterned with blue and white chevrons. Only Sir Cliff. This is getting tight now – slicing squash-style forehand from Pironks, and that will get whipped away – oh, right on the line with the next one for 40-30. Splendid 84 mph forehand clouted into the corner from Zvon; netted backhand from Piron, and that offers up the first break point on her serve in the match… taken, with a forehand into the corner and backhand into the wide open spaces. Interesting… Zvonareva 3-6 3-2 Pironkova * Hints of a change in momentum here. Zvon, for so long one of the great wobbly bottlers in women’s tennis, has the nerves under control and foot to the floor. * Zvonareva 3-6 2-2 Pironkova The first sign of trouble on the Pironks serve. Zvons hitting cleanly, turning the vice, and she sets up a brace of deuces – only to toss away the chance with forehands fractionally long. Brief interlude of sunshine. I’ve almost forgotten what precipitation looks like. Zvonareva 3-6 2-1 Pironkova * I see your Firth and I raise it one blazered, impassive Sir Terry Wogan. Truly we are living through great days. Much better from Zvons, hitting the backhand with depth and direction. The match coming to life.* Zvonareva 3-6 1-1 Pironkova Not even a sniff of a breaking opportunity there. The first serve is powerful and consistent, the replies from Zvon anything but. Hold on – is that Colin Firth in the Royal Box? Not quite at fever pitch yet, but maybe he’s waiting for love, actually. Zvonareva 3-6 1-0 Pironkova * Pironkova, should you need reminding, had won just one match at Wimbledon before this year. In the last three years she lost in the first round on every occasion. Hold to love from Zvons, but she looks as baffled as anyone else by what’s going on out there.Tracy Austin on BBC TV: “This an absolutely amazing story. A huge underdog in the semi-finals, on Centre Court, and she plays a spectacular first set.” FIRST SET* Zvonareva 3-6 Pironkova Now then – will there be any nerves from the outsider as she stands on the brink of the first set? Not on that evidence – big first serve, Zvon forced long, same again, three set points. Splendid counter-punching from Zvon, killing a pick-up volley stone dead… oooh, big wobble on a backhand into the net for 40-30. Zvon fancies this now – big backhand, Pironks forced to toss up a looping backhand… Zvons into the net! Zvonareva 3-5 Pironkova * Super battling from Pironks, forcing Zvon back with successive lobs for 15-15. Better from the Russian, her second ace giving her some daylight and some sweet drives on the forehand side keeping her in the set. News of Britain’s young pup Oli Golding: he lost the first set to Argentina’s Renzo Olivo, but took the second 6-4. They’re into a crunch decider on Court 12…* Zvonareva 2-5 Pironkova That Pironks backhand really is a weapon – this time she’s on the run out wide, Zvon at the net, but she somehow double-fists over the highest part of the net for a crowd-pleasing winner. Remarkable to think that Pironkova lost pre-Wimbers to Britain’s Heather Watson, and seemed at 22 years old to be going nowhere – only to be reborn here on the bleached grass as an apparent world-beater. Zvonareva 2-4 Pironkova * You’d expect to see some sign of nerves from Pironks – she’s never before made it past the second round of a Grand Slam – but she’s as footloose and fancy-free as anyone could hope to be. Super flat forehand off Zvon’s looping reply, sent fast and flashing right onto the baseline, and she’ll have a break point – taken, as a net-cord leaves her opponent stranded in no-woman’s land.* Zvonareva 2-3 Pironkova Solid again from the Bulgarian world no.82, although even if she loses here today she should climb into the top 35 on the back of her success here. Three Russians vanquished already here at Wimbledon, and she’s doing a good job of scaring another – hold to 15, the pressure right on Zvoners. Zvonareva 2-2 Pironkova * Pironks with a splendid forehand topspun down the line asZvon is slow to the net, and a backhand blasted down the line takes her to 30-30. Oh, chance for further pressure as Zvon invites her in behind a poor drop-shot, but the flicked forehand goes long. Sorry to be a pain, but could you manually refresh again?* Zvonareva 1-2 Pironkova Chap in the crowd there in a fuchsia satin shirt and curl-brimmed cowboy hat, like a partygoer on a Wild West themed float at a Mardi Gras parade. Crisp first serving from Pironks, her face hidden under a white golf visor, dark black hair bouncing in a long ponytail, and that big backhand comes out again. Promising early signs from the outsider. Zvonareva 1-1 Pironkova * Here’s one for the collectors and future contestants on Question of Sport – as Zvon clouts a backhand into the net, she shakes her head and asks the ball-boy for the ball back – she gives it a squeeze, frowns and lobs it to the umpire, and she’s arguing here that the ball has popped. The umpire agrees, and according to a rule that most of us have never seen invoked before, we’ll replay the point. Long from Pironks, and we’re level pegs. * Zvonareva 0-1 Pironkova Some strange technical things going on with this page, but at least there are no Hairy Bikers appearing. Yet. Pironks to open out, and that’s the start she was after – driving on the lusty backhand, forcing her more experienced rival back and wide.* denotes next server1303: Patrons still edging their way into Centre as the two players stroll out. Muted atmosphere, but it’ll build. It’s not the semi-final we expected, but that’s part of the joy of this Wimbers – new storylines, new characters, fresh and unexpected twists at every turn. 1301: Glimpse of the two players there, waiting to come out – Zvonareva jumping around like a boxer before a prize fight, hair pulled back tight into what I believe some call a Croydon facelift. 1255: Sultry day at Wimbledon. The sort of days when tempers flare, where strange things happen – at least in pot-boiler novels. 1250: Ladies and gentlemen, may I remind you that use of flash photography and mobile phones on Centre Court is frowned upon, but a quick manual refresh would work wonders.
1244: Tom Fordyce is flexing his fingers, still buzzing from news of doughnut-gate (see 1123), so I will hand you over for the rest of the day…1239: Calm down, Britain. As expected, Oli Golding now back on serve against Renzo Olivo… GAH! No, he’s not, he’s dropped it again. Rollercoaster of emotions on Court 12. “I noticed yesterday Golding had on a bright red pair of pants with white stars shining through his whites. Lucky pair?”
No idea. Anyone else familiar with the underwear-wearing habits of Britain’s top junior?1228: Oh. And now I appear to have jinxed Oli Golding as well. Sorry everyone. Renzo Olivo is a break up at 3-2. Plenty of games to be played there though. Hold on tight.1212: Court 12 is packed to the rafters to see Oli Golding in action. He’s made a solid start, leading 2-1 on serve. I don’t know what’s happened to Sloane Stephens (apart from the fact that I tipped her for glory). The American took the first set 6-4 against Kristyna Pliskova but lost the second 6-1 and is 2-0 down in the third.1205: Wimbledon Wonders of the World… I think I may have hit upon something here. Castle’s Hair, Becker’s Wardrobe, Anyway, time to give your Union Jack a flap. Oliver Golding is about to get going on Court 12. The 16-year-old Londoner meets dastardly Argentine Renzo Olivo in the boys’ quarter-finals, but after beating the top seed in the last round, I have every faith in Our Oli.1158: While I’m at it, I’ll put forward Boris Becker’s wardrobe as a wonder of the world. Another magnificent ensemble from BB on yesterday. A cable-knit cream cardigan, with a navy and yellow trim. Even had the bottom button undone, like my Grandad used to do.1147: Wanna see Andrew Castle’s hair should be one of the wonders of the world… In fact, I’m sure they opened the voting for the new wonders of the world recently. I’m going to nominate Castle’s hair. Who’s with me?1134: The first semi-final features Vera Zvonareva, who beat Kim Clijsters, and Tsvetana Pironkova, who saw off five-time champion Venus Williams. Pironkova’s win came only a couple of weeks So if Heather Watson’s better than Pironkova, who’s better than Venus, is British tennis not in such bad shape after all?1129: Still, nice to see Kvitova going into the match with a positive attitude. Asked if she believed she could beat Serena, she replied: “I don’t think so. Serena is a very good player and she won here I don’t know how many times. I lost against her in the Australian Open, it was very quick. But I’m not favourite, so I can play just my game and enjoy, so we will see.”1123: Doughnut justice was done when my boss for the day walked in with jam all down his trousers. Anyway, shall we start looking at the day ahead? Serena Williams says there are three other players who have good a chance as she does of winning Wimbledon. She shows excellent humility there, but she’s clearly talking nonsense. She’s going for her fourth title here and her 13th Grand Slam overall. The other three have one losing semi-final between them. Serena’s opponent today Petra Kvitova had not won a match at Wimbledon before this year. From James at Wimbledon, via text: “My day has just been made. A Constable Wombell is patrolling around Wimbledon!” 1109: Word reaches me that there were free doughnuts on the walk from Southfields to Wimbledon. I am crushed. What about the people who start work at 9am eh? WHAT ABOUT US???1100: It’s 11am, which means it’s time to play tennis. My tip for future world dominance, Sloane Stephens, is on Court Eight against ninth seed Kristyna Pliskova. On Court 14, it’s another girls’ singles quarter-final between Yulia Putintseva and Ons Jabeur. Got to be backing the Tunisian (Jabeur) in that one, haven’t you? From Jane in Dorset, via text: “Would love Murray to win but fear he’s in the wrong semi! If only he could have faced one of the others first and Rafa in the final what a Wimbledon that might have been – but I hope I’m wrong…”1056: What about “Federer’s total dominance and consistency in the Grand Slams had to end at some stage and even he has said that himself. Has he won his last Slam? I certainly don’t think so. He’s still only 28 and I can see him lifting more of these trophies in the future.”From JV, with a remarkably large glass (half full, obviously), via text: “Had the privilege of being on No 1 Court yesterday… I thought Nadal looked beatable. When Soderling was finding his range, he had Rafa in all sorts of bother. Add to that there were indications Rafa is not fully fit (tell-tale back-stretching between points). Come on Muzza!!!” “Winner of the Murray v Nadal match to win the tournament… probably. I reckon Nadal has the edge.”From Catherine in Leeds Via text: “Fed’s aura has definitely gone! The glimmer started to fade when he lost in Madrid and it was a slippery slope from there! LONG LIVE RAFA (and Murray of course!)” “I’m fearful Murray will beat Nadal but then lose in the final, it would be a nightmare!! Fed will win the US in my opinion!”1027: Just asked the good people of the following: Will Murray win Wimbledon? Will Fed win another Slam? Will Fed ever be No1 again? Feel free to join in on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). 1019: Federer’s defeat, coupled with Murray’s win, means tennis has finally pushed football off the back pages (albeit because the World Cup is currently resting for two days). Federer will now drop to number three in the world rankings, the lowest he’s been since 2003. He hasn’t failed to reach the final in a grasscourt event since 2002. “Quarters is a decent result,” said Federer yesterday. “People would die to play in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam.” You’re not most people though, eh Fed? Will Fed ever get back to world number one? Will he ever win another Grand Slam? I’ll say: No, and maybe. Another Wimbledon might not be beyond him, but the aura has gone.From Thomas from Durham, via text: “This Fed losing malarkey is all a big joke right? Murray will get to the final just to have Fed jump out from behind the chair shouting ‘SURPRISE’.”1000: Andy Murray’s latest EXCLUSIVE! column for the BBC Sport website In it, he looks back on the last time he played Nadal at Wimbledon – “I’d been playing well in the tournament and managed to come back from a couple of sets down against Gasquet in the previous round, but I didn’t have the energy to compete with Rafa how I would have liked and lost heavily. A lot has changed since then. I’ve spent a lot of time getting physically stronger, a lot more time in the gym, and since then I’ve had good results against him.”0947: So the big question is: is it Murray’s year? But one man who wasn’t really in the mood for answering that was Roger Federer. The six-times champ shocked a few observers with his yesterday after losing to Tomas Berdych. He blamed leg and back injuries for his limp four-set defeat, and then, when asked about Murray’s chances of victory, he slathered on the sarcasm… “Yeah, I mean, true, Rafa played terribly lately. He’s got an easy ride to this victory, that’s for sure. Djokovic can’t play tennis anymore it seems like.”0940: Murray, impressively, didn’t shy away from a question about Britain’s epic wait for a men’s singles champion at Wimbledon. “It’s obviously been a huge, huge wait for us, and it’s still going on now. It’s something that’s kind of joked about amongst players and people within tennis about how long it’s been since someone British has won at Wimbledon. It’s something that you just learn to deal with. It doesn’t affect the way that I play. It’s not something that you’re thinking about when you’re on the court at all.”0931: To be fair to the nation’s scribes, there is plenty of realism around. Nadal hasn’t lost at Wimbledon since a winning all 12 matches since. And as the “British men are on a nine-match losing streak in Wimbledon semi-finals. Mike Sangster lost one, Roger Taylor lost three, Tim Henman lost four, and Murray lost one last summer, when he was stopped by a superb performance by Andy Roddick. Before he can emulate Fred, he must first emulate Bunny [Austin, the 1938 finalist].”0920: The women’s semi-finals begin with Zvonareva v Pironkova at 1300 BST, to be followed by Serena v Kvitova. Hard to pick a winner this year isn’t it? Is it? Before that, let your eyes wander to Court 12 where Britain’s Oliver Golding meets ninth seed Renzo Olivo of Argentina in the boys’ quarter-finals. Then it’s an ALL-BRITISH girls’ quarter-final between Laura Robson and Tara Moore. Actions starts at 1200 BST there. Before even that, stick around here for more fall-out from the men’s quarter-finals – and if all else fails, there’s always brand new 0911: It may be but Perry, 1936, 74 years of hurt, and all that, is all over the newspapers this morning after And with what can possibly go wrong? And who is this Nadal fella anyway?0900: Good morning. Eleven days in, and I think it’s time to give in to the inevitable and say it loud and proud: FRED PERRY.