Wimbledon 2021: Sabalenka and Swiatek in early action on day seven – live!
July 5, 2021sports
I’m going to start off watching Swiatek v Jabeur, Rybakina v Sabalenka and Khachanov v Korda, because I think Berrettini will have too much for Ivashka.
Shapovalov’s feeling good and says he knows he can compete with the best guys and so do they. He thinks he’s a way away form winning a major, but I’d be shocked if he didn’t beat Bautista Agut and after that it’d be Korda or Khachanov, neither of whom are as good as he is.
Tim Henman sticks his neck out and predicts a men’s final between the top two seeds. In fairness, it’s hard to see anyone getting close to Djokovic, but I’d not be shocked to see either Zverev or Berrettini beat Medvedev, who’s playing well and moving beautifully, but might struggle to break two of the best serves in the game.
On BBC, Martina is talking about how quickly Coco Gauff gets to the ball, which reminds me of something Graeme Souness always says. It’s very yer da, but he reckons the team which gets to the ball first will almost always win, and I guess it can be similar in tennis. If you anticipate where it’s going and arrive in good time, you can get set to hit the best possible shot.
Back to the final Manic Monday situation, I wonder if the way tickets have been sold this term – online – will continue. Making people queue overnight has its merits – it’s not like it was in 1995, the first time I did it, when it was literally sleeping bag on pavement, it’s park, tent, delivery pizza and cans all day – but you need to have two days clear to do it, which necessarily excludes some people. The problem, I guess, is software that blocks the site until those buying ti sell have rinsed all they need. It’s tricky.
Rybakina v Sabalenka is also an extremely compelling prospect. It’s about time Sabalenka did something at a major but she’s had to work really hard to get to here and isn’t quite playing freely. The pair of them will knock the cover off it, so expect plenty of winners and unforced errors, with Saba’s serve ultimately decisive. Or not.
Khachanov v Korda should also be a lot of fun. A few years ago, it looked like Khachanov had a chance of breaking into the top echelon, but he’s been quiet since then and ultimately his hands haven’t quite been good enough. But on his game, he’s good – and so is Korda, who might just go on to be better than good. I don’t think this match is too early for him, and also think there’s a good chance he wins it because he seems to have a very fair handle on his capabilities.
Looking at the 11am starts, I can’t wait for Swiatek v Jabeur. Swiatek is going to win all sorts and for years, but Jabeur is unlike any other player on the tour, a beguiling mix of power, spin and touch. She’s never quite put it all together and, at 26, it was beginning to look like she never quite would. But she’s been extremely impressive over the last few matches and if she maintains that level she could go all the way.
I’m absolutely buzzing for Raducanu’s match today. Tomljanovic, her opponent, is a good player, but she’s a long way from unbeatable and even if she wasn’t, this is women’s tennis in 2021, the least predictable sport in the world. By far.
Order of play (singles)
Centre Court (from 1.30pm BST)
(1) Novak Djokovic v Christian Garin (17)
(20) Coco Gauff v Angelique Kerber (25)
(6) Roger Federer v Lorenzo Sonego (23)
No 1 Court (from 1pm)
(1) Ashleigh Barty v Barbora Krejcikova (14)
(16) Felix Auger-Aliassime v Alexander Zverev (4)
Emma Raducanu v Ajla Tomljanovic
No 2 Court (from 11am)
(7) Iga Swiatek v Ons Jabeur (21)
Marton Fucsovics v Andrey Rublev (5)
(14) Hubert Hurkacz v Daniil Medvedev (2)
No 3 Court (from 11am)
(18) Elena Rybakina v Aryna Sabalenka (2)
(10) Denis Shapovalov v Roberto Bautista Agut (8)
Court 12 (from 11am)
(7) Matteo Berrettini v Ilya Ivashka
(8) Karolina Pliskova v Liudmila Samsonova
(30) Paula Badosa v Karolina Muchova (18)
Court 18 (from 11am)
(25) Karen Khachanov v Sebastian Korda
(23) Madison Keys v Viktorija Golubic
It’s just another manic Monday … except it isn’t. First of all, it’s a manic Monday on which no one sensible wishes it was Sunday; second of all, it’s not just a manic Monday but Manic Monday; and third of all, it’s Manic Monday the last of its name. From next term, it will no longer be the case that all 32 players still in the singles competitions have a match at this juncture; rather, the lunacy will be broken into two portions, thanks to the introduction of a middle Funday which, on the one hand, that means the end of tennis’ greatest single session but, on the other, will hopefully entice a new and more diverse crowd to embrace the wonders of SW19.
But make no mistake, we’re going out in style. Obviously Novak Djokoic and Roger Federer are on Centre, meeting Cristian Garin and Lorenzo Sonego respectively, but the most attractive and compelling matches are not theirs. Splitting those two in the schedule is Coco Gaff v Angelique Kerber – Kerber’s match against Sara Sorribes Tormo was the first week’s best – while on No1 can be found three absolute belters: Ash Bary v Barbora Krejcikova, Felix Auger-Aliassime v Alexander Zverev and Emma Raducanu v Alja Tomljanovic.
Nor is that all, or even close to it. Iga Swiatek v Ons Jabeur, first on No2, might well be the pick of the day; Andrej Rublev, into the second week for the first time, takes on Marton Fucsovics; while elsewhere we’ve got Denis Shapovalov v Roberto Bautista Agut, Paulo Badosa v Karolina Muchova – and more! Welcome to Wimbledon day seven!
Play: 11am BST outside courts, 1pm No1 Court, 1.30pm Centre Court