In the men’s singles, three further matches were played, so there was only one outstanding match (Geoff Isaacs vs Andrei Cristescu) in that draw by the end of Thursday. Unfortunately the weather doesn’t look too good for the weekend and following, so better to get matches played early if possible right now
Bruce Rigal played Gabriele Abatti, watched by Joseph, Bruce’s son, who also supplied the match report (which has been lightly edited).
This was a tighter match than the scores would suggest, and many games went to deuce. But Gabriele was more consistent when it mattered, though Bruce competed well to make it a good match to watch and play.
The spectators were all very surprised when told at the end of the match that Gabriele had won it 6-1 6-0, as it seemed much closer.
Richard Keep, the sixth seed, had a busy day on Thursday. First he played Steve Yoo in the round of 32, winning a tight first set 6-4, but taking the second set more easily for a 6-4 6-2 victory.
Richard then went on to play Philip Reid in the round of 16. The first set of this match was an even tighter affair, reaching 5 all before Richard went on to take it 7-5. But Philip got only 1 game in the second set, Richard winning the match 7-5 6-1.
Jasper Tresider was due to play Marc Reid in the singles, but Marc has injured his elbow, so has had to withdraw. Jasper progresses to the Quarter Final with a walkover over Marc.
In the ladies singles, Julia Abbot played Posy Frederick, the fourth seed. Julia said she struggled with Posy’s topspin, but was able to slice well, according to Posy. Julia had advantage point a few times but wasn’t able to convert it to games. Posy won 6-0 6-0.
Marjan Denis supplied the following match report:-
“Thursday saw the debut of Elena Pavlidou in the ladies singles draw against Marjan Denis. Elena has been hitting with her partner David Hirst, so is used to hitting hard balls back and is very quick around the court with good anticipation. Marjan had to concentrate on hitting balls back close to the lines, as they were often returned with interest and some good angles.
Even the slightly dodgy bounce in the near side service box didn’t daunt Elena, as most serves were returned. It was an entertaining match, but experience told in the end, resulting in a 6-2 6-1 victory for Marjan. The score didn’t reflect the closeness of the match.”
This completes the lineup of the seeds in the semi finals, so Sultan’s seeding worked out perfectly in this event.
In the men’s doubles, Kerry Karageorgis & J P Doumeng took on Paul O’Flynn & Jasper Tresider. Paul and Jasper took the first set 6-3. The second set must have been more competitive, because it reached 5 all before Paul and Jasper broke for a 6-3 7-5 victory.
Also in the men’s doubles, Dan Dalton & Nic Sweeting played Alex Vallmajor & Alan Calleja, the fourth seeds. The match report below is from Nic Sweeting:-
“The glamorous seeded pairing of Alan (Malta) and Alex (Spain) arrived on a high, having played the West Heath Men’s Second Team into promotion on Monday. After imperiously ordering some interlopers to the bullrushes and cholera of Court 3, regular partners Nic (Herts.) and Dan (Berks.), who have racked up over 1000 hours of playing time together since joining the club last year, won the toss and elected to serve.
Straight away Nic was broken as the continentals swarmed the net, insouciantly smashing away any and all attempted lobs. Further diffident play in the face of Alan’s powerful lefty serve and overwhelming net presence and the Spaniard’s elegant volleys and depth-charge groundstrokes led the British pairing to lose the first set 6-0 in under half an hour.
With a growing crowd on Centre Court and nothing to lose, the Brits finally calibrated their racquets in the second set with improved serving and some well-timed lobs and passing shots on to the baselines and tramlines. At one point they were only 3-1 down after breaking back, but found holding serve difficult, Nic missing a couple of straightforward volleys at the net following some venomous serving from Dan. The games grew tighter and the rallies longer but at 5-1 down Nic faced two match points on his serve…which he successfully fended off, his powderpuff second serve luring his opponents into shots landing beyond the baseline. The match was over shortly afterwards, a heavy British defeat in the best tradition of Scott of the Antarctic and other heroic failures. The final score 6-0, 6-2 to the fourth seeds, Alex & Alan. Alan and Alex advance to a mouthwatering encounter with the winners of a more contentious game on Court 3.”
Aaron Watkins was paired up with Alex Taylor in the men’s doubles. But, close to the end of his trip to the USA, Aaron injured his back, lifting a heavy suitcase on to a high luggage rack. Although Aaron had a couple of try-out games before visiting the physio, the latter has laid down the law and Aaron has had to withdraw from all events. Hence Jack Arnold & David Hirst get a walkover into the quarter finals.
Bruce Rigal & Brian Coffey took on the third seeds, Sultan Gangji & Greg Lim, in the men’s doubles. Bruce and Brian did get a game in the second set, but that was it. Sultan & Greg won 6-0 6-1.
Steve Yoo & Maciek Janowski (both decent players) took on brothers Philip & Marc Reid in the decently close match in the men’s doubles. The first set must have been relatively even up to 5 all, but the Reids then took it 7-5, and went on to take the second set 6-3 for a 7-5 6-3 win.
Meanwhile, Joseph Rigal & Olly Turner, the second seeds, played Kris Engley & Andrei Cristescu. Kris and Andrei must have played very well in the first set, but the seeds took it 6-4. The score in the second set was less even, with Joseph & Olly giving out a bagel to win the match 6-4 6-0.
With both round of 16 matches out of the way above, Philip & Marc Reid became the opponents of Joseph Rigal & Olly Turner. As in the previous match of the Reids, the first set reached 5 all. But this time it was Joseph & Olly who broke, to take the first set 7-5. The seeds also won the second set 6-2 for a 7-5 6-2 passage into the semi finals.
In the mixed, Eugene Belin & Lesley South were drawn against Nic Sweeting & Liz Hill in the (preliminary) round of 32. Nic’s match report follows (very lightly edited):-
“Nic and Liz had played together only once previously, at the second American doubles event of the summer, and their near-telepathic understanding was undiminished in the first set here, quickly breaking their opponents’ first service game and holding serve themselves to take the first set 6-4. Liz’s late arrival after a wine-fuelled luncheon in Chelsea can only have helped.
The second set saw Eugene and Lesley respond with some unstoppable tennis, their angled returns and devastating net play ratcheting up the pressure and forcing errors from their opponents, leading to two breaks of serve. Volleys that Nic had calmly dispatched with clinical efficiency in the opening set now landed well beyond the tramlines as Eugene and Lesley established a commanding 5-0 lead. Inspired serving and some well-cushioned volleyed lobs from Liz swung the pendulum the other way as she and Nic won three games in a row before Nic sent a routine shot well out of bounds to concede the set.
But the momentum remained with the shorter-named pair as they raced into a 5-1 lead at the first change of ends in the championship tie-break, which they went on to win after a late scare. A real game of two halves (plus one fifth or so to allow for the match tie break).
Nic & Liz thus won 6-4 3-6 (10-5), and face seeds Logan Mair & Posy Frederick in the round of 16.”
I hope this report includes all the results, photos and match reports from Wednesday and Thursday (except for one report promised to me for later). However, it was quite complicated, so please WhatsApp me if I have missed something. (Peter Davies.)