The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC), brought her own version of sunshine to Wimbledon when, in the company of Tim Henman and Sally Bolton, the Chief Executive of the Club, she learnt about the Club’s response to the pandemic, visited the kitchens (where she hulled some strawberries!) and the Museum before watching some of the Centre Court action.
it’s incredible what he’s done to reach the third round like this. Obviously he’s just starting back up, so it’s going to be amazing to see what he can do Denis Shapovalov
But like the majority of the Centre Court crowd, she will have been disappointed at the British results which saw both Andy Murray and Dan Evans exit The Championships following their third-round action.
The first to go was Evans, the British No.1 who lost to Sebastian Korda, a 20-year-old American making his Wimbledon and destined for future glory.
Korda, whose father Petr, back in 1998, won the Australian Open and reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon to peak at No.2 in the rankings, prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 as he sets off to emulate his sister Nelly who, at the weekend, won her first golf major to grab the No.1 spot in ladies golf!
The youngster struck 51 winners remaining calm throughout while showing little emotion when Evans looked to be making comebacks.
“I just stayed calm in the biggest moments as much as I could,” Korda said. “I tried to stay relaxed and keep playing attacking tennis – that’s what I do. I’m really proud of myself for that today.”
“A year ago, I was 220 in the world and I’m here in the fourth round at Wimbledon. It’s incredible. I have my family to thank, my coaches and everybody around me.”
Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov followed the Evans Korda match onto Centre Court with the crowd hoping for a turn in fortunes. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be – even when the roof was closed which, in his previous two matches, proved crucial in securing his victories.
Shapovalov, the 10th seed and world No.12 from Canada, never looked back once he had settled to oust the nation’s favourite son 6-4 6-2 6-2 and following his victory, acknowledged to the crowd his admiration of the man he had just beaten.
“I told him at the net that he’s my hero. What he’s been able to do in the sport to come back with an injury like this to be playing the tennis that he’s playing, moving the way he’s moving… I said after his second match it was truly like ‘vintage Andy’ and so much fun to see as a fan.
“The first set we played today was super, super intense, I had to really, really give it my all. After that, I was able to maintain the level as he dropped a little bit. But still, it’s incredible what he’s done to reach the third round like this. Obviously he’s just starting back up, so it’s going to be amazing to see what he can do.”
Murray, who dislikes being continually asked when he’s going to retire, is looking for positives from this week’s results.
“The amazing support here reminds you why you do all the work,” Murray said later. “But if I’m going to put that much effort in, I want to be performing better than I did here, even though there were some really great moments. I got through a week of a slam without getting injured. So that’s positive. But I can play better and close matches out better. To do that, I need time on the match court and the practice court, and I’ve had neither in the last few months.”
Meanwhile on No.1 Court, Novak Djokovic cruised past American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-4 6-3 7-6(7) after surviving a few irritating setbacks like recovering from 4-2 in the final set and saving a set point in the tiebreaker.
“I had to slow down the pace in the game because he was really handling the flat ball well from the back of the court. He has really good balance,” Djokovic said. “I think his backhand and forehand as well are pretty flat. He moves around pretty well on the grass-court surface. He’s a really good player.”
The Serbian world No.1 and title favourite faces Cristian Garin next after the Chilean, seeded 17, ousted Spain’s Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-4. Djokovic will hope for some better play.
“I can’t say that I’m too pleased with the way I performed. I felt like today I was a bit off, especially with serving,” Djokovic said. “Usually serve worked really well in the first two matches, and generally my serve is a weapon. It wasn’t today.
“Obviously in some parts of the match it was good, but generally it wasn’t that great of a rhythm that I had with that part of my game. But it is what it is. I don’t want to talk about negatives. I just won in straight sets.”
Russians Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev also progressed into the fourth round. Khachanov, the 25th seed, stopped Frances Tiafoe of the US 6-3 6-4 6-4 while the fifth seed Rublev, was extend by the 26th seed from Italy, the flamboyant Fabio Fognini 6-3 5-7 6-4 6-2.
Hungary’s unseeded Marton Fucsovics will face Rublev next, the Hungarian having eliminated the 9th seed Diego Schwartzman from Argentina, 6-3 6-3 6-7(6) 6-4 while Khachanov will attempt to tame Korda on his 21st birthday!
Finally, as far as the men’s singles is concerned on Day 5, Roberto Bautista Agut, the 2019 semi-finalist, battled past Germany’s Dominik Koepfer, 7-5 6-1 7-6(4) to meet Denis Shapovalov.