Well done Anastasia Potapova! She breaks back for 1-1 – Andreeva’s lack of a big serve will be a problem however well she does the intangibles – then holds easily for 2-1 in the second. On No2, meanwhile, we’re at 1-1 in the decider, Vondrousova looking the likelier.
Potapova just can’t get it going, botching a forehand on game point then swiping a backhand long on break point. The pressure of an opponent hitting with Andreeva’s consistency is too much for her currently and the 16-year-old now leads 6-2 1-0.
At 30-all, Vondrousova goes long on the backhand, but running in to the net, Bouzkova is fractionally hard with a slice to the corner so we’re at deuce. A fine volley at the net then gives her set point, and when Bouzkova nets a backhand returns, that’s the set! So the players will have a little sit-down during which they’ll steel themselves for a decider, and this is a really fun match.
Brilliant from Andreeva, who closes out to love in confident and clinical style, advancing to the net for the volley putaway that gives her a 6-2 set. She is so, so competent and composed, landing 74% of her first serves,, winning 86% of first-serve points, and making just 4 unforced errors relative to Potapova’s 16.
Potapova holds for the first time, forcing Andreeva to serve for the set at 5-2, while Bouzkova eventually secures her hold so Vondrousova will shortly serve for the second set at 5-4.
Andreeva consolidates with 3-1, and she’s just so solid. In comms, they note that both her serve and groundstrokes lack the extreme power you’d expect, especially for someone doing so well so young, but she does have a superpower: the ability to compete under pressure and, as I type, she breaks again and will shortly serve at 5-1; Bouzkokva and Vondoursova are at deuce as the former seeks to force the latter to serve for a decider. Vondrousova 2-6 5-3 Bouzkova
Potapova nets a backhand and, eventually, after a 10-minute game, Andreeva breaks again for 2-1; neither player has yet held their serve, but Vondrousova does so in short order and is now back serving again with a 4-3 lead in set one.
Andreeva raises three more break points and Potapova saves them all, then another on advantage as we go round and round – we could be here some time – while Bouzkova saves break point with successive booming backhands only for Vondrousova to then secure her break for a 3-2 lead in set two.
Potapova breaks Andreeva straight back and they’re now 1-1 in the first. But Andreeva now has 0-30….
Controversy! Pray for any watching subeditor who sees the word “Fortnight” with a capitalised “F”.
Potapova prepares to open her match against Andreeva, but there’s a pause as the umpire asks that those opening champagne refrain from so doing once the players are settled at the start of a point. Incredible scenes! Andreeva then works two break points, taking the second when Potapova goes long on the forehand, while Bouzkova breaks back against Vondrousova so now leads 6-2 2-2.
There is, I believe, some other sport taking place today, and of course we’ve got you.
Mario Berrettini isn’t playing until tomorrow – he faces Carlos Alcaraz – but this, from yesterday, really resonates. I can’t begin to grasp the frustration of being an elite-level sportsman unable to compete, and it’s great to see him back and happy.
On Court 2, Bouzkova, the number 32 seed, took the first set against Vondrousova 6-2, but now trails 2-0 in the second; on 3, Potapova and Andreeva are knocking up, Van Asche and Fils having beaten the brothers Tsitsipas 6-2 in the third.
Hello, good morning and welcome to Wimbledon 2023 – day seven!
This is our second year of Middle Sunday and, though the dilution of Manic Monday is a loss keenly felt – no other tournament in the world played the entirety of round four in a oner – it gives us an extra day of lovely tennis, and it’s hard to whine too much about that.
Our day begins on Court 2, where the unseeded but dangerous Markéta Vondrousová faces her fellow Czech Marie Bouzková – after which Griggzy Dimitrov resumes his third-round match against Francis Tiafoe, two sets to the good. Around then, the 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva, conqueror of Barbora Krejcikova, looks to make Anastasia Potapova her latest victim, then No1 Court also swings into action, Jessica Pegula, the number four seed, looking to improve on what’a already a best-ever performance in SW19, against Lesia Tsurenko.
Centre Court, meanwhile, begins with Andrey Rublev, hoping to finally break his Grand Slam quarter-final hoodoo, against Alexander Bublik. Following them, Iga Swiatek, the best player in the world but still learning on grass, battles Belinda Bencic while, on 1, Jannik Sinner will expect to despatch Daniel Galan.
But both main arenas have their likely highlights at the end of the day. On Centre, Hubert Hurkacz is the latest patsy to take on Novak Djokovic … but armed with a brutal serve that once helped him deal with Roger Federer. Of course, it requires much more than that to beat the greatest of all-time – though six holds in a set are worth having, they make little difference against an opponent barely capable of losing a point in a breaker never mind the breaker itself. Nevertheless, it’s a potential foothold in the match, which is a start.
Meantime, on No1, we’ve a battle of the mums with a sad political dimension, as Victoria Azarenka, a Belarusian, meets Elina Svitolina, a Ukrainian. Do not expect to see amity at the net; do expect to see an intense, emotional battle of will and skill that reminds us of the unique power of sport.