Wimbledon Review: Disappointment for Murray and Sharapova but Rejoice for Djokovic and Williams
After two weeks of extremely competitive tennis, the 2015 Wimbledon Championships have come to an end. The tournament played host to a number of thrilling encounters throughout the period and there was drama during each and every contest. Prior to the start of the competition, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were the overwhelming favourites to win the men’s singles title and women’s singles title, respectively. However, there were plenty of strong candidates for both trophies and Britain’s Andy Murray, who lifted the Wimbledon crown back in 2013, was one of the key contenders to push Djokovic for the championship at the iconic grass court venue.
by Kat Shann
For Murray, it wasn’t to be. In fact, the Scot – who married long-term partner Kim Sears earlier this year – didn’t even have the opportunity to take on Djokovic as he was knocked out after a sublime performance from seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer. In the final, however, the Serbian was outstanding as he defeated Federer in four sets to defend his crown. The victory saw Djokovic, who played some phenomenal tennis throughout the duration of the competition, secure multiple Grand Slam victories in the same calendar year for the first time since 2011. Perhaps the shock of the tournament, however, was Rafael Nadal. The two-time Wimbledon champion was knocked out of the competition in the early rounds once again as the Spaniard continued to struggle with his form. It was the fourth year in a row that Nadal had been eliminated prior to the fifth round. That is an incredibly disappointing statistic.
Meanwhile, it was business as usual in the women’s singles championship as Serena Williams completed the ‘Serena Slam’ and earned her fourth major title success in a row, beating Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-4 to lift her sixth Wimbledon singles crown in front of a packed Centre Court. Heather Watson and Victoria Azarenka tried their hardest but, ultimately, Williams was too strong and was fully deserving of the women’s singles title. The American will now fancy her chances of winning the US Open and hold all four major titles in the same calendar year, but also equal Steffi Graf’s all-time record of 22 major titles. At the time of writing, Williams is priced at 13/10 with betfair to lift her fourth major of the year and emulate the great German’s long-standing record.
Men’s singles: Djokovic reigns supreme
The world number one cemented his position at the top of the world rankings with an incredible performance throughout the entirety of the tournament. Djokovic lost just three sets throughout the competition, all of which were on the tiebreak. From start to finish, the Serbian was a class above the rest and is more than deserving of his third Wimbledon title and ninth career Grand Slam success. Presented with a favourable draw, Djokovic made the most of his early rounds and coolly defeated Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber and Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen with arrogant ease. Bernard Tomic, the number 27 seed for the tournament, was up next and the world number one continued to cruise through the tournament as he earned a straightforward 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory. Djokovic was playing some impressive tennis and his rivals were right to be worried.
From there, the tournament got tougher. South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, who reached the Queen’s Club Championship final, took the first two sets and threatened a major shock. Facing elimination from the competition, Djokovic raised his game and dominated the third set 6-1 as the momentum swung in the Serbian’s favour. He went on to claim the victory after winning the final two sets and booked his place in the quarter-finals. Djokovic breezed past the dangerous Marin Cilic to reach the semi-finals for the sixth straight year. Richard Gasquet provided some resistance but struggled to compete against his superior opponent as Djokovic guaranteed his place in the Wimbledon men’s singles final, earning a 7-6 6-4 6-4 victory.
In the final, Djokovic came up against old foe Federer. The two, along with Murray and Nadal, have dominated Wimbledon in the modern era and the last time somebody other than these four won the tournament was back in 2001. The Serbian took the opening set 7-6 after Federer struggled to take advantage of two set points but the Swiss star dug deep to take the second set – also on a tiebreak – after a thrilling final game of the set. Djokovic kicked on from there and outwitted the seven-time Wimbledon champion to take the crown and retain the title. From the very first match of the tournament, tennis fans claimed that the Serbian would win… and they were right.
Men’s singles: Andy Murray comes up against an ‘invincible’ Roger Federer
British number one Murray was expected to reach the latter stages of the tournament and many were tipping the Scot to go on and claim his second Wimbledon singles title. Throughout the competition, Murray played down his chances of success and tried to remain focused on his next match. Prior to the start of the tournament, he had been given a nightmare draw that meant he could potentially face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all before the final. In the opening round, Murray struggled against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin but still managed to win in straight sets. The Scot made a huge statement of intent in the second stage of the competition as he destroyed Robin Haase 6-1 6-1 6-4 to remind the likes of Tsonga, Nadal and Federer that he intended to compete for the crown. With the support of the home crowd, Murray was building a title challenge.
The Scot raced into a two-set lead against Italy’s Andreas Seppi before the 25th seed responded to thrash Murray 6-1 in the third. It looked as though Seppi was going to take Murray all the way to a decider but the British number one found an extra level to earn victory in the fourth set and book his place in the last-16. After Tsonga’s surprise elimination, Murray was paired up against the big hitting Ivo Karlovic. The Scot held his nerve to win the opening set on a tiebreak and then doubled his advantage after an incredible break against the Croatian’s monster serve. Karlovic gave himself a chance as he claimed the third set but once again Murray took his game up a notch to move into the quarter-finals. Murray dispatched Vasek Pospisil with relative ease to set up a semi-final clash with Federer. The Canadian athlete gave an impressive account of himself but the British number one was just too strong as he romped to a 6-4 7-5 6-4 victory to reach the final four.
Unfortunately for Murray, he came up against an in-form Federer and the Swiss star produced one of his best performances in recent history to beat the Scot in straight sets. In a hard-fought opening set, Federer broke Murray’s serve at the crucial moment to take a 1-0 advantage and went about his business again in the second as he looked to open up a two-set cushion. The 33-year-old, who last won the Wimbledon title back in 2012, clinched the second set and – as Murray chased the match – continued to demolish the Scot’s faint hopes of a comeback as he claimed the third and final set to knock Murray out and advance to the final. On another day, things could have been very different but Murray had to admit that Federer was the better player and fully deserved his place in the men’s singles final.
Women’s singles: Serena Williams crushes her opponents on the way to a 21st Grand Slam title
World number one Serena Williams produced a dominating performance to claim her 21st Grand Slam title and her third major of 2015. The American, who has further staked her claim as the greatest female tennis player of all-time, was brilliant throughout the entire two-week competition and played some scintillating tennis to humiliate her opponents. Williams headed into the tournament knowing that a win would secure the ‘Serena Slam’ and mean that she would hold each of the sport’s four major trophies at the same time. In the opening round, Serena demolished Margarita Gasparyan 6-4 6-1 as she asserted her dominance at the top of the women’s game. The American defeated Hungary’s Timea Babos by the exact same scoreline in the next round to send a timely reminder to all of her critics and challengers.
by Kat Shann
In the third round, she found herself involved in her toughest fixture of 2015; a third round tie with a British athlete at a British event. Watson was well supported at the iconic grass court event and plenty were cheering the young Briton on against the world’s best player. Williams took the opening set 6-2 and looked well on her way to a straight sets victory before Watson raised her game and took the second set 6-4. The crowd began to turn against the American, who started to get irate at her drop in performance. Faced with defeat, and Watson serving for the match, Williams produced a moment of brilliance and, as true champions do, got herself out of trouble. The American went on to achieve victory and, after admitting that the British athlete should have won the match, may now look back on that deciding set as the key moment in her Wimbledon story in 2015.
From that moment on, Williams never looked back and it seemed as though the Wimbledon title was destined for the American. She beat sister Venus in straight sets to book a quarter-final clash with Azarenka in what would also prove to be a fairly tough challenge. The Belarusian, who is a former number one player in the world, took the opening set and threatened to spoil Williams’ grand plans but she responded once again to take the second set 6-2 and dominated the final set to reach the final four of the competition.
In the semi-finals, she was drawn against Maria Sharapova. The Russian, who won her maiden Wimbledon title back in 2004, struggled to cope with the American’s physicality as Williams ‘bullied’ her around the court. In the end, Williams was far too strong and claimed a 6-2 6-4 victory to reach the final and go within one match of a 21st Grand Slam title. For Sharapova, however, it was her 17th consecutive defeat against Williams. That is a disappointing statistic that has haunted her for the majority of her career. As long as the American remains at the top of her game, it appears that the Russian will struggle to add a sixth major title to her C.V.
In the final, she came up against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza. Although Williams was yet to lose to Muguruza on grass, the 21-year-old had beaten the world number one in the 2014 French Open at Roland Garros and was not a player to be taken lightly. In a close encounter, Williams got off to the perfect start as she claimed the opening set 6-4 and looked well on the way to completing the coveted ‘Serena Slam’. Midway through the second set, the American broke serve to extend her advantage and held her nerve to claim a staggering 21st major title and move closer to Graf’s record. Williams is, without a doubt, not only one of the best female tennis players of all-time but one of the best female sportswomen of all-time.