Tennis

World Championship Challenge 2012

27 Apr 2012

Day 2: Champion and Challenger share 2 sets each: RF SV 6/4 6/3 3/6 5/6. RF leads 5-3


Matches at The Queen's Club - sponsored by Neptune Investment Management

Thursday 26th

Honours even - RF vs SV: 6/4 6/3 3/6 5/6

Steve came out of the blocks on day two at full speed, racing into a 4-1 lead in the first set. This came close to being extended, but Rob managed to pull back to 4 all with a very long 8th game. Rob was serving tight one bounce railroads, which regularly were on or close to the roof service line and Steve was serving full piques from hard against the main wall at the second gallery line, sending the ball over to the grille corner.  Though the next two games were hard fought, Rob managed to take both to claim the first set 6/4, finishing the set in style with a crisp volley into the winning gallery.

The RF machine carried on to go 2-0 up in the second set and Steve only then managed to get a game having lost 7 in a row. Rob then took a convincing lead in the set at 5-2 but for Steve to claw it back to 5/3, but through regaining the service end with regular last gallery (as he had done from the outset) in the longest game of the match so far, Rob Finally closed out the set 6/3. RF now leads the match by 5 sets to 1.

The third set saw Steve using two different serves. One was the shallow demi pique at pace and the other a spinning forehand boomerang from out wide. This changed the dynamic of the match and he was able to retain the service end for longer as Rob was getting too good at finding gallery chases from the previous tactics. Though they were close for the early part of the set, trading the first few games but SV finally nudged ahead to 3-2 and then 5-3. After a tense final game of the set, it was SV’s time to pump the air, finally taking the set 6/3.

This then made the last set of the day make or break for Steve. He took the first game reasonably comfortably but then Rob came back to go 2-1 up and had points for 3-1, but Steve wasn’t giving up. After a very long 4th game Steve managed to go 2-all and then two very long games during which Steve went 3-2 up only to be pegged back to 3 all. At this point the crowd was becoming very vocal and on several occasions the server had to reset – this was classic second day WC stuff. The pressure was on both players, as they knew they were coming back on Saturday, but 6 sets to 2 is a world away from 5 sets to 3! The 7th game was going to be crucial, but after quite a tussle Steve managed to take it. At this point 25-30 shot rallies were commonplace and both players were sending down second serves that most top players would consider perfect first serves! Despite tight calls and exasperation from both players the game reached a climatic 4-all. At this point Rob, as you would expect stepped up to go 5-4 up and then went 40/15 up – 2 set points! Steve played the next point well to secure a gallery and then lays 4 and 5. Rob faced a perfect boomerang on the first chase and then, after a long rally, nets and inside out forehand from mid court aimed for the service corner. Deuce – and then Steve manages to close the set out 6/5 in an eleventh game, which saw world class tennis from both players to go into the last day 5 sets to 3 down.

This was a truly awesome display of very physical tennis and it has to be said a great job from the marking team under the circumstances!

Saturday 28th play commences at 14:00

For anybody intending to arrive by tube, there is industrial action on the Piccadily Line.

Click here to watch the match LIVE


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