Wimbledon: Norrie and Alcaraz in action, Watson out, Djokovic to come – live!

Norrie’s swinging, topspinning forehand is just a bit much for Tommy Paul, and he clinches set two at the second time of serving to lead 6-4 7-5. Meanwhile, Sinner holds to lead Alcaraz 6-1 5-3.

Oh Tommy Paul! Set-point down, he hooks a forehand wide, and it’s now Norrie to serve for the second set at 6-4 6-5.

Tommy Paul eyes the ball as he returns it to Cameron Norrie.
Tommy Paul eyes the ball as he returns it to Cameron Norrie. Photograph: Sébastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images

Sinner opens body and shoulders to cream an inside-out forehand cross-court for 0-30; Alcaraz fights back for 30-all, then unleashes the wide serve followed by the clean-up forehand into the opposite corner. He quickly closes for 3-4 while, on Court 2, it’s now 3-3 in the decider.

Well done Tommy Paul! Norrie curls a forehand into the net, and that’s the break-back for 5-5 in set two!

On Court 2, Goffin leads Tiafoe 3-2 in their decider – this struggle, by the way, is for a last-eight match against Norrie or Paul. On which point, and as Sinner holds to love for 6-1 4-2, Norrie begins serving for set two at 5-4.

Alcaraz is playing better now, a particularly toothsome forehand to the corner helping him hold for 2-3. But that 2-0 game apart, Sinner is holding pretty comfortably.

Back on Court 1, it’s still Norrie in charge, leading 6-4 4-2. He’s never done better than round three of a major, so making the last eight would be huge for him, and a message to the rest that he’s not a decent player on a run, this is now his standard.

Cameron Norrie is comfortable on Court 1.
Cameron Norrie is comfortable on Court 1. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Oof madone, Alcaraz serves out wide and Sinner steps, stretches, and punishes a forehand return cross-court for a glorious winner. So Alcaraz destroys one of his own down the line, backs it up with an ace, and he’s on the board in set two.

Sinner hangs on for 2-0, and that hold will give him just as much pleasure as his superb play in that first set – if he’s to win this, he’ll need to fight his arse off, because he and we can be sure Alcaraz will make him. He leads 6-1 2-0.

Meantime, after fighting back to 4-5 from 1-5, Tiafoe is broken by Goffin! They’ve been going nearly four hours, and will now flog themselves through the decider we deserve!

Alcaraz, normally so animated on court, looks extremely hangdog as Sinner breaks him at the start of set two; he needs to find an answer here, but the look on his kipper says he doesn’t know what the questions are. Still he gets himself 15-30, only for Sinner to uncork some forehand violence, then slide those spindly legs to the net for the volley that makes 40-30. He can’t put away the next, though, after a fine backhand sets it up, and when he clouts long from the back, Alcaraz has a break-back point to get himself into the match. He can’t take it, another vicious Sinner forehand landing on the line and forcing the error.

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain.
Carlos Alcaraz of Spain. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Norrie is too good for Paul and he now leads 6-4 2-1, with a break. He’s running around his forehand really well, especially when hitting down the line, and I can’t imagine him not taking this.

A colossal serve seals a 31-minute set 6-1 in Sinner’s favour. He’s playing superbly here, especially on the return, and Alcaraz is in trouble.

Jannik Sinner has dominated Alcarez in the opening set.
Jannik Sinner has dominated Alcarez in the opening set. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Alreet, Tiafoe racks up three break-back points, and you fancy that if he converts one – he needs two – he’ll see this out without recourse to a decider. But Goffin is so tough you just can’t be sure, and he still leads 5-4 in set four.

Sinner looks good so far, consolidating for 4-1, but Goffin can’t close out, broken by Tiafoe for 5-2. And as I type that, Sinner gets himself 15-40; Alcaraz saves the first double-break point with a big serve, but running around the backhand to ram down the line, he strays wide! Sinner, who is brilliant against all bar the top 10 – it’s a couple of years, I think, since he beat anyone in it – now leads the number five seed 5-1 and will now serve for a rapid first set.

Norrie holds to love and takes the first set 6-4, but Paul is playing nicely enough and won’t be going anywhere – like David Goffin, who breaks Tiafoe again for 5-1. One more hold and we’ve got ourselves a decider.

Cameron Norrie takes the first set.
Cameron Norrie takes the first set. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA

On Centre, Sinner and Alcaraz are away, Alcaraz facing his first break point and fading a drop into the net with down the line open! Sinner leads 3-1, and his excellent returning is bang on-point so far today.

Goffin the Boffin, as he was no doubt called at l’ecole, is still in front in set four, leasing Tiafoe – who leads him 2-1 – 4-1. Meanwhile on No1, Paul struggles through a hold that forces Norrie to serve for set one at 5-4.

Back on Court 2, Tiafoe gets the trainer out, then loses the first three games of set four. Goffin ain’t going no place.

I just saw an advert that talked about “haitch are”. How far we done fell.

Break point down, Norrie winds up on a forehand and saves himself, then a monstrous one down the line does likewise – that’s Paul’s fourth go at clawing back, and also his last for this game. Norrie hangs tough, and now leads 4-2.

Yup, Tiafoe serves out to 15 and leads (3)6-7 7-5 7-5. He was barely in Goffin’s service games at the start of the set but eventually forced an opportunity and when his opponent tightened, snaffled it fast.

Frances Tiafoe leads Goffin.
Frances Tiafoe leads Goffin. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

Or not! Tiafoe plays an excellent break point, Goffin nervously going short on the forehand to allow a booming forehand down the line backed up with a cute backhand, and yerman will now serve for the third set at 6-5!

Norrie, who I must say I never expected to get as good as he’s got, breaks Paul early doors and leads 3-1 in set one; Goffin and Tiafoe, meanwhile, are 5-5 in set three and heading for their second breaker.

Cameron Norrie gets an early break.
Cameron Norrie gets an early break. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA

Next on Centre, the indisputable match of the day and potential match of the fortnight: Jannik Sinner [10] v Carlos Alcaraz [5].

Jule Niemeier beats Heather Watson 6-2 6-4!

She was just too good today, overpowering her opponent, and at 22, playing her first Wimbledon, she reaches her first major quarter-final – it’s easy is this! She meets Maria next, and will strongly fancy her chances of reaching the last four; I strongly fancy them too.

Jule Niemeier was just too strong today.
Jule Niemeier was just too strong today. Photograph: James Veysey/Shutterstock
Jule Niemeier celebrates after winning in straight sets against Heather Watson.
Jule Niemeier celebrates after winning in straight sets against Heather Watson. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

…and Watson saves that too, Niemeier playing safe when running in – she could monster a winner but instead plays a deep one down the middle, only to be on the receiving end of a terrific lob! Can she build?

Matchpoint down, Watson keeps the ball in play long enough for Niemeier to panel a forehand into the net. But she soon raises another on advantage….

Norrie and Paul are away, the little BBC graphic saying the former’s weakness was his lack of an obvious weapon. That is fair, if being left doesn’t count.

Watson holds for 2-6 4-5, forcing Niemeier to serve for it…

Do not mind if we do! Badosa v Halep should also be a belter.

Nick Kyrgios gets a Centre Court slot tomorrow. First on at 1:30pm against Brandon Nakashima, followed by Badosa vs Halep and Nadal vs Van De Zandschlup #Wimbledon

— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) July 3, 2022

Not sure how I’ve missed this until now, but Cameron Norrie, now knocking up with Tommy Paul on No1, is sporting a minor but very definite mullet. I’ve a new-found respect.

Tiafoe and Goffin have sped things up, the service games disappearing rather than moving between deuce and advantage; the latter leads 3-2, but of course as I type that, Tiafoe saves two break points. On Centre, Niemeier has just broken, then hauled herself back from 0-30 down to consolidate; at 6-2 5-3, she’s a game away from Maria in the last eight.

Email! “Nice to see Edberg and many other former champions earlier,” begins Simon McMahon,” and well done you for missing the BBC coverage prior to them being introduced. It was awful. Excruciatingly so. I could barely watch. I mean, Cliff Richard singing Summer Holiday?! Pictures of the Royal Box. Barker and McEnroe making Johnson and Sunak look competent. Whoever came up with the idea needs to take a long hard look in the mirror. And should have been told ‘You cannot be serious’.”

Part of it was quite nice – I can’t ever complain about seeing the champs of my childhood – but as you say, aspects of it were so cloying I had to shed a layer of skin.

Here come the champs.
Here come the champs. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

On Court 2, we’re on serve in set three, Goffin leading Tiafoe 2-1, as we are on Centre in set two, Watson leading Niemeier 3-2.

David Goffin plays a return to Tiafoe.
David Goffin plays a return to Tiafoe. Photograph: Shutterstock

Ons Jabeur is now the only top-20 seed left in the top half of the draw. We’ll see her a bit later – she meets the 24th, Elise Mertens – while next on No1, it’s Cameron Norrie [9] v Tommy Paul [30].

“Oh my God!” says Maria. “It makes me so proud to be a mum, it’s the best thing in the world and I love my kids so much!” Aw!


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