Ah man, I know I’m meant to be impartial, but tif you don’t love Jabeur’s enthusiasm and creativity, you don’t love tennis. She’s really happy with how she played, especially in set three, and she says it’ll be tough to play Maria, her “barbecue buddy”. She thinks other players should look at how her mate has struggled for what she’s got, smiles the world’s biggest smile, and sets off on her merry way.
What a performance from Ons, the first Arab women to reach a grand slam semi! She played beautifully after going a set down, and looks so at one, not just with her game but with herself. It’ll take something serious to stop her, and she meets Maria next.
Norrie’s never been past the third round in a major, but I don’t think this’ll be the last time we see him go deep. The way he grew in the final set was impressive, and the more big matches he plays and wins, the better he’ll get.
Norrie is struggling to speak, shaking his head. He thanks his team, family and friends, and his eyeballs are sweating, lips a-quiver; it must be contagious because I’m finding my own situation disintegrating. Asked about the help he got from the crowd, he again can’t find words, saying that he couldn’t feel the ball or find his game at the start, but the encouragement he got helped him stay patient, then at the end he just tried to put the ball in the court. He’s having flashbacks of all the hard work and pre-seasons he’s undertaken – it feels pretty good, he reckons – and is sure the crowd will get behind him against Djokovic.
Back on Centre, Jabeur now leads Bouzkova 4-0 in the decider.
Oh man, Goffin looks very very poorly as well he might, but what a show of vertebrae from Cameron Norrie! Let’s be real, he choked today, but in the deepest recesses of his soul he found the moxie to rebound, and now he faced Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon semi-final! He is so, so happy! Imagine feeling his feelings!
Goffin goes long! Advantage Norrie!
Two massive forehands from Norrie look to have set up the point, but his approach is a little soft and Goffin unleashes a forehand pass down the line! Deuce, and this is so so nervy.
Nozza serves an ace! 40-30 and, improbably, match point!
Huge serve, but Norrie nets his forehand clean-up down the line! 30-all!
Norrie gets under a forehand that Goffin drops onto the baseline and wafts long. 30-15.
Goffin nets again, and he can feel this slipping away. He’ll not sleep for a month if he loses this. 30-0!
Jabeur rushes through a hold to love, to lead 3-0 in the decider.
Goffin nets a backhand: 15-0!
Bouzkova tries a drop, Jabeur flicks a better one, and converts advantage for a break from 0-40 down … while a barrage of cleverly-directed groundstrokes do likewise for Norrie! Jabeur leads 2-0 and Norrie will now serve for the match at 6-5! What a comeback this is, a triumph, even if he loses, of will more than of skill. He’s not played well, but he did enough to stay in it, and now look!
And he does so superbly, an ace giving him 40-0, before he holds to 15 while, on Centre, Bouzkova – 0-1 down in the third – slips during a rat-a-tat-tat net exchange, gets up, winds up at the back, and wins the point for 40-0. But Jabeur takes the next two then Bouzkova goes long, and here we go – on No1, Norrie runs down a drop, volleys, and Goffin goes wide, giving him 0-30!
Goffin’s level has been pretty consistent throughout this match and he’s playing nicely now, holding to love for 5-4. The variant has been Norrie’s performance – he’s found his best stuff of the match in the later stages, but still isn’t that close to his maximum, and will now serve to stay in the match.
Bouzkova returns and Norrie holds to 30, sealing the deal with an overhead that sends No1 Court into a frenzy. 4-4 it is, and I’ve not a clue who’s going to win this.
Goffin played a four-and-a-half hour match just two days ago, but you’d never know it the way he’s tearing about the court like Speedy Gonzalez. The final point of his most recent hold is an absolute brute, but he dictates the play while zooming from baseline to net and back again, earning his 4-3 lead. On Centre, meanwhile, Bouzkova has been away for the last five minutes, leaving Jabeur hanging about prior to the start of the final set.
This has been such an afternoon, every match going the distance. I can’t lie, the standard of player left in both men’s and women’s isn’t the highest it’s ever been, but the drama and endeavour have been right up there.
Norrie, meanwhile, levels the decider at 3-3, the holds coming easily for him now.
Jabeur races to 0-40 and three set points, and when Bouzkova wafts a forehand long, the match is level! Bouzkova has work to do to reverse this momentum. Bouzkova 6-3 1-6 Jabeur
At 15-all, Goffin lets go a weak backhand that catches the net-cord and drops wide. In the context, this is a chance, but a tame forehand gives 30-all, a framed return game point, and a forehand followed by an overhead sees Goffin to 3-2. Meantime, on Centre, Jabeur is playing beautifully now, 5-1 in front having lost the first set.
Lovely from Nozza to haul himself level in the set, directing Goffin around the court before disbursing a drop that seals his 2-2. That left hand is working nicely now, the various spins keeping Goffin guessing.
Well nothing because I was watching in the garden, so can agree that for the first time today, Norrie is playing like himself. He still trails 2-1 in the decider, but we’re on serve, while Jabeur leads Bouzkova 4-1 in the second set, having lost the first.
Hello again. What did I miss?
And with that I’m out of here. Welcome back Daniel.
Goffin v Norrie really could go either way. This time it’s the Briton under pressure, Goffin forcing a break point with a venomous return. Norrie hustles from the back of the court to stay alive and Goffin hits the net. Two points later Norrie is on the floor after sliding across the baseline in desperate defence. A crosscourt backhand howitzer from Norrie followed by a Goffin error levels the match at 1-1 in the fifth.
The rallies are long and so are many of the games on No 1 Court. Goffin holds to 30 this time after Norrie fails with a drop shot and it’s first blood to the Belgian.
Ons Jabeur is fighting back. The No 3 seed has stiffened her resolve after losing the first set and taken a 2-0 lead in the second.
Cameron Norrie levels the match at two sets all. He stands tall on serve after the break and sees out the set 6-3 with a piledriver down the middle. The Briton has all the momentum now, but we thought that at the beginning of the third and he fell apart for a bit. Game on!
Norrie has another break point but again Goffin shows his steel. It looks like he’s won the game but Norrie challenges successfully following an ace. Three more game points go by for Goffin. Norrie simply refuses to lie down and forces a break point. Goffin hits a forehand into the net and Norrie has a 5-3 lead in the fourth set.
Bouzkova serves out to take the first set 6-3 against Jabeur. Another potential shock is on the cards in the wide open women’s draw.
Bouzkova is ranked 66 in the world and had never gone beyond the second round at a slam before this tournament but she is making Jabeur fight hard today. The Tunisian has to rally from 0-30 to hold serve and stay in touch at 4-3 down. She has a break point in the next game but Bouzkova will not be bullied and holds for 5-3. The Czech is one game away from taking the first set against the favourite in the women’s draw.
Norrie has a break point at 30-40 but Goffin holds firm with some punishing groundstrokes under pressure to win three straight points and the game. It’s 3-3 in the fourth but Norrie is being pushed round the court.
Thanks Daniel, Goffin has just held serve for 2-2 in the fourth set but it was a bit of a struggle. And over on Centre Court Bouzkova has broken Jabeur’s serve to go 3-2 up in the opener. Things are getting interesting.
Righto, I’m going to give myself a pep talk in the toilet mirror; here’s Rob Bleaney to croon you through the next little bit.
Goffin still has the edge in the rallies, and when Norrie dumps an overhead, makes 15-30. A backhand down the line changes the flow of the next rally too, but instead of hitting long, he tries a drop that hits the net, which leaves us at 30-all. That’s all the rope Norrie needs to unfurl a pair of monumental inside-out forehands, giving him the next two points and a 2-1 lead in set four. He’s playing a bit now.
Commentating on the Jabeur match, Jo Konta – who recalls being tied in her web at Eastbourne once – says that with players who’ve so many weapons, sometimes they don’t know which to use and also think they can win matches on talent alone. That, she posits, might be why it’s taken Ons so long to reach the upper echelons, and she now leads Bouzkova 2-1.
Another unforced error from Norrie – he’s made 34 today, versus 19 for Goffin – gives his opponent a sniff at 30-all. But he hangs on for 1-0, and again the crowd try to rouse him.
Bouzkova has to battle through deuce for her first hold, but she gets there in the end ; 1-1.
Norrie does a Djokovic, taking a bog-break to try and change the narrative.
Goffin serves out easily to take the third set 6-2, and he’s one away! But more than that, he’s playing well, whereas Norrie is playing like a drain. If he can find something close to his best tennis, he can win this, but that looks unlikely and he’s running out of time.
Jabeur and Bouzkova are away, the latter choosing to receive and the former holding for 1-0.
Gosh, look at Goffin! He breaks for a third time in the set and now leads 5-2!
A big forehand from Norrie – the kind of forehand that’s forsaken him – makes 30-all, but two from Goffin, whose equivalent has been the dominant shot in the match, give him game point. So Norrie, playing with greater abandon now, finds a luscious backhand slice drop – that’s his best shot of the match – then after raising a break point, coaxes a backhand winner down the line! He now trails 2-4 in the third, and slowly, is inching his way towards something approaching form.
Here come Jabeur and Bouzkova…