We saw some excellent play yesterday with Britain’s contingent shining bright and brave amidst different fortunes, as well as some sparkling tennis from the greats, the household names and dark horse contenders. It was arguably the first day of these 135th Championships where the missing greats felt just that little more bearable.
Where else to start than Katie Boulter and Liam Brody’s brilliant victories, with Boulter downing last year’s finalist Pliskova on Centre and Broady battling past 11th seed Schwartzman in five. Pernickety cynics will point to Pliskova’s perennial underachievement and inconsistency for a former world number one, and Schwartzman is hardly a lover of the grass, but this matters not.
For so long it was just a handful of the homegrown who would light up the tournament properly, our cream of the crop. But this year more and more of our wider field are turning up and more than holding their own, it is great to see.
Centre court was treated also to another bullish Rafa victory and a classy showing from the ever improving Gauff as the established names continue to stake their claim for the spoils. Halep, Anisimova and Kvitova pulled out gutsy wins against difficult opponents, with Halep putting an end to the fine career of Kirsten Flipkens. Nick Kyrgios shone in a polished victory and the likes of Badosa, Fritz, Pegula and Tsitsipas are slowly but surely finding their own groove. Iga Swiatek continued her winning streak but there were scares along the way.
And while we lost Shapovalov, other surprises were few and far between as familiar names young and old progressed, namely De Minaur [over GBs Jack Draper in a blistering encounter], Heather Watson turning back the years, Krejcikova, Gasquet and Mertens.
Day 5 Match picks
Kerber vs Mertens [quality]
Sinner vs Isner [quality/serve battle]
Zhang vs Garcia [style]
Sock vs Cressy [Cressy fightback? – let me dream]