Wimbledon – Thursday 6th July 2017

Dimitrov, Radwanska, Muguruza, Raonic and Wozniacki are all into the third round at Wimbledon. The big names playing on courts 2 all went through on Day 4 of the Championships.

The first match on court 2 saw 2014 Wimbledon semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov face Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus. This was a repeat of the 2015 Australian Open 3rd round classic. Dimitrov won on that occasion in the fifth. And today once again the Bulgarian prevailed, but this time winning in straight-sets. Dimitrov dropped just five games in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 routine win.

World number 10 and 2012 Wimbledon finalist Aga Radwanska faced America’s Christina McHale in her second round match. After a tough year, the Pole is finding some form on the grass, coming through against McHale after three hours. Radwanska saved match points in the second set tie-break going onto the level the match before taking the final set 6-3.

Over on court 3, 2015 finalist Garbiñe Muguruza reached the third round beating Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium. The Spanish number 1 took the first set 6-2 before winning a tougher second set 6-4. Former Wimbledon Champion Conchita Martinez is helping Muguruza this week in the absence of Sam Sumyk. As Spain’s Fed Cup captain, Martinez has good knowledge of Muguruza’s game and this is clearly helping the 2016 French Open Champion this week.

While back in the men’s second round, last year’s finalist Milos Raonic played Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in the third match of the day on court 2. The Russian took the first set 6-3. But, the big-serving Canadian went through in four, winning the last three sets 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, 7-5.

Two-time US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki played Bulgaria’s 2010 Wimbledon Semi-Finalist Tsvetana Pironkova in the final match of the day on court 2. The fifth seed from Denmark reached the third round after a 6-3, 6-4 win in fading light, just before sunset at Wimbledon.

WTA Birmingham – Thursday 22nd June 2017

Garbiñe Muguruza and Kiki Mladenovic won on day 4 of the main draw at the Aegon Classic. But British number 1 Jo Konta and world number 5 Elina Svitolina got knocked out in the second round.

img_4448

Elina Svitolina opened the day on centre court. The world number 5 lost to Camila Giorgi in 3 sets. The number 2 seed lost 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to the Italian qualifier.

img_4489

Spanish number 1 Garbiñe Muguruza beat American Alison Riske in straight sets. A 6-1, 6-4 win took Muguruza through to Friday’s Quarter-Finals. It will be the Spaniard’s first appearance in the last eight in Birmingham.

img_4530.jpg

Kiki Mladenovic beat China’s Shuai Zhang 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) to reach the Quarter Finals in Birmingham. France’s number 1 set up a last eight match against Petra Kvitova.

img_4570.jpg

While in the doubles over on court 1, Garbiñe Muguruza’s second match of the day ended in defeat. Aussie pair Barty and Dellacqua beat Muguruza and Cibulkova 6-3, 6-1.

img_4582

The final match of the day saw British number 1 Jo Konta go out to American Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-3. Now coached by Aussie former Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash, Vandeweghe comfortably beat Konta to set up at last eight match against Garbiñe Muguruza.

WTA Birmingham – Wednesday 21st June 2017

Petra Kvitova continued her successful comeback by beating Brit Naomi Broady in straight sets at the Aegon Classic Birmingham.

img_4388

Daria Gavrilova won the first match on centre court on Wednesday after almost two and half hours. The Aussie ninth seed beat Czech Katerina Siniakova 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 to reach the Quarterfinals.

img_4409

Petra Kvitova then beat Brit Naomi Broady 2 and 2. The two time Wimbledon champion played a great match, giving Broady no chance of mounting a comeback.

img_4420

Next up was another Czech, in eighth seed Barbara Strycova who lost in three sets to Ash Barty of Australia.

img_4435-1

Heather Watson and Broady finished the day on court 1, with a doubles match against Christina McHale, who partnered Watson in Nottingham last week and Raquel Atawo. The American pair won through in the Champions Tiebreak 10-7, after sharing the first two sets 6-2.

Aegon Open Nottingham – Thursday 15th June 2017

British number 1 Jo Konta reached the quarter-finals of the Aegon Open after a comfortable win over doubles partner Yanina Wickmayer. While in the WTA Doubles Heather Watson, playing alongside Christina McHale, reached the semi-finals, to the loss of just one game.

After racing into a 4-0 lead, Konta fought off a Wickmayer comeback, to take the first set 6-4.

The second set was far easier for the world number 8, as Konta took the set 6-1 and the match. Konta now plays Australian Ash Barty in the Quarter-Finals.

While over on court 1, British number 2 Heather Watson reached the WTA Doubles Semi-Finals with Christine McHale. Watson and McHale beat the American pair of Lauren Davis and Alison Riske 6-1, 6-0 to easily reach the semis.

The longest match of the day came in the WTA second round. When after two and a half hours Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova beat the American Alison Riske 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 on centre court.

In the ATP Challenger event, the Aussie who is returning from injury, Sam Groth took on Brit Brydan Klein. The big-serving Groth sealed a straight sets 6-3, 6-4 to reach the men’s Quarter-Finals.

While finally, in the first match of the day on centre court, the number 2 seed from Romania, Marius Copil saw off Reilly Opelka from the USA, 6-3, 7-6.

Aegon Open Nottingham – Wednesday 14th June 2017

Johanna Konta and Heather Watson were both in doubles action on Day 3 of the main draw at the WTA Nottingham and ATP Challenger Nottingham events.

Donna Vekic played Julia Boserup in the first match of the day on court 1 in the WTA Singles 2nd Round.

Vekic won 6-3, 6-4 to go through to the Quarter-Finals.

Sergiy Stakhovsky was next on court in the ATP Challenger event. He beat fellow Ukrainian Illya Marchenko 6-4, 7-6.

Heather Watson and Christina McHale then played doubles against Mona Barthel and Anastasija Sevastova.

Watson and McHale won 7-6, 3-6 and 10-8 in a champions tie-break. While Jo Konta also won her doubles match and Lloyd Glasspool won in the men’s challenger to make it a good day for British tennis.

Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 0 – Premier League

Juan Mata arrives at Old Trafford with his girlfriend after being rested for the Europa League Final in Stockholm on Wednesday 24th May.

Mata therefore had time to sign autographs for fans and pose for photos before the game.

Fellow Spaniard, David De Gea arrives after also getting the day off, with the Portuguese Joel Pereira starting for the first time in goal.

Jose Mourinho handed debut starts to Joel Pereira, Demetri Mitchell, Scott McTominay and Josh Harrop as most first team players were rested ahead of the Europa League Final.

Of the first team players, only Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones and Wayne Rooney started. While Anthony Martial, Daley Blind and Michael Carrick were on the bench.

Pogba and Lingard both played 44 minutes each, coming off for Carrick and Martial just before half time. While Blind stayed on the bench as he prepares to start the final at centre-back.

Debutant Josh Harrop opened the scoring fifteen minutes in, after running onto a Pogba through-ball. Harrop cut into the box and placed a shot into the far corner past Wayne Hennessey.

Just four minutes later, Pogba himself added a second. After Tim Fosu-Mensah won the ball in midfield, Jesse Lingard took his time to play in the Frenchman who capitalised on a Palace mistake to slot home. Pogba went off to a standing ovation having both scored and assisted during his 44 minute appearance.

Palace’s top scorer Christian Benteke hit the post with a header in the second half. While Joel Pereira made a good save from a Luka Milivojevic free kick to preserve a clean sheet on his first start for the reds.

Later on, 16-year-old Angel Gomes replaced Wayne Rooney to become the days fifth debutant. The diminutive Gomes still had time to show off his ability despite only playing five minutes.

Manchester United closed their domestic season with a comfortable 2-0 win and finished with a lap of honour.

Marcos Rojo made an appearance on crutches, following successful knee surgery recently.

While Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Sergio Romero had time to take photos with family members after being rested.

img_3392

Manchester United now head to Stockholm to face Ajax for the Europa League, plus qualification for next season’s UEFA Super Cup and Champions League.

Manchester United 1 (2) Celta Vigo 1 (1) – UEFA Europa League Semi-Final 2nd leg

Manchester United started with the same team that beat Celta Vigo away at Balaídos, with the eight players who were rested at Arsenal coming back into the side.

The Europa League trophy was at Old Trafford ahead the crucial second leg.

The Celta Vigo fans travelled in their numbers from Northern Spain.

The teams come out ahead of Manchester United’s biggest game of the season. Or the biggest game in their history, according to José Mourinho 

Manchester United scored after 17 minutes to leave Celta needing two goals to qualify. Marouane Fellaini headed in a brilliant Marcus Rashford cross at the back post to give the reds an early lead on the night.

Sergio Romero made a comfortable save in the first half to keep out Pablo Hernandez, while Daniel Wass headed wide from Pione Sisto’s cross.

John Guidetti missed two good chances to score as he volleyed and headed wide in the second half. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Fellaini also had efforts saved by Sergio Alvarez in the Celta goal during a tense night.

Celta got a goal back through a Roncaglia header in the 85th minute, before the Argentine defender was sent off after an altercation with United’s Eric Bailly. Bailly was also sent off and will miss the final.

img_3217

The Swede Guidetti had a final chance to put Celta through to play in his
home final. But, he miss-kicked his effort allowing United to clear and reach a first ever UEFA Cup/Europa League Final.

img_3235

Manchester United now face Ajax in the Stockholm final on Wednesday 24th May, giving the reds the opportunity to complete their trophy collection and claim a place in next seasons Champions League.