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Wimbledon 2022 Quarter-Finals: Djokovic V Sinner, Maria V Niemeier – Live!

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Hello! Careless behaviour from Djokovic gives Sinner 0-30, then another error makes it 15-40! AND JUST LOOK AT THAT! A pair of forehands screech and shriek towards Djokovic; he returns the first one, but the second one sets the air on fire and Sinner will now serve for set one! He is loving it out there, growing into grownarse adult before our eyes; it’s beautiful to see.

Maria is playing with so much more confidence now, really enjoying the occasion. And when Niemeier slips, she’s in perfect position to guide a forehand winner down the line that gives her 4-6 5-2, and the decider we – and this match – deserves looks a banker.

Niemeier holds to love, while Djokovic amps up the pressure as Sinner tries to stay in the set at 4-5. At 30-all, he could easily wobble, but it’s nothing that can’t be solved by a pair of gargantuan first serves, and at 5-5, we’ve got ourselves a proper contest.

“The floodlights are integrated into the roof,” advises Gary Naylor, “so you can’t have one without the other. “It’s all very hi-tech and designed to avoid shadows on the court giving a strange (and uncomfortable) combination of ambient, snowy light and humid, greenhousey heat.”

Consecutive forehands, cross-court from the backhand corner, give Sinner 0-15, and though he can’t finish a point at 30-15, eventually the weight of his strokes tells and Djokovic blazes long, wasting a pair of splendid gets. Sinner wins the next rally too – he’s absolutely assaulting the ball out there –but Djokovic muscles a forehand down the line to earn deuce and quickly closes out for 5-4. Meantime, Maria breaks Niemeier again, and though she doubles on 40-30, she eventually gets it done and leads 4-1 in the second.

Sinner and Maria both follow gifted breaks with emphatic holds, and in just 10 minutes the tenor of both matches has changed.

“Regarding the player disquiet over late finishes,” emails Gregory Phillips, “most of the objections I’ve read seem to be how closing the roof changes the playing conditions, which is fair. Why couldn’t the AELTC turn on the floodlights and leave the roof open? (I am guessing the answer has something to do with the local council.)”

I think that’s it – it’s certainly why matches have to stop at a certain time. There is something special about sport at night, though – I’ve enjoyed the altered schedule.

And have a look! Niemeier also doubles a second time, Maria goes on the attack by upping the forehand venom, and a diving get at the net secures the break-back! Maria salutes the crowd and well she might! Maria 4-6 1-1 Niemeier

A seventh double gives Maria 0-30, right as one from Djokovic hands Sinner 0-15. In the context of both matches, these are chances, and a horrible drop from our Serbian friend makes 0-30. Naturally, he responds with an ace and Niemeier unfurls a forehand/smash combo, but another poor drop from Djokovic and a lovely backhand version from Maria gives us break points in both matches. Niemeier saves the one against her with an ace, but Djokovic blunders through a further double, and we’re back on serve on Centre! Djokovic 4-3 Sinner

Trailing 1-4 but advantage up, Sinner bangs down an ace and is in the match now. He’s not making an impression on the Djokovic serve, but it’s a long day so there’s time.

Maria is in trouble. On 15-30, she finds a high-kicking ace down the middle, but soon has to save a break point. On deuce, though, Niemeier’s forehand gives her control of the rally, and though she’s then foxed by a low bounce, Maria nets her attempted backhand pass down the line. Again, she rallies for deuce, then Niemeier nets on a third advantage … but finds a deft, close-range lob to give herself a fourth go. That was a lovely shot because there was so little room to get the ball up and down, and when she smites an inside-out backhand pass, Maria is again broken in the first game of a set. This could soon be over. Maria 4-6 0-1 Niemeier

Sinner is no the board now, holding for 1-3. But Djokovic looks in as much control as you’d expect.

Jannik Sinner returns Photograph: Alastair Grant/APMaria is managing occasional big shots, but not often enough to tax Niemeier in a serious way. On 15-all, a body-serve fashions the opportunity for a superb backhand volley put-away, taken from below the height of the net, and shortly afterwards a serve out wide is blazed wide, which means the set. Maria has a lot of work to do, because her gameplan – taking pace off – isn’t working. Going on the offensive might not either, but it’s got to be worth a try. Maria 4-6 Niemeier

Jule Niemeier takes the first set. Photograph: Matthew Childs/ReutersMaria holds, forcing Niemeier to serve for the set at 5-4, as does Djokovic, who leads Sinner 3-0.

Immediately, Sinner finds himself three break points down – he’s yet to trouble the scorer – and he saves the first two but can’t manage a third. On which point, Calvin Betton, our resident coach, notes that “Djokovic will put Sinner in positions where he doesn’t like being. He never gives an opponent rhythm – never gives them three of the same shot in a row. Sinner likes rhythm and there’s no way he can win the match other than hitting clean winners for three sets.”

Niemeier, meanwhile, holds for 5-3 but sends down her fifth double. So far, she’s got away with it, and she might through this match, but eventually her profligacy – she also goes long on an easy forehand put-away – will cost her if she doesn’t sort it. She leads Maria 5-3.

Looking at Sinner, it really is remarkable he can generate so much power given his chicken-style legs. But he gives it a serious whack – so far, his problems have come against players good enough to withstand that; before Alcaraz, he’d not beaten anyone in the top 10 in quite some time and he doesn’t (yet?) have the tools to vary his approach when Plan A isn’t working. Djokovic holds to love, while Maria narrowly avoids going down a double break, defending well to trail 3-4.

Djokovic and Sinner are out on Centre, and watching two matches simultaneously, rather than four, feels simultaneously tame and intense. Niemeier, meanwhile, holds again, through deuce again and leads Maria 4-2.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge ready for the main event on Centre Court. Photograph: Karwai Tang/WireImageMaria finds her own forehand, boshing a winner for 15-0 and holding to love. She’ll feel more settled now, and after wining the final point of the game she looks up at her box as if to tell them she’s good. It might be too late for this set, but the match is developing into a contest.

She’s a proper powerhouse, is Niemeier, and she’s using her booming forehand to target Maria’s suss backhand; Maria is slicing almost everything, trying to deny Niemeier the opportunity to deploy her power, and it’s not really working. A double at 40-30 does hand her deuce, but she doesn’t get a sniff in the next two points. Maria 1-3 Niemeier

On 30-all, Maria – who’s not settled at all – slices a forehand long, but responds with a heavier serve down the T, and it’s too good for Niemeier. She can’t press home her first advantage, botching a lob under pressure when Niemeier charges to the net, then an ace is followed by a double. But she eventually closes out, securing her first game for 1-2.

A nervy service game from Niemeier that includes a double, but on 40-30 her footwork gets her forehand-side of the ball and means she can go line or cross; she picks the latter, dematerialising a winner that’ll have her feeling pretty good about life. She leads 2-0.

Germany’s Jule Niemeier in action Photograph: Matthew Childs/ReutersImmediately, Niemeier raises two break points, netting on the return to lose the first before Maria tamely dumps a squash-shot. Maria 0-1 Niemeier

And play!

The players are on court knocking up. We’ll be away shortly.

Niemeier, on the other hand, is at the start of her career and has power to burn. This is only her second Wimbledon, but she eliminated Anett Kontaveit, the number two seed, and being relatively unknown makes her tricky to gameplan for.

Getting us away we’ve Maria v Niemeier. Maria has ejected three seeds – Cirstea, Sakkari and Ostapenko – and is on the run of her life. Before Wimbledon, she’d never done better than round two of a major, but seeing her now, with her family – she’s a two-time mum – you can see she’s reached equilibrium, so even though she’s 34, it’s no surprise that she’s playing so well.

Kyrgios faces charge of assaulting ex-girlfriendThe 27-year-old Australian, who reached the quarter-finals on Monday, will appear in court in Canberra next month.

PreambleGood afternoon and welcome Wimbledon 2022. Yes, the competition started last week and we’ve been enjoying our lives more ever since, but it’s today that we hit 88mph and see what Doc Emmet Brown called “some serious expletive”.

Previously, the second Tuesday meant women’s quarter-finals, but as of this year we’re getting two along with two men’s, then the same again tomorrow – a sensible adjustment that guarantees us two large helpings of lovely tennis.

And we waste no time at all in stuffing our faces with an absolutely jaw-convulsing dish of Novak Djokovic [1] v Jannik Sinner [10], who open proceedings on Centre. The former may be the top seed, but with Rafael Nadal halfway to a grand slam, he can’t sensibly claim to be the best player in the world … unless he can win here. And he’ll fancy himself to do just that, except Sinner is, as of Sunday, in the form of his life, taking Carlos Alcaraz apart with the might of his serving and returning. If he plays as well again, we’re looking at a potential classic.

And that’s not all! There’s no sport in the world less predictable and with more potential champions than women’s tennis, so picking which of Marie Bouzkova and Ons Jabeur [3], Tatjana Maria and Jule Niemeier will make the last four is an errand too foolish even for this blog – but all of them will know that this might just be the opportunity of their lives. On top of which, David Goffin v Cameron Norrie [9] will be a fascinating battle of spins, angles and intensity with all the potential to drag us the distance. Ooh yeah!

Play: 1pm BST on No1 Court, 1.30pm BST on Centre Court

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