Wimbledon diary: Halep snookered over Jester's job, Royal Box spot for Beckham

By Sports Desk July 11, 2019

Simona Halep kept herself in the frame for a first Wimbledon title and England's cricketers created an increased buzz in SW19 on Thursday.

Halep potted a semi-final win against Elina Svitolina before being asked about her interest in snooker given three-time world champion Mark Selby is one of only two people she follows on Twitter.

David Beckham was among the famous faces in the Royal Box to see Halep and Serena Williams seal their places in the women's singles final.

There was also excitement at the All England Club for a major sporting showdown taking place in Birmingham, where England beat Australia to reach the Cricket World Cup final.

Catch up on what was happening around the grounds on day 10 of the grass-court grand slam.

 

POCKET ROCKET HALEP CLEARS UP SELBY FOLLOW

Halep has huge Twitter support but chooses those she follows carefully, selecting only her former coach Darren Cahill and Leicester cueman Selby.

Romania's 2018 French Open champion might not know the intricacies of snooker, but she is a fan of the player nicknamed 'The Jester'.

"I have no idea how you play snooker. But I appreciate him." Halep said.

"He's been in Romania a few times. I met him. Also I have a snooker ball signed from him. That's why I follow him."

 

AUSTRALIA SOS SIGNALS CREATE A RACKET

Crowds gathered to watch a band strike up with numbers such as Abba's SOS as Pimm's and champagne flowed late in the morning.

The distress signals from Australia players at Edgbaston also went down well as word reached Wimbledon that England were on course to reach the World Cup final.

Australia's early collapse in their semi-final was being discussed on the walk-up towards the All England Club grounds and as the tennis was taking place.

While some were clearly as confused by the cricket as Halep is by snooker, the majority were looking forward to another huge final in London this weekend after England set up a clash with New Zealand at Lord's.

 

BECKS AND BRANSON WATCH ON

Beckham is a Wimbledon regular and all eyes were on the former England football captain when he rocked up in dapper attire.

As Halep and Williams made statements on the main showcourt, Beckham made one of his own with a gold jacket, blue and white striped shirt and a snazzy tie.

Sir Richard Branson sat just along from Beckham to witness Halep and Williams go about their business in ruthless fashion.

 

AMERICAN ROGER FAN FED UP

While most people know what is in store well before they arrive at Wimbledon, there can be the odd one unsure what action will be served up.

An American visitor was heard asking "What time is Federer on?" and appeared bemused when informed he faces Rafael Nadal on Friday.

Related items

  • Opta Woe: The worst goalkeeping stats in Europe's top five leagues in 2019-20 Opta Woe: The worst goalkeeping stats in Europe's top five leagues in 2019-20

    The resumption of football in Europe's top five leagues still appears some way off due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving players with plenty of time to analyse their performances this season.

    Using Opta data, we have already examined some of the worst attacking, passing and defensive numbers from 2019-20, so now it's the turn of the goalkeepers.

    We have analysed five metrics for keepers to have featured in at least 10 league games this season, giving us a good summary of those most in need of some improvement.

    The metrics include goals conceded, save percentage and drops.

    It's time to name and shame...

     

    THE WORST GOALKEEPINGING STATS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

    BUNDESLIGA:

    Most goals conceded: Jiri Pavlenka (53)
    Worst save percentage: Roman Burki (53.62 per cent)
    Most drops: Alexander Nubel (6)
    Worst passing accuracy: Tomas Koubek (54.89)
    Worst keeper sweeper accuracy: Leopold Zingerle (0 per cent)

    LALIGA:

    Most goals conceded: Diego Lopez (46)
    Worst save percentage: Juan Soriano (55 per cent)
    Most drops: Simon Unai, Aitor Fernandez, Marko Dmitrovic, Diego Lopez (3)
    Worst passing accuracy: David Soria (40.79 per cent)
    Worst keeper sweeper accuracy: Simon Unai (33.33 per cent)

    LIGUE 1:

  • Halep: Being defending Wimbledon champion for two years 'rare and special' Halep: Being defending Wimbledon champion for two years 'rare and special'

    Simona Halep is saddened by the cancellation of this year's Wimbledon, but described the honour of being defending women's singles champion for two years as "rare and special".

    Wimbledon was this week cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has spread to over a million people worldwide.

    It will mark the first time since World War Two that the grass-court grand slam has not been held.

    Halep clinched her second major title at the All England Club last year, crushing Serena Williams in straight sets in the final.

    In an interview with The Times, she said of not being able to defend her title this year: "Even though the cancellation of Wimbledon felt inevitable after the past few weeks, I had hoped it might somehow find a way to stay on the calendar as it is such a special tournament.

    "So Wednesday was a sad day and I thought back to some of the happiest emotions of my life last year at the All England Club.

    "I will miss going back to see Centre Court, the scene of that amazing final last year. I will miss seeing my name on the wall and all the nice things you get as a member of the club. I will miss the grass, a surface I finally fell in love with.

    "I will miss wearing white. And I will miss the feeling of belonging as part of the huge tradition that Wimbledon represents.

    "I know that Wimbledon looked at other opportunities to stage the championships. They looked at playing without spectators and postponing, but none of these options worked because of the nature of the surface and the high number of people involved. It makes sense to call it off now so that we are all mentally prepared for it, rather than to wait and let people down at the last minute.

    "The club sent me a nice email on Wednesday. I had previously been discussing with them the prospect of doing some filming as the defending champion in the lead-up to the tournament. Hopefully we can do those things next year instead.

    "In a positive way, I will have the rare and special honour of being a reigning Wimbledon champion for two years. I love the tradition in which the defending champion gets to open play on Centre Court, so I hope I can still do that next year as that will be something to savour."

    The ATP and WTA Tours are both suspended and Wimbledon's cancellation has led to talk of the rest of the 2020 season being wiped out.

    "The virus is like nothing we have ever faced before, and it's important to remember that tennis is not important in comparison to this life-threatening opponent," added Halep.

    "At this point, I do not want to speculate on whether the remainder of the 2020 season will be shut down. We have to see clear signs that the virus is under control.

    "We have to let our governments and medical staff do their jobs, and when life starts returning to normal, then we can start to think about tennis."

  • Remember the name? Carlos Brathwaite and the sixes that clinched West Indies T20 glory Remember the name? Carlos Brathwaite and the sixes that clinched West Indies T20 glory

    It is April 3, 2016. Carlos Brathwaite is on strike and there is one over to go in the ICC World Twenty20 final in Calcutta.

    West Indies require 19 runs to win a see-saw final that has ebbed and flowed like the nearby Hooghly River. Having recovered from a shocking start, England have a first limited-overs international trophy seemingly within touching distance.

    They battled back from 23-3 to post 155-9. Having top-scored with 54, Joe Root claimed two of three early wicket to fall in West Indies' reply with his occasional off-spin.

    Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo put on a 73 for the fourth wicket, yet when Andre Russell and Darren Sammy both fell to David Willey in the space of three deliveries, England were the team in charge.

    After Chris Jordan managed to deny the well-set Samuels from claiming the strike at the end of the penultimate over, Ben Stokes was tasked with seeing the job through.

    His previous two overs in the game had gone for eight and nine runs respectively – combine those two together and it would still be enough for Eoin Morgan’s side to be crowned champions.

    Brathwaite, however, has other ideas…

     

    BALL ONE: WHAT A START!

    When you need so many off so few, an early maximum quickly heaps the pressure back on the bowler. 

    Stokes appears to aim for a yorker but only serves up a half-volley instead, one he's shoved down leg so far that Brathwaite simply has to help the ball on its way, depositing it over the boundary at backward square leg with a flick of the wrists.

    A gift. An absolute gift. Stokes should have sent it down with a bow on. West Indies now need just 13 from five.

    BALL TWO: IT'S UP, UP, UP AND OUTTA HERE!

    Straighter – but still in the slot from Stokes. Brathwaite manoeuvres his front foot out of the way to clear space for the bat to come through and send this one much straighter down the ground – and several metres back into a now delirious crowd inside Eden Gardens.

    Stokes pulls a face in response to suggest he either feels he was not too far off target or he's just eaten something that's way too hot. Either way, he's hurting. The once-taxing equation is now down to a seriously manageable sum of seven from off four. 

    Can England somehow claw this back?

    BALL THREE: GOING, GOING, GONE!

    No. Braithwaite does it again as the noise levels inside the ground rise even higher.

    It's a similar stroke to the last maximum, only this time the right-hander manages to send his home run over long off. There is a brief moment after it departs the bat that you wonder if it is going to clear the fielder, like a golfer who initially fears he's taken the wrong club and could end up in the water. In the end, though, the man in the deep just watches it sail over him.

    West Indies require just one to win and the rest of the squad are now off their feet out of the dugout and ready to start celebrating. 

    BALL FOUR: WEST INDIES WIN! WEST INDIES WIN!

    Forget knocking it into a gap to pinch a single. Brathwaite winds up again as he gets another ball on his pads, allowing him to finish the job in style.

    As it sails into the sky to such an extent towards mid wicket that air traffic control may need to get involved to help find a landing spot, the hero of the over stretches out his arms as team-mates rush out to the middle. What initially seemed a seriously tough challenge completed with room to spare.

    "Carlos Brathwaite ​– remember the name!" Ian Bishop booms on commentary. Few who have witnessed it – whether live at the ground or on television – will forget it, least of all poor Stokes.

    West Indies complete one of the most stunning heists in limited-overs cricket to be crowned T20 champions for a second time.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.