Pospisil exits Wimbledon to a standing ovation at Centre Court

Vasek Pospisil’s tremendous singles run at 2015 Wimbledon came to an end in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, losing to one of the best players in the world, Andy Murray, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.

Pospisil left fans at the All-England Club, back home in Canada – and abroad –awestruck when he played a series of seemingly never-ending matches over a few days to reach the singles final eight at the prestigious major.

Vasek Pospisil is all smiles after defeating James Ward of Great Britain at Wimbledon on July 4, 2015.

Vasek Pospisil is all smiles after defeating James Ward of Great Britain at Wimbledon on July 4, 2015.

After beating Britain’s James Ward on Saturday in five sets, Pospisil came back from two sets down to defeat Viktor Troicki on Monday. Later that day Pospsil played another five sets in a doubles encounter with partner Jack Sock totaling in five hours and 58 minutes of play. Once again, it was a two-sets-down comeback attempt for Pospisil, but it fell short of a positive result for the defending Wimbledon men’s doubles champions.

On Wednesday, the first set against Murray saw Pospisil start strong but fall behind to the Wimbledon third seed on his second service game. The players also had to contend with rain delays and for the Canadian, an unnecessarily pedantic chair umpire sweating over time clocks.

“He played a great game to break,” Pospisil said of Murray pulling ahead in the opener. “After the first set and a half I felt pretty comfortable, felt like I was dictating play but I missed a couple of balls I shouldn’t have.”

Pospisil was very much in the match during the second set, tied 5-5 with heavily favoured Murray. At 30-all on serve, the Canadian was charged with a time violation by French umpire Pascal Maria.

That call gave the Brit a break point chance, which Murray promptly converted before taking a commanding two set lead. Pospisil is undaunted in such situations, though against a player of Murray’s calibre the deficit was too great to overcome.

“I thought it was a good match, a high quality match in general,” Pospisil said summarizing the affair, although he was less than pleased with Maria.

“I was right about to serve the ball. If he would have waited one second longer I would have served. I don’t agree with the time he did it,” Pospisil said of the umpire’s interruption.

Nonetheless, Pospisil leaves Wimbledon with happy memories for a second straight year. Although he won’t leave London a champion in 2015, the Canadian left centre court to a standing ovation for his nine-day, eight match effort.

“This has been a great week and just the beginning. I can take confidence from this. I just need to be more consistent and in the last couple of weeks I’ve made the right steps towards that.”

Pospisil’s exit leaves Daniel Nestor as the lone Canadian at Wimbledon. With French partner Kristina Mladenovic in mixed doubles, Nestor is through to the quarterfinals. The eighth seeded team will face Americans Mike Bryan and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who make up the top team in the draw.

Day 7 – July 6, 2015

Vasek Pospisil picked things up where he left off on Saturday at Wimbledon, except in an even more dramatic fashion, beating Viktor Troicki of Serbia 4-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 on Monday.

Pospisil then nearly pulled off another thrilling two-set down comeback in men’s doubles on the same day, playing nearly six hours of tennis. The win over Troicki sends Pospisil to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam singles tourney for the first time, where he will face fan-favourite Andy Murray of Great Britain.

Vasek Pospisil celebrates after defeating James Ward of Great Britain at Wimbledon on July 4, 2015.

Vasek Pospisil celebrates after defeating James Ward of Great Britain at Wimbledon on July 4, 2015.

On Saturday, Pospisil defeated another Brit, James Ward (More on this below), despite going down two-sets-to one after winning the opener. In the fourth round on Day 7 against Troicki, Pospisil was up against it even more dropping the first two sets before roaring back by limiting errors and relying on his strong service game.

Troicki played an aggressive and quick first set, winning 87% of his first serve points, not allowing Pospisil a sniff at a break, and converting the only one he needed to take it 6-4. Pospisil committed 12 unforced errors that further condemned the Canadian.

Another 11 unforced errors from Pospisil in the second set helped prolong the frame where both men served well and didn’t allow any breaks. Pospisil was leading the tiebreak until dropping two consecutive service points allowing the Serb to jump ahead and take a commanding two-set lead.

Facing elimination, just as he had done on Saturday against Ward, Pospisil regained his composure, lowered unforced errors to just two in the third, broke Troicki on the business end of the set to go up 5-4 before getting back into the match down two-sets-to-one.

In the fourth set, Pospisil broke Troicki early and consolidated to take a 2-0 lead. Now with momentum, the Canadian continued to hit well-placed returns to subdue the Serbian, breaking him again in the ninth game to win the fourth set to begin the decider on serve.

The fifth set saw Pospisil play clinical tennis and he had to against the 22nd seed Troicki. Both men won every first serve point making the margin for error very low. Pospisil didn’t commit a single unforced error and broke Troicki at 4-3 to serve for the match. At 40-15, the Canadian put away the tie with a drop shot at the net, which the Serb couldn’t reach in time, rolling his return into the net as Pospisil dropped to his knees in celebration.

Vasek Pospisil celebrates at the net after defeating James Ward of Great Britain at Wimbledon on July 4, 2015.

Vasek Pospisil celebrates at the net after defeating James Ward of Great Britain at Wimbledon on July 4, 2015.

After 23 unforced errors in the first two sets, Pospisil only committed seven the rest of the way giving Troicki very few advantages to pounce on. As if a sensational singles comeback victory to reach the quarterfinals wasn’t enough, Pospisil nearly repeated the feat in doubles a little later on Monday.

With his partner Jack Sock (USA), Pospisil fell two sets behind again, this time to Jamie Murray (Great Britain) and John Peers (Australia). A stirring comeback resumed for the North American duo who are returning Wimbledon men’s doubles champions. They forced the match to a decisive fifth set but fell short of completing the comeback losing 6-3, 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 3-6, 8-6 in the third round.

Canada's Daniel Nestor and French partner Kristina Mladenovic at Wimbledon 2014. Photo by Mauricio Paiz via Tennis Canada. Photo: CP

Canada’s Daniel Nestor and French partner Kristina Mladenovic at Wimbledon 2014. Photo by Mauricio Paiz via Tennis Canada. Photo: CP

Canada’s Daniel Nestor is also out of the men’s doubles in the third, losing with his partner Leander Paes (India) to Alexander Peya (Austria) and Bruno Soares Brazil in five sets.

Like Pospisil and Sock, Nestor and Paes also fell behind by two sets their opponents but fought back to handily win the third and fourth frames. However, in the fifth, the eighth-seeded team of Peya and Soares pulled away to seal the match 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 2-6, 6-2.

Nestor then took to the court with mixed doubles partner Kristina Mladenovic of France. A best-of-three-sets tournament, Nestor and Mladenovic triumphed over British pair Ken Skupski and Johanna Konta 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.

Day 6 – July 4, 2015

Vasek Pospisil at 2013 Wimbledon Championships.

Vasek Pospisil at 2013 Wimbledon Championships.

Vasek Pospisil is the iron man of Canadian tennis at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships.

Playing in his fifth match in six days, Pospisil won a five-set thriller over Britain’s James Ward 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 8-6 to advance to the fourth round of a Grand Slam singles tournament for the first time in his career.

The match looked to be getting away from the 25-year old Canadian when Ward, buoyed by the home crowd, seemed to have all the momentum heading into the fourth set after winning the previous two.

That’s when Pospisil reached deep into the reserves and broke Ward for the first time since the opening set. Pospisil consolidated to take a 4-1 lead and held serve rest of the way to force a fifth and deciding set.

The players held serve all through the decider until Pospisil got the break he needed to go up 7-6 against Ward. The Canadian – whose first serve winning percentage was near-flawless (95%) in the final set – closed out the match on a backhand drop shot at the net.

Also winning on Saturday at Wimbledon was Daniel Nestor with partner Leander Paes of India. The ageless veterans of the doubles circuit defeated Teimuraz Gabashvili (Russia) and Lu Yen-hsun (Chinese Taipei) 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4), 7-5 to set up a third round contest against eighth-seeded Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares. Nestor and Paes are seeded 11th at Wimbledon.

Pospisil too will have a doubles contest upcoming, with Jack Sock of the United States, the North American duo will face Jamie Murray and John Peers in the third round.

Doubles victories for Nestor and Pospisil in their respective matches would see their two teams face each other in the quarterfinals.

Day 5 – July 3, 2015

Mixed results for Canadians at Wimbledon on Day 5 with Milos Raonic bowing out of the tournament in the third round, while Vasek Pospisil picked up a doubles win to match his singles triumph from the previous day.

A fractured finger didn’t bother Pospisil’s partner Sock as the defending Wimbledon men’s doubles champions beat the partnership of Eric Butorac and Colin Fleming in straight sets 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Friday.

Playing in four of five days at Wimbledon so far, Pospisil has been terrific in both singles (more on this below) and doubles with Sock, reaching the third round in both draws.

Sock posted a photo earlier in the week showing that he had a fractured finger from the tournament. Out of singles contention, the American, will now focus his energy on retaining the doubles title with his Canadian partner.

On Friday, the North American duo broke their second round opponents three times in the first two sets, while not allowing a single break point on serve. That form continued into the third set where both teams held serve into the tiebreak.

While Pospisil and Sock gave up two minibreaks in the tiebreak, they took three from Butorac (USA) and Fleming (Great Britain) before finishing off the extra frame on serve.

In singles, Raonic ran into a similar hard-serving player to himself in Australian Nick Kyrgios in the third round on Friday. The Australian fired 34 aces to Raonic’s 18 in beating the Canadian 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Milos Raonic in the men's singles semifinals at 2014 Wimbledon.

Milos Raonic in the men’s singles semifinals at 2014 Wimbledon.

Up 6-5, a first set break gave Raonic the opener but Kyrgios became highly efficient from that point onward. The second set saw Kyrgios win 96% of his first serve points to just 65% for Raonic. Winning break at 5-5 allowed Kyrgios to serve out the second set to even up the match at 1-1.

Raonic went up 2-0 in the third set tiebreak taking a serve away from Kyrgios, however, the Australian didn’t concede another and took three minibreaks from Raonic pulling comfortably ahead to take a two-sets-to-one lead.

The fourth set gave Raonic a small window to get ahead of Kyrgios with a break point at 1-1. The Australian shut that opening firmly and held serve, before breaking Raonic at 4-3 and consolidating to win the match in four sets.

Recovering from foot surgery, Raonic may still be feeling its effects. He had admitted earlier in the week that he was not yet at his best and it seems on Friday, Kyrgios took full advantage by delivering a strong service game, complemented by timely returns against the seventh-seeded Canadian.

At time of writing, Day 6 order of play had yet to be published. Adil Shamasdin and Gabriela Dabrowski will compete later in Day 5 in mixed doubles, while Daniel Nestor (men’s doubles) is the other Canadian still competing at Wimbledon.

Day 4 – July 2, 2015

Vasek Pospisil continued to roll in singles at Wimbledon, winning his second round match on Day 4 against seeded player Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

The win puts two Canadians in the third round of men’s singles at the All-England Club, after Milos Raonic advanced on Wednesday over Tommy Haas. Canada also has two players in the men’s doubles second round; a third entrant, Adil Shamasdin, fell short of making it three Canadians on Thursday.

Vasek Pospisil in action at 2014 Wimbledon.

Vasek Pospisil in action at 2014 Wimbledon.

For Pospisil – one half of the Wimbledon doubles title winning team from 2014 – this is the farthest he has gone at this major. The 56th ranked Canadian set the tone early breaking 30th seed Fognini’s opening service game, then consolidating to take a commanding 3-0 lead on way to winning the first set. Pospisil continued to hold serve in the second, breaking Fognini at 3-3 before pulling ahead to take a two-set lead.

The Italian fought back in the third, breaking Pospisil’s two opening service games and jumping ahead to 5-0 lead before taking the set rather easily. The Canadian regained his composure in the fourth, not allowing Fognini a single break point opportunity en route to serving out the match.

News wasn’t so good for Shamasdin in men’s doubles, where he and his Australian partner Rameez Junaid lost to Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) and Dominic Inglot (Great Britain) 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2 in the first round.

Raonic is the only Canadian scheduled to play on Day 5 at the moment, taking on Nick Kyrgios of Australia in one of the marquee matches of the day. Pospisil’s next singles match will be against British wildcard player James Ward, and he’ll have a second round doubles encounter with partner Jack Sock, who will attempt to play through a fractured finger.

Day 3 – July 1, 2015

It was a happy Canada Day at Wimbledon, where Milos Raonic in singles and Daniel Nestor in doubles came away winners on Day 3 of the major at the All-England Club.

Raonic took to his second round match with aplomb, winning the first set in just 17 minutes before closing it out in four sets 6-0, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4). The Canadian, who earlier posted a photo on his Instagram account of himself draped in the maple leaf, had 29 aces, including a 231-kilometre-per-hour serve that, according to Wimbledon, assaulted the record books as the third fastest in tournament history.

Despite what looked to be an easy outing for Raonic, 37-year old Haas from Germany became a tougher challenge in the third set. Haas stubbornly refused to concede any service games for the last two sets despite being troubled by a recent shoulder surgery. Haas also saved three match points in the fourth set to force tiebreak. There, it took another two match points for Raonic to put the German away.

The seventh seeded Raonic, 24, who himself had foot surgery recently and admits he is still not at his best, saved three break points in the third set to force the tiebreak, which he ultimately lost. However, in the fourth, Raonic’s service game was slightly better, landing 71% of his first serves (versus 64% in the previous set) and refused Haas any looks at a much-desired service break.

Milos Raonic serves against Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain on June 29, 2015.

Milos Raonic serves against Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain on June 29, 2015.

Australia’s 26th seed Nick Kyrgios now awaits Raonic in the third round. The two met in the quarterfinals last year when Kyrgios, who was a wildcard entry, had become the talk of the town in the men’s singles draw. Like Raonic, Kyrgios is a tall player with a fiery serve, the Australian registered 16 aces against Juan Monaco of Argentina in his second round 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-4 straight set win.

Bouchard laments loss, injury at Wimbledon

Over in the men’s doubles draw, 11th seed Daniel Nestor and Indian partner Leander Paes won their opening round match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 over the Serbian duo of Dusan Lajovic and Viktor Troicki.

Daniel Nestor and Leander Paes (far court) against Marc Lopez and Rafael Nadal of Spain at the Queen's Championship in London on June 18, 2015.

Daniel Nestor and Leander Paes (far court) against Marc Lopez and Rafael Nadal of Spain at the Queen’s Championship in London on June 18, 2015.

At a combined age of 84 (each man is 42), Nestor and Paes are as experienced as they come. Their win makes it two pairs involving a Canadian to the Wimbledon men’s doubles second round after Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock won on opening day. Adil Shamasdin has yet to see court but could make it three for Canada.

The order of play for Day 4 has yet to be posted at time of writing. Pospisil could potentially have a second round singles match against 30th seed Fabio Fognini when play resumes on Thursday.

Day 2 – June 30, 2015

Vasek Pospisil in action at Wimbledon in 2013.

Vasek Pospisil in action at Wimbledon in 2013.

Vasek Pospisil has two wins in as many days, but Eugenie Bouchard was bounced from Wimbledon in the first round after the second day of matches.

Pospisil beat Vincent Millot of France in five sets 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-3 in three hours and 43 minutes. The long match and deep dig for the win when down two sets to one is particularly impressive considering Pospisil played a doubles match a day earlier. The Canadian is now through to the second round in both men’s draws at Wimbledon.

Eugenie Bouchard at 2014 Wimbledon (Photo: Mauricio Paiz via Tennis Canada).

Eugenie Bouchard at 2014 Wimbledon (Photo: Mauricio Paiz via Tennis Canada).

On the women’s side, Canada’s lone singles player Bouchard played through an injury and but couldn’t hold off little-known Ying-Ying Duan of China, losing 7-6 (3), 6-4. The Canadian had reached the final at Wimbledon last year and is a crowd-favourite at her favourite tournament, however her season of struggle continues with an early exit.

On Wednesday, Milos Raonic will play in men’s singles second round, and Daniel Nestor with Indian partner Leander Paes will start their doubles tourney at Wimbledon. Adil Shamasdin, who is also competing in men’s doubles, has yet to see court.

Day 1 – June 29, 2015

Canadian players came away from the first day at 2015 Wimbledon Championships with a pair of wins and a loss.

Number seven seed Milos Raonic won his singles bout with Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain in four sets 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4) over two hours and six minutes.

Milos Raonic at Wimbledon 2014. Photo by Mauricio Paiz via Tennis Canada

Milos Raonic at Wimbledon 2014. Photo by Mauricio Paiz via Tennis Canada

After Raonic won the opening two sets, Gimeno-Traver made the most of a single break point by holding off Raonic to make the match more interesting. The Canadian – who had taken three service breaks from the Spaniard in the first two sets – had three more break point opportunities he couldn’t convert in the third. In the fourth set both players held serve forcing the tiebreak, where Raonic jumped out to a 5-0 lead helped by two mini-breaks, before putting Gimeno-Traver away 7-4.

In men’s doubles, Canadian Vasek Pospisil and American partner Jack Sock began defence of their Wimbledon title with a four-set victory over Australian Sam Groth and Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-1.

Jack Sock (left) & Canada's Vasek Pospisil win the 2014 Wimbledon men's doubles title. Photo via Tennis Canada. Photo: CP

Jack Sock (left) & Canada’s Vasek Pospisil win the 2014 Wimbledon men’s doubles title. Photo via Tennis Canada. Photo: CP

A clinical service game from Groth and Stakhovsky (along with saving four break points) in the first set put the defending men’s doubles champions on notice as the third seeded North American pair fell behind. In the next two sets, Pospisil and Sock were much cleaner, trading break points in the second and holding serve in the third before coming away with a pair of crucial tiebreak wins. The fourth set saw a noticeable drop in Groth and Stakhovsky’s service game, of which Pospisil and Sock took advantage registering two early breaks en route to a 6-1 win.

The news wasn’t so good for Gabriela Dabrowski in women’s doubles. With Polish partner Alicja Rosolska, Dabrowski was bounced in the first round by ninth seeded Casey Dellacqua (Australia) and Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon 2014. Photo: Mauricio Paiz via Tennis Canada

Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon 2014. Photo: Mauricio Paiz via Tennis Canada

Other Canadians yet to play at Wimbledon this year are Eugenie Bouchard in women’s singles and doubles, while Daniel Nestor and Adil Shamasdin will see action in men’s doubles with their respective partners in coming days.

Bouchard, who has secured the 12th seed, is scheduled to play Ying-Ying Duan of China on Tuesday in singles. Also hitting the court that day in men’s singles is Pospisil, facing Vincent Millot of France.