‘Bellissima Giorgi’ is exciting fans but trying to keep under radar

Italy's Camila Giorgi will play Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. Pic: AP/Tim Ireland
Italy's Camila Giorgi will play Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. Pic: AP/Tim Ireland
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And then there were none. The relentless bloodbath in the women’s singles continued yesterday as the last remaining top-ten seed, Karolina Pliskova, was summarily removed. New and intriguing names were pushed forward by their supporters, and none as lustily than the excitable fan club of Camila Giorgi, writes Aidan Smith.

“Brava! … Boom, boom! … Ah Camila!” The cries of a gaggle of young Italian men for their favourite boomed round Court 12 whenever she returned to her chair near them. In the blazing hot sunshine it was like being on a beach on the Adriatic Riviera and listening to the local volleyballers voice their approval at a pretty girl happening past.

When the 26-year-old smashed home a forehand to beat Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-4, the shout was “Bellissima!”

Giorgi doesn’t give much away during matches. She maintains the poker face of Chris Evert throughout. But she allowed herself a smile at that, and about the prospect of a quarter-final today against Serena Williams.

It was a cool performance from Giorgi as everyone else got overheated. When her serve was threatened, she stayed composed. A diminutive figure, her shots have got considerable welly. The one time she lost it her racket was hurled back to the baseline and that, too, was with impressive clout.

Giorgi doesn’t give much away in the interview room either. Asked to describe herself as “a player and a person”, she said: “I don’t know. I don’t like to talk about myself.” Eventually, she chose “aggressive” to describe her style but, when complimented on her “fearlessness” in the match, she thought “very consistent” summed it up better.

Maybe Giorgi is hoping to continue flying under the radar but that is impossible now, especially since she’s playing Williams. Asked what she most admired about the 23-times Slam champ, Giorgi said: “I don’t follow tennis, women’s tennis. I will be focused on my game.” This was a vain attempt to play down the significance of the quarter-final, which will be lost on her fan club.

Understandably, “Tell us about yourself” was popular all day. “It’s a tough question,” admitted Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova, before she too opted for “aggressive”. Her 6-4, 6-1 victory over Hsieh Su-Wei produced an extraordinary blow-up when her Taiwanese opponent challenged a line call.

It was one of the longest disputes seen at Wimbledon, with Hsieh demanding the referee’s intervention. “Replay the point!” the crowd kept shouting and eventually it was, but this couldn’t help the giant-killer beat the girl who’d controversially lost out on a seeding by Williams’ return.

Germany’s Julia Goerges, who overcame Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-3, 6-2, was another experiencing the quarter-final glare for the first time. And how would she describe herself? “Pretty aggressive.”