Novak Djokovic's day-late victory, Jo Konta makes history, Venus Williams defies her age and more on the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
LONDON – Five thoughts on five matches on Tuesday at Wimbledon.
It occurred a day later than he had hoped, but Novak Djokovic rolled into the quarterfinals. At his Djokovic-i-est he had little issue with French lefty Adrian Mannarino. Djokovic played himself out of patchy second-set tiebreaker and then rolled 6-2, 7-6, 6-4. He could have played Monday night. He should have played Monday night. But his easy win on Tuesday should not impact his freshness against Tomas Berdych…against whom he is 25-2.
Read on for more thoughts on the women’s quarterfinals.
Venus Williams played her 100th singles match at Wimbledon on Tuesday. Even allowing for her age and the year she made her debut—37 and 1997 respectively—that’s an astoundingly high win total.
In the quarterfinals, she showed why it is she averages more than five rounds won per year. Pitted against French Open champ Jelena Ostapenko—a third straight opponent born in 1997—Venus served masterfully, played big points like the veteran she is and closed with authority 6-3, 7-5. Now, 17 years removed from the first, she moves within two matches from authoring a sixth Wimbledon title and the story of the tournament.
On Monday, Jo Konta became the first British woman to reach the Round of Eight since Jo Durie did it in 1984. On Tuesday, Konta became the first British woman to reach the semis since Virginia Wade in 1978. She did so by outfighting Simona Halep, the No. 2 seed, in perhaps the match of the tournament, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4. Konta is now two wins from becoming the first British female to win since Wade in 1977.
Pity Halep for a moment. At the French Open she was a few points from winning her first major before capitulating in the finals. Today she was a few points from taking over the top ranking before capitulating. The top honor goes instead to Karolina Pliskova, who lost in round two (to Rybarikova) but must be happier (and wealthier) today.
After losing at the French Open—failing to defend her title—Spain’s Garbine Muguruza deemed it a disguised blessing. She was now unburdened and could start amassing points afresh. It sounded like a rationalization. But maybe she was on to something.
Through five rounds at Wimbledon, Muguruza has looked like future No.1 and clear title contender; not a player in search of confidence and motivation. The latest victim of Mugu’s Wimbledon campaign: Svetlana Kuznetsova. Playing points and mindset with equal aplomb, she rolled to a straight set win setting up a Thursday date with…..
Magdalena Rybarikova. The World No. 87 kept her breakthrough campaign going with a surprisingly (inexplicably?) easy 6-3, 6-3 win over America’s CoCo Vandeweghe, the 24th seed.
The two met in the French Open and Rybarikova won her patient play. She won again today by letting Vandeweghe miss (she had eight errors to CoCo’s 30) and taking advantage of her opportunities.