‘Manic Monday’ Women’s Preview



Originally published on 09/07/17 00:00

Angelique Kerber (GER) [1] v Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [14]

This is a blockbuster clash between two former finalists.

Kerber battled back from a precarious position to defeat Shelby Rogers and reach the round of sixteen at the All England Club for a fourth time. It was gritty performance from the top seed however she is still nowhere near her best form.

The German, who must keep winning to have a chance of maintaining top spot in the rankings after Wimbledon, has not defeated a top 20 player this year. The US Open champion has had a season to forget but victory over Muguruza would provide her with a timely confidence boost.

Kerber may have had a fraught route through to the second week, but Muguruza has eased into the business end of the tournament without conceding a set.

The Spaniard has beaten Kerber in three of their five previous meetings – including at Wimbledon in 2015 – and she is beginning to reproduce her best form. The 23-year-old has the firepower to unsettle her latest opponent and this match is on her racket.

Prediction: Muguruza in three

Victoria Azarenka (BLR) v Simona Halep (ROU) [2]

Azarenka did well to overcome Heather Watson and a vociferous Centre Court crowd on Friday afternoon. It was a gutsy display from the Belarusian, but it was her least impressive showing of the Championships.

The 27-year-old made too many unforced-errors against the British No.2 and her shots lacked the fizz that propelled her into the Grand Slam winners club.  

Halep, who could become the new world No.1 if she keeps winning in SW19, has made a steady start to her campaign. The French Open finalist has lost two of three previous meetings with Azarenka but she is the favourite to progress.

Prediction: Halep in three

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) [13] v Elina Svitolina (UKR) [4]

Unlike in the men’s tour, the next generation in the women’s game is beginning to make an impression. This is the first meeting between the two players however it’s unlikely to be the last.

Ostapenko, the French Open champion, is on a ten match winning run at Grand Slam level. The Latvian has had little trouble adapting to life as a major champion and she is a legitimate contender to complete an unlikely double next weekend.

Svitolina, into the fourth round for the first time, was a fitness doubt prior to the tournament but she appears strong and has improved with every match. The Ukrainian has won more matches than any other player on the WTA tour this season – bagging four titles in the process – and success at a major event is the next target.

This is a fascinating match-up between two players with contrasting styles. It’s a classic case of the attacker versus the defender and it’s a tough one to call.

Prediction: Ostapenko in three

Coco Vandeweghe (USA) [24] v Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [5]

The pair have met twice before – but never on grass – and Wozniacki has won both encounters.

Wozniacki showed she has lost none of her fighting qualities as she battled back to eliminate Anett Kontaveit at the third round stage. The Estonian served for the match twice against the former world No.1 but she faltered on each occasion and suffered the consequences.

It’s been an excellent 2017 season for the Dane but she has toiled at Wimbledon so far. The 26-year-old, who celebrates her birthday on Tuesday, has been out-of-sorts for much of the tournament and she is fortunate to still be involved.

In contrast, Vandeweghe has sauntered through to the last sixteen. The American has yet to drop a set and she tends to save her best tennis for the grass-court season.

Prediction: Vandeweghe in two

Johanna Konta (GBR) [6] v Caroline Garcia (FRA) [21]

Konta is bidding to become the first British female to reach the last eight since Jo Durie in 1984.  The No.6 seed is finally enjoying a deep run at Wimbledon but she will be wary of her talented French opponent.

Garcia, into the last sixteen at the All England Club for the first time, is yet to concede a set in the tournament and she has quietly gone about her business. The Frenchwoman possesses significant weaponry and she is finally beginning to achieve the results a player of her quality should.

Prediction: Konta in three

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [9] v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) [7]

These two veterans have met 17 times before and the Russian has won on 13 occasions.

Radwanska, who has been battling injuries and poor form for much of the campaign, showed glimpses of her best against Timea Bacsinszky on Saturday. The Pole finished the match with a flurry of winners and she will go in search of her first top 10 win of the season against the Russian.

Kuznetsova has eased into the last sixteen and she will hope to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in nine years.

Prediction: Kuznetsova in three

Ana Konjuh (CRO) [27] v Venus Williams (USA) [10]

The oldest player left in the women’s draw, takes on the youngest.

Williams has been enjoying her 20th Wimbledon campaign and she is looking to become the oldest player to reach the quarter-finals since Martina Navratilova in 1994. The 37-year-old has had off-court matters to deal with while in London, but she is still contention to win a sixth title at the All England Club.

Konjuh has reached the last sixteen for the first time and she ousted the No.9 seed, Dominika Cibulková, at the second round stage.

Prediction: Williams in three

Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) v Petra Martic (CRO)

Rybarikova backed up her outstanding victory over Karolina Pliskova by thrashing Lesia Tsurenko for the concession of just three games.

Martic, ranked No.153, has been the surprise package in the women’s event and she was nearly eliminated at the qualifying stage. In the final match before the main draw, the Croatian had to save six match-points before eventually overcoming Aleksandra Krunióö.

Prediction: Rybarikova in two


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