Monday, July 9, 2018

Bertens defeats Pliskova and advances to Wimbledon quarterfinals

The Charleston trophy has always served as somewhat of a good luck charm for its champions. And now that good luck (as well as a lot of hard work and great tennis) has brought together the 2018 finalists in a way we might not have anticipated: Champion Kiki Bertens and runner-up Julia Goerges will meet in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

Bertens, having already defeated Venus Williams in the third round, took out 7th seed Karolina Pliskova (the last of the top 10 seeds) today in the round of 16. Bertens out-served the Czech, which isn't usually easy to do, and used all of her variety and new-found grass acumen to defeat Pliskova in straight sets.

Meanwhile, Goerges defeated Donna Vekic, also in straight sets.

In Charleston, Goerges played almost flawlessly, and seemed to be on a clear track to win the title. But she arrived very flat for the final (she later said she was really tired) and Bertens--made easy work of her. Bertens' victory was especially dramatic because, due to a rain dealy, she had to play a grueling semifinal that same day. Bertens said later that, after winning that semifinal, she was determined not to lose her last match.

The only player who needed three sets to win today was Dasha Kasatkina, who defeated Alison Van Uytvanck. Van Uytvanck got off to a very good start, winning the first set in a tiebreak, but then proceeded to make too many errors.

Dominika Cibulkova--doing pretty well without that seed--defeated Hsieh Su-wei, and Camila Giorgi defeated Ekaterina Makarova,  And then there was this:

Alona Ostapenko defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6, 6-0. Ostapenko's serve, by the way, has improved tremendously, which makes things interesting.

Seven-time champion Serena Williams, looking like she hasn't taken even a  month off, beat Evygniya Rodina in just over an hour. And then there was 11th seed Angie Kerber, the 2016 runner-up. Kerber defeated Belinda Bencic 7-6, 6-3 in a match that was entertaining to watch. Both players wound up with good winner/unforced error ratios, and it's been nice to see Bencic back in form.

Here is the quarterfinal draw:
Dominika Cibulkova vs. Alona Ostapenko (12)
Daria Kasatkina (14) vs. Angelique Kerber (11)
Kiki Bertens (20) vs. Julia Goerges (13)
Serena Williams (25) vs. Camila Giorgi

This is the first time that Goerges and Giorgi have ever been in a major quarterfinal.

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