Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The fearless, fabulous four!

When Wimbledon began, I thought Petra Kvitova would take home a third Venus Rosewater dish. But, barring that, I was looking at Serena Williams, Garbine Muguruza, Angie Kerber, and Alona Ostapenko as potential champions. Well, three of them are still standing. (A few weeks ago, I mentioned Julia Goerges as a dark horse, and--what do you know?).

Theoretically, Williams had the easiest job today, yet it took her three sets to defeat the hard-hitting Italian, Camila Giorgi. Giorgi was all over Williams in the opening set, winning it 6-3. But we know how this story goes: The seven-time champion found her game early in the second set, and that was pretty much that. She defeated Giorgi 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Giorgi wasn't the only hard hitter on the courts today. Two of them--Dominika Cibulkova and Alona Ostapenko--faced off in another quarterfinal. And Ostapenko, who has yet to drop a set at Wimbledon, emerged the winner, 7-5, 6-4. Ostapenko hit 33 winners and made 26 unforced errors. Her newly improved serve (it's always nice when you can tell a player has been working on weaknesses) helped her to hit five aces, too.

Close friends Kiki Bertens and Julia Goerges also played each other. Bertens lost her way a little in the second set and by the third, Goerges pulled away emphatically. Nevertheless, this has been a wonderful event for Bertens, and one in which she took out both Venus Williams and Karolina Pliskova. Goerges won the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. The tour's ace queen hit only three of them in this match. But she hit 36 winners and made only 21 unforced errors. She also had very respectable first/second serve percentages of 72 and 68.

Finally, Dasha Kasatkina and Angie Kerber played one of the finest matches of the tournament, so far. The Russian's ballet-like athleticism and the German's rugged athleticism clashed in ways that had the crowd "oohing" and "ahhing" throughout the match. It was beautiful to watch. Kerber won 6-3, 7-5, and--toward the end of the second set--Kasatkina went all Flavia Pennetta on her opponent and saved six match points with a series of stunning shots. At one point, the Russian fell down, but it didn't stop her from keeping the ball in play.

With all the woe-are-we talk about the upsets of the top seeds, we wound up with four very fine semifinalists--three who have won majors (one of them, a lot of majors), and one who has practically re-invented her entire career. Also, there are two Germans remaining in the draw, and that hasn't occurred in London in a very long time.

Here is the semifinal draw:
Alona Ostapenko (12) vs. Angelique Kerber (11)
Julia Goerges (13) vs. Serena Williams (25)

Now, on to the doubles draw. Top seeds Timea Babos (our new world number 1) and Kiki Mladenovic are still around, as are the 3rd seeds, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. And--so is the team of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova. This time last year, they were seeking a Career Slam at Wimbledon when Mattek-Sands fell and sustained a truly horrible knee injury.

The wheelchair draw is out, and top seed Diede De Groot will play Sabine Ellerbrock in the quarterfinals. In doubles, De Groot is paired with Yui Kamiji, and they are the top seeds.

Demi Schuurs didn't play women's doubles at this event, but you can bet she's still around--in mixed doubles. Schuurs and Jean-Julien Rojer have reached the quarterfinals.

Viewing the tournament this morning was so frustrating. Because one of the men's matches was held over, ESPN kept pulling away from the Cibulkova-Ostapenko match, which I really wanted to see. The problem was that it wasn't being shown on ESPN Plus. So I had the Kasatkina-Kerber match on my computer, but could watch the other match only when ESPN decided to show it to me. It was the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, but we weren't permitted to watch it all.

It's bad enough that the Wimbledon organizers put two quarterfinals on at the same time, but then ESPN makes it so that you can't watch them.

Also, someone needs to tell Chris Evert that Ostapenko won the junior Wimbledon title. She was amazed that Alona said she preferred playing on grass.

No comments: