Wimbledon‘s Center Court and No.1 Court were busy with women’s quarterfinals on Tuesday, as Serena Williams, Barbora Strycova, Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina progressed into the penultimate round of the tournament.
Chasing her eighth Wimbledon title, eleventh seed Serena Williams displayed a sluggish performance but managed to squeeze past fellow American Alison Riske 6-4 4-6 6-3, the world No.55 who had stunned top-ranked Ashleigh Bartyin the previous round.
Williams was twice coming back from a break down in the opening set, but after leveling to 4-4, the 23-time Grand Slam champion broke her opponent for the third straight time to take the set. The second set was a stark difference, as players fought hard but succeeded in holding serves until the 29-year-old Riske broke Williams to go 5-4 up before serving out to love to force a decider.
Interestingly, Riske is the first women’s player in the Open Era at Wimbledon to go three sets in all her matches leading up to and including the quarterfinals!Riske opened the third set by breaking Williams, and even though the 37-year-old perfectly responded with two straight breaks to go 3-1 up, Riske retained her perfect 5/5 break point conversion rate and kept the match competitive. However, at Williams’ 4-3 lead in the third set, Riske made a series of bad choices and eventually bought herself a ticket home by double-faulting on Williams’ break point.
Next up for Serena is the only unseeded semifinalist, Barbora Strycova, as the 54th-ranked Czech defeated British hope Johanna Konta 7-6(5) 6-1. The 33-year-old Strycova was contemplating retirement from singles after Wimbledon and now she’s through to her first Grand Slam singles semifinals:
It sounds crazy. It’s happening but I cant really believe it. I am extremely happy and my voice is shaking because I can’t believe it.
Opening Tuesday’s action on No.1 Court, No.7 Simona Halep, the highest seed left in the draw, faced a 1-4 deficit against Zhang Shuai in the first set and the Chinese even had four break points to go 5-1 up, but the former Romanian world No.1 succeeded in steeling the opening set and then stormed through the secondto reach the semifinals at Wimbledon for the first time since 2014, 7-6(4) 6-1.
Halep’s semifinal opponent will be Ukrainian eighth seed Elina Svitolina, who also survived a big first-set slip against surprise quarterfinalist Karolina Muchova, winning five straight games from 2-5 to 7-5. The world No.68 Muchova, who had played three hours and 17 minutes to beat compatriot Karolina Pliskova in the fourth round and win the longest ladies’ singles match at this year’s Wimbledon, opened the second set with a 2-0 lead, and just as we hoped for another entertaining performance by the Czech, the 22-year-old could not maintain her level and Svitolina advanced with a 7-5 6-4 victory even though her tennis was below par.
Tomorrow is a day off for the ladies, as gentlemen are playing their quarterfinal matches on Wednesday.