Wimbledon | Into the Last 8, Rybakina lines up Svitolina as Ostapenko takes on Krejcikova

The quarter-final line-up in the Ladies Singles was completed on Monday at The Championships, and among the 8 players who have emerged from the 128 that set out a week ago, there are some surprises.

I mean, I have the ability to hit the ball hard, so why shouldn't I use it? "I knew it wouldn’t be an easy match for Iga [against Putintseva in the 3rd round]. Especially because grass isn’t her favourite surface. I was ready for both opponents. I was just tasking to focus on my game and what I have to do. Jelena Ostapenko

Elena Rybakina, the 2022 champion, is the only previous winner of the Venus Rosewater Dish remaining, and also the highest ranked, while, in the lower half of the draw, resolved on Sunday, Jasmine Paolini, the 7th seed, is the only other player left out of the Top 10.

Anna Kalinskaya, the No 17 seed from Russia, started brilliantly from the get-go against Rybakina, taking the first point after a terrific all-court rally, and eventually breaking the Kazakh to love, but, from 3-1 down, the World No 4 reeled off the next 5 games in a row with her power plays.

Meanwhile, Kalinskaya received a medical time-out at 4-3 in the first set, and she ultimately lost the last 8 games of the match before retiring after only 53 minutes on court.

Rapidly rising to No 18 in the world, Kalinskaya started this year 7-0 against Top 10 players, but a right wrist injury on Monday cut short her efforts to advance to a first quarter-final at Wimbledon.

“I feel confident because I can see how I can play,” Kalinsakaya said afterwards. “I feel I improve. At the same time, right now, I’m frustrated about what happened [with the injury] because it’s very unexpected.”

She couldn’t hide her disappointment after her promising run had ended in such a brutal fashion, and the Russian later revealed that she had ‘a numb’ feeling in her wrist which had impacted her play.

During her medical time-out, the 25-year-old had her upper body checked while also getting treatment on her wrist.

She returned, but her level had dropped abruptly, and Rybakina went on to win 15 consecutive points in a row before the Russian retired, with the score standing at 6-3, 3-0 in favour of the Kazakh.

“It was affecting me a lot,” Kalinskaya said after the match. “My serve and the first ball, after the serve, because I was feeling a bit numb. It affected me quite a lot. I thought it would go away but it didn’t. So I decided to stop because I wasn’t feeling any better.

“It’s very frustrating and very sad. It’s probably my favourite tournament. But I’m a human and I can’t fully control my body. I have to accept it and just find out what’s going on right now, and just recover and try to prevent it in the future,” Kalinskaya added.

Monday’s win pushes Rybakina’s main-draw winning percentage at Wimbledon to 90%, which places her 3rd in the Open Era to register such a rate in the Ladies Singles draw, joining Ann Jones and Stefanie Graf.

“I didn’t know about these stats,” Rybakina said. “I know I’ve been winning a lot on grass. It’s nice to be next to these names with these statistics. Yeah, I think it’s great to be there, and really happy to show good tennis on grass.”

Rybakina continues to increase her strong showing at the grass-court major, where she is now 18-2 in her lifetime win-loss record here, and has made the quarter-finals for the last 3 years.

After defeating Ons Jabeur in the 2022 final, she fell to Jabeur in last year’s quarters.

Elina Svitolina easily beat Wang Xinyu and made an emotional statement on behalf of Ukraine on No 2 Court on Monday

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In the quarter-final Rybakina will meet Elina Svitolina, the No 21 seed from Ukraine, who had an emotional win against China’s Wang Xinyu, 6-2 6-1, on No 2 Court in just 55 minutes.

The Ukrainian slammed 21 winners, including 8 aces, to just 10 unforced errors, and she won 80% of her first-service points and saved all 3 of the break points she faced against Wang.

“It was a good performance from my side today,” Svitolina said as she fought back the tears. “It’s a very difficult day today for Ukrainian people.”

After a long pause, the two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist added: “It was not easy to focus on the match. Since the morning, it’s very difficult to read the news, just to go on the court… I’m happy I could play today and get a win.’

The 29-year-old wore a black ribbon, which was approved by Wimbledon, after a missile strike hit a children’s hospital in Kyiv killing at least 22 people, including 2 children.

“It was really difficult for me to really be here, in a way, and do anything. I just wanted to be in my room, just be there with my emotions, with everything,” she told the media later. “For us Ukrainians, it’s very close to our heart and a very sensitive topic, very sensitive emotions that we feel every single day.

“But today was one of the days where it was even more difficult because the missile landed on the hospital, the kids’ hospital. Straightaway you see the images and everything that happened there. So many kids lost their lives. Yeah, it’s extremely tough day today.”

Svitolina’s uncle, grandmother and more family and friends remain in Ukraine, with her father visiting in recent weeks, and she remains in contact with them every day.

“This is one of the things that motivated me today,” she continued. “I have to put my head down, and show up, and do my best, my very best. Every Ukrainian is using their own way to raise awareness, to raise money, to help in every possible way they can. My way is through tennis.

“This what’s really motivated me today to do something. I try to focus on my job and what I can control. Just do what I can. At least my win today was a small light that brought a happy moment for Ukrainian people. I got so many messages.”

Into her 3rd career Wimbledon quarter-final, Svitolina reached the semi-finals in 2019, and returned to the Last 4 last year after her maternity leave.

Rybakina and Svitolina have split their 4 previous meetings, with their last one coming at this year’s Roland Garros, which the Kazakh won in straight sets. She also won their only prior grass-court match, at 2021 Eastbourne.

“[Svitolina is] a tough opponent,” Rybakina said, looking ahead. “She reads the game well. She defends pretty good. Some slices here and there. It’s not going to be easy, of course. But if I play aggressive, I’m going to serve well, I have all the chances to win, of course. I will try to focus on myself and see how it goes.”

Asked whether she would shake Rybakina’s hand after their match, who had switched federations from Russia to Kazakhstan when she was 19, Svitolina replied: “She changed her nationality, so it means she doesn’t want to represent her original country, so it works.”

Jelena Ostapenko is well prepared and enjoying herself on the grass after thumping Yulia Putintseva in 68 minutes on No 1 Court on Day 8 of The Championships

© Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

Lining up the other quarter-final in the top half of the draw is Jelena Ostapenko, who raced through her encounter with giant-killer Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan, winning 6-2 6-3 in 68 minutes on No 1 Court.

The Latvian 13th seed has lost only 15 games in her first 4 rounds, and was merciless in her treatment of 35th-ranked Putintseva, who upset top seed Iga Swiatek in the previous round.

“I feel, like, I’m playing more my game, and, especially in deciding moments, I’m just going for the shots,” said Ostapenko, who thumped down 29 winners in the process. “I don’t care if I miss it!”

While the Latvian may have bagged the 2017 Roland-Garros title on clay, it is Wimbledon where she has consistently performed at her best, winning the girls’ title here in 2014, while she has reached at least the quarter-finals of the Ladies Singles on 3 occasions, in 2017, 2018 and now 2024.

“I think this tournament is very special with the traditions,” she told reporters. “It’s just when you come here, the atmosphere is completely different from any other Grand Slam. I feel like they, kind of, like me here.”

Ostapenko remained defiant in the face of suggestions from a journalist that she should play a safer brand of tennis.

“I mean, I have the ability to hit the ball hard, so why shouldn’t I use it?” The former WTA World No 5 responded.

Although she may have had good reason to worry about facing Putintseva, owing to the Russian’s brilliant display against Swiatek, the World No 1, the Latvian produced a masterclass that deservedly earned her a place in the quarters.

She also was well-prepared to face Swiatek as well, had the Pole beaten Putintseva.

“I knew it wouldn’t be an easy match for Iga [against Putintseva in the 3rd round],” she added. “Especially because grass isn’t her favourite surface. I was ready for both opponents. I was just tasking to focus on my game and what I have to do.”

Barbora Krejcikova (R) ended Danielle Collins' run at Wimbledon as the American heads towards her retirement at the end of this season

© Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

Ostapenko is ready for her next opponent too, another former French Open champion, Barbora Krejcikova, who beat an injured Danielle Collins, 7-5 6-3, in the American’s final Wimbledon appearance before her retirement.

The Czech, who won Roland Garros in 2021, took her time to overcome the 11th seed, who struggled with a leg injury during the second set, winning after an hour and 42 minutes.

Collins, who is retiring from tennis at the end of the season, lost 12 points in a row, dropping her serve with 2 double-faults, before taking a medical time-out off the court midway through the 5th game.

She returned with her left thigh heavily strapped, and won 2 more games, but was clearly in discomfort and the 28-year-old Czech broke her once more to win the match and reach her first Wimbledon quarter-final.

“It’s an advantage that I’ve played here a few times,” Krejcikova said. “Not so much in singles, but doubles a few times. It’s a magic place and it’s a dream to be here.

“It’s the first time I’m in the quarter-finals, so we’ll celebrate tonight, and have some good food. I’m going to prepare the best way, so I can get one step further.”

The former World No 2 has met Ostapenko on 7 occasions on the WTA Tour, and the Latvian leads their head-to-head 5-2.

Krejcikova can draw courage from the fact that her only face-off against Ostapenko on the Grand Slam stage went in her favour at the 2022 Australian Open, where the Czech came back from a set down to beat the Latvian in the 3rd round.

Ostapenko, however, beat Krejcikova on grass at Birmingham last year, and has looked very comfortable on the surface.

Anna Kalinskaya received medical attention during a break in her match against Elena Rybakina, and eventually had to retire

© Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com