This post features three snap previews for 4th round matches from the bottom half of the draw including Venus Williams vs. Ana Konjuh, Elina Svitolina vs. Jelena Ostapenko and Johanna Konta vs. Caroline Garcia. These will all be played on Monday in what is shaping up to be a magnificent slate of matches. For a full detailed match preview of Simona Halep vs. Victoria Azarenka, click HERE. For a recap of Saturday’s third round action from the bottom half, click HERE.
1. Venus Williams vs. Ana Konjuh
Youth will take on experience as the number 27 seed, Ana Konjuh will play her first ever fourth round match at Wimbledon against the number 10 seed and five-time Wimbledon champion, Venus Williams.
On Saturday, Konjuh upset the the number eight seed, Dominika Cibulkova, 7-6(3) 3-6 6-4. Konjuh came from 1-5 down in the first set and saved two set points at *5-6, producing a great serve on the latter. In the ensuing tiebreak, Konjuh produced a trio of sensational backhand winners, finishing with the best of the lot. Konjuh’s shotmaking was special in this match and there was a forehand crosscourt winner early on in the second set that blew my mind! Still, Konjuh was erratic at times and Cibulkova, who saved six break points in a ten-deuce game (!) to consolidate her early break, won the second set.
Konjuh caught another hot streak at the start of the third set to quickly go up 4-0. The Croatian player wobbled serving for the match at *5-2 – Cibulkova sensed the nerves and began to pounce. Konjuh was able to find some big serves, and benefit from a loose error by Cibulkova in the net, to serve out the win at the second time of asking.
Williams’s experience prevailed as she edged past Naomi Osaka in two tight sets, 7-6(3) 6-4 in an entertaining match on No.1 Court. The first set was decided on the tiebreak with Osaka making a sensational start with three wonderful winners. Williams responded with a virtual tiebagel, winning the next seven points. Williams needed just the one break of serve in the second set with Osaka missing big on a volley in that particular game.
Williams is getting her chance to test out the array of up-and-coming talent on the WTA tour this week and this will be another first time match-up against Konjuh. There is no doubt that Konjuh has the power to go toe-to-toe with Williams. Less clear is whether Konjuh has the consistency to keep it up for two sets. Based on how she has had to raise her game in three challenging matches, i’d fancy Venus’s experience again to be the deciding factor.
2. Elina Svitolina vs. Jelena Ostapenko
In the only match-up from the bottom half that has gone entirely with the seedings, the number four seed, Elina Svitolina faces the number 13 seed and French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko.
Svitolina arrived at Wimbledon with concerns over an achilles injury. Considering she played just two matches on the grass in Birmingham, Svitolina has done extremely well to break new ground and reach the fourth round of Wimbledon for the first time in her career. On Saturday, Svitolina beat Carina Witthoeft in straight sets 6-1 7-5. After dancing through the first set, Svitolina faced some resistance from the German player who served for the second set at 5-4. The Ukrainian player responded positively and won the final three games of the match.
Ostapenko is also into the fourth round of Wimbledon for the first time in her career after a battling display to beat Camila Giorgi, 7-5 7-5. The Italian player served for both sets at *5-3, but was shaky on both occasions. Ostapenko, who generally dealt well with Giorgi’s depth and pace, grabbed her opportunity with aplomb as she won the last four games of the first set and the last five games of the second set.
This will be another first-time match-up. Ostapenko won her first straight sets match in nine against Giorgi having played eight consecutive three setters, winning seven of them! Ostapenko has become a mental giant and surprisingly, based on recent first-time Slam winners, has looked very impressive since her first Slam win at Roland Garros and continued to build confidence. Ostapenko will go after her shots, that’s a given. Considering that Svitolina is not 100% and grass seems to favour Ostapenko, I think this is going to be a tough ask for Svitolina to get through this one.
3. Johanna Konta vs. Caroline Garcia
In a rematch from Indian Wells earlier this year, Johanna Konta and Caroline Garcia will be bidding to reach their first ever Wimbledon quarter-final on Monday.
After surviving a three set, three-hour-and-10-minute marathon against Donna Vekic in the second round, Konta had a much comfortable win in the third round – the Brit beat Maria Sakkari in straight sets, 6-4 6-1. Garcia has yet to drop a set this week and she navigated her way past the always-tricky, Madison Brengle, 6-4 6-3. Garcia served well, landing 67% of first serves in and winning 73% of points behind it. She was increasingly successful in her advances to the net, which was the key factor in the outcome of this match – Garcia won 21 of 27 points up at the net.
The pair are tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head with Garcia winning their most recent match at Indian Wells, 3-6 6-3 7-6(1). Serve prevailed during the third set and it was Garcia who raised her performance level to play a superb final set tiebreak. Garcia’s run to the quarter-finals of the French Open seems to have been a game-changer. However, i’m still intrigued to see how she will handle this match where the crowd will obviously be rooting for Konta. While Garcia’s game matches up well to Konta, i’m leaning more towards the Brit, who has done a great job at handling the pressure and expectation at this tournament.