Wimbledon 2018, Quarter-Final Previews: Kerber vs. Kasatkina, Ostapenko vs. Cibulkova

It’s a quick turnaround as Manic Monday is in the books and the women’s quarter-finals are up on Tuesday! The last eight will be back on court to contest the 2018 Wimbledon quarter-finals. For a recap of how things unfolded on Monday, check out my rolling live post HERE. I’ve got Tuesday afternoon to watch the matches and then that’s it for me for my Wimbleholiday! 

1. Angelique Kerber vs. Daria Kasatkina (Wimbledon, QF)

Angelique Kerber and Daria Kasatkina will add another chapter to their fascinating rivalry on tour in their most high profile match to date. The pair played just last week in Eastbourne and are currently tied at 3-3 in their head-to-head.

Kerber saved four set points to reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon with a 6-3 7-6(5) win over Belinda Bencic. Kerber is the only player this year to have reached at least the quarter-finals of all three Slams. This was a good match and Bencic’s growing confidence was apparent from her ultra-aggressive start. Bencic made 37 approaches to the net in this match, of which 26 were successful. The Swiss player threw in a few too many unforced errors at key moments, and couldn’t convert on her opportunities when serving for the second set. Kerber played a mostly solid match, showing intent to go down-the-line in the first set and serving the better of the pair in the deciding second set tiebreak.

Kasatkina played Alison Van Uytvanck for the second time in two weeks and the result was remarkably similar to their match in Eastbourne! Kasatkina rallied from a set down to win, 6-7(6) 6-3 6-2. Van Uytvanck played a pair of bold and successful serve and volleys to save a set point in the first set tiebreak. The Belgian player won the set on a Kasatkina double fault. Kasatkina didn’t panic and eventually wore down Van Uytvanck with bundles of variety and positivity. Van Uytvanck played a poor game up 7-6 *2-1 and ultimately never recovered as Kasatkina won 11 of the last 14 games to reach her first Wimbledon quarter-final.

Head-to-head: As alluded to above, Kerber and Kasatkina played just last week in Eastbourne. It was a bizarre but entertaining quarter-final match as Kerber won, 6-1 6-7(3) 7-6(3). I wrote about the match HERE. Kasatkina had won their previous match at Indian Wells in arguably her best performance of the entire year, allowing Kerber just two games.

Thoughts: If the match in Eastbourne is anything to go by then hold onto your nearest and dearest for this one! Kerber is the more comfortable and experienced player on grass. However, Kasatkina is clearly growing in confidence on this surface and i’ve been impressed with how positive she has been. Kasatkina has won 78% of points at the net this week and was an excellent 14 out of 16 for her match against Van Uytvanck. She hasn’t backed off from hitting her forehand.

Kerber’s serve and willingness to go down-the-line have been her greatest strengths this week. Her drop shots haven’t been quite as good (!) a tactic that didn’t work against Bencic, or against Kasatkina in Eastbourne.

I’m excited about this match and pretty close to being 50-50. Kasatkina struggled with the nerves and occasion in her first Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros last month. This will be her first match on Centre Court which does worry me! All in all, i’d probably give the edge on Slam and grass court experience to Kerber. Give it your best shot, Dasha! 🙂

2. Jelena Ostapenko vs. Dominika Cibulkova (Wimbledon, QF)

Jelena Ostapenko and Dominika Cibulkova have both yet to drop a set this week at Wimbledon. Something will have to give in this sure-to-be feisty quarter-final clash.

Ostapenko recovered from a slow start to beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 7-6(4) 6-0. Ostapenko was 2-5 and a double break down in the opener. She also received a code violation for coaching when a linesperson alerted the umpire. Ostapenko handled the situation admirably, winning 12 of 14 points and forcing a tiebreak which she then dominated. On the whole, Ostapenko has rebounded impressively from her first round defeat at Roland Garros last month.

Cibulkova defeated the giant-slayer, Hsieh Su-Wei, 6-4 6-1. The pair traded eight consecutive breaks of serve until Cibulkova finally held serve at 4-4 in the first set. There was a very controversial moment with Hsieh serving at *4-5. A shot from Cibulkova on Hsieh’s baseline was called out, but hawkeye showed it to be in. The point was given to Cibulkova. It was clear from the replay that Hsieh put the ball back into court. Hsieh argued the point and got the referee on court who ordered for the point to be replayed. Cibulkova was furious (she didn’t really have a right to be!).

The Slovak player was rattled for the first few points before settling down to break for the set with two fabulous forehands. Hsieh did manage to eek out a hold in the second set but the result was never really in doubt. An aggressive Cibulkova won the last nine points of the match and her forehand was 🔥.

Head-to-head: Cibulkova leads Ostapenko, 2-0 in their H2H with victories in Eastbourne (6-3 6-3, 2016) and Indian Wells (6-4 3-6 6-3, 2017)

Thoughts: Ostapenko and Cibulkova have been two of the most impressive players this week and I think this *could* be an absolute stunner. The serve will be crucial for both players as they each love to batter a second serve, perhaps even a first. While difficult to compare opponents, Cibulkova’s first serve percentage (66 to 59%) and second serve points won (55 to 45%) have both been better than Ostapenko during the tournament. Ostapenko’s serve though has looked much steadier during this tournament than normal.

Ostapenko will be the favourite. I think that that Cibulkova is a real dark horse in this draw though. She’s been playing so, so well and with buzz and intensity about her game again. Cibulkova as an underdog is a very dangerous thing. I’m going for Cibulkova in three sets.

3. Serena Williams vs. Camila Giorgi (Wimbledon, QF)

Serena Williams faces her toughest test of the tournament so far against the enigmatic and first time Slam quarter-finalist, Camila Giorgi.

Williams is into her first Slam quarter-final since giving birth to her first child in 2017. Williams is yet to drop a set and enjoyed a routine win on Manic Monday, beating fellow mother, Evgeniya Rodina, 6-2 6-2. It was a solid display from Williams who was never really pushed by Rodina. Williams’s serve has held up well, considering the chest muscle injury that she had at the French Open.

Giorgi is enjoying her best Slam run after a 6-3 6-4 win over the in-form, Ekaterina Makarova. Giorgi needed four match points serving for it at *5-4 and saved a break point. The Italian player was so aggressive in this match. It’s not often you see Makarova being the more defensive player on a tennis court! Following their general trends in the tournament, Giorgi was more willing to come forward to the net.

Head-to-head: Williams leads Giorgi, 3-0 and hasn’t dropped a set in their H2H. Their last match was a brutal first rounder at the Australian Open in 2016 where Serena had to start strong to see off Giorgi in straights, 6-4 7-5.

Thoughts: I think this could be a really tough match for Williams. Giorgi is one of the most aggressive players on tour and has always been capable of causing big upsets. The fact that they’ve played before means that Williams will know about the speed at which Giorgi plays and the power she possesses. There’s no doubt that Williams will be forced to play at a higher level than her fourth rounder against Rodina.

I think Giorgi will win a set in this match. Ultimately i’d favour Williams’s problem-solving skills, the serve and overwhelmingly superior experience at a Slam to prevail.

4. Julia Goerges vs. Kiki Bertens (Wimbledon, QF)

Julia Goerges and Kiki Bertens last played each other on the green clay of Charleston. Now they will square off on the green grass for a place in their first ever Wimbledon semi-final. Neither has enjoyed great success on the grass but belief must surely be growing for both right now…

Heading into this tournament, Goerges was 0-5 in last 16 Slam matches throughout her career. This was just the second time in six last 16 matches that Goerges went in as the higher ranked player. This time round, it all fell into place for Goerges as she beat Donna Vekic, 6-3 6-2 in 76 minutes. The nerves crept in for Goerges in the second set but she fought really hard to hold onto her serve at *3-1 (2 break points saved) and *4-2 (3 break points served) before breaking for the win.

Bertens backed up her win over Venus Williams with another top ten win on grass, holding her nerve to see off Karolina Pliskova, 6-3 7-6(1). Bertens controlled many of the rallies and played a fantastic first set. Bertens did lose her way and back off a tad in the second set but always remained in the lead with her reliable serve. The second set tiebreak was a battle of fine margins. Everything seemed to go Kiki’s way and she came through surprisingly comfortably to knock out the last remaining top ten seed in the draw.

Head-to-head: Bertens leads the H2H, 2-0 with her most recent win in the final of Charleston, 6-2 6-1. I wouldn’t read too much into the scoreline as both players had to play twice in one day.

Thoughts: I will be happy for whoever wins this match as Goerges and Bertens are two of the nicest women on tour. They’ve both had similar journies on the grass, struggling to play their best tennis on this surface. Before Wimbledon, both players had negative records on the grass – Goerges had a 15-18 W-L record and Bertens was 7-13 (via Tennis Abstract). Goerges was on a six match losing streak at Wimbledon before 2018!

Both players finally seem to be believing that they can play well on the grass. Tricky one to call as I think it could be a nervy affair with a semi-final at Wimbledon up for grabs. My instinct is that Bertens will take this.

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13 thoughts on “Wimbledon 2018, Quarter-Final Previews: Kerber vs. Kasatkina, Ostapenko vs. Cibulkova

  1. Thanks James for all your hard work in providing updates on Manic Monday ( I doubt that I am the only person who struggles to get the Bangles song out of their head whenever Manic Monday is mentioned ! ).

    Dasha won today but her opponent faded tamely in the 3rd set and seemed to lack strength and stamina which Kerber will not have a problem with. Dasha has played well previously against Kerber and I will be cheering for Dasha to win but I did not know until you mentioned it that this will be Dasha’s first appearance on Centre Court which is a slight concern for her chances. Kerber recently beat her on the grass at Eastbourne in a close match and I think that Kerber will win here.

    I did feel a bit sorry for Sasnovich in her match as she seemed to be cruising to a first set win until the controversy about Ostapenko getting coaching advice. I expected a furious arguement from Ostapenko with the Umpire but she did not get mad and explained herself calmy and accepted it. However it seemed to motivate her a lot ( and unsettle Sasnovich ) and Ostapenko then seemed to hit the ball even harder and more accurately than usual and went on to win the match easily. I think that her match against Cibulkova has the potential to be a classic and I do not want to miss it. Both players are fiery and not known for being sporting but I do find something strangely captivating about Ostapenko despite her occasional bad attitude and she could win this.

    Serena should beat Giorgi who may get overwhelmed by the occasion but I’d love it if Giorgi won. I think that Bertens will defeat Goerges but I am not confident as Goerges keeps surprising me and won well today when I expected her to lose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries, Peter! Really enjoyed Manic Monday.

      Was worried about Dasha playing CC for first time but she was very positive in press about it (actually wished it would happen – this was before it had been announced she was playing CC) and no concerns, at least on the surface, about the occasion. Well pointed out about Ostapenko. She dealt with the coaching call so professionally and she did say in press that it spurred her on.

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  2. I didn’t see Domi’s match with Hsieh so can’t really comment, but I know she’s taken a lot of flak on social media for the way she handled the contested point mentioned above. The strong consensus seems to be that she was in the wrong and was trying to claim a point she didn’t actually win. Here’s the view of Simon Cambers, who writes for the Guardian;

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    • From watching her press conference I think I understand at least what she is trying to say. She has had many occasions where she and others have been affected by an incorrect decision in this moment and they have had to accept it. She was unhappy with the changing of the decision in this instance. I don’t agree and it’s not like she lost the point.

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      • Once bitten twice shy, that’s how she feels now. I have known Domi to brush these things off before, but it seems she feels she’s been twice wronged now. There will always be inconsistencies in umpire rulings and this is one of them. However, the umpire got it wrong if we are going by the book. I think the decision was also influenced by the crowd’s chants. It gave Su-Wei further comfort to stand her ground. A replay was fair in my opinion. Cibulkova raised her game after, shame it took some momentum out of Hsieh’s fight.

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    • It’s no shock that Cibulkova is a poor sport. She’s one of the worst for how she acts on court. I loathe to see her doing well to be honest. Hope Ostapenko crushes her.

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  3. I second Peter’s comments about all the hard work Moo puts in on this site.

    I don’t like the early matches and the later matches starting at the same time, which forces the fans to only be able to see one match.

    Cib vs Hsieh — bad umpire call. The Cib protested a little, but IMO it wasn’t overly done. Hsieh, being the wronged party, protested much more vigorously, and was correct in doing so.
    This situation has happened several times before, where the chair gets involved in pushing the computer game buttons and has short term memory loss of the point. This could be rectified by giving the Chair a computer(tv) tablet, so the Chair could review the last point and end the controversy very quickly.

    Know-it-all Bookies picks
    Bertens vs Goerges even
    Ostapenko over Cibulkova slight favorite
    Kerber over Kasatkina favorite
    S Williams over Giorgi big favorite

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      • Especially after what happened in the Djokovic v Edmund match the other day. I think that may have been the worst call I have ever witnessed: Edmund ran down a drop shot and hit it after the second bounce, threw his racket AND the ball landed out. And he won the point!

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  4. 😳 Upon rewatch, I have to admit I’m still none the wiser as to winners going forward. But, I’m glad to see Belinda playing happy and healthy again. it’s a fairly balanced match-ups.

    Cibulkova is basically an avenger 🙂 now, this might actually see her through to the finals. It’s also a knife edge too, and if not careful it can cloud her vision. Seeing as Ostapenko was also able to raise her game in her previous match, it may come done to who is less error prone.
    Belinda was a good preparation for Kerber because Kasatkina is a better version in my opinion. I think Kerber will get this but it may not be easy. As easy and as calm as she is taking things, I know Daria knows there is so much more to gain here than at Eastbourne.
    Gorges against Bertens is a real toss up for me. Bertens probably had to work the hardest to get through her last match. I feel Gorges is laying down more firepower than Pliskova did. Karolina was rather subdued this tournament by her high standards. My Heart is with Bertens so I wilI just leave it at that.
    Williams looked great, but Rodina was also an ailing challenger. Giorgi has the weapons to fight and can be a very stubborn opponent to counter sometimes. It just comes down to trust, I can bank on Serena here but don’t know which Giorgi will show up.

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  5. Pingback: Wimbledon 2018, Quarter-Final Previews: Kerber vs. Kasatkina, Ostapenko vs. Cibulkova – Comparama

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