The last ever Manic Monday is officially in the books. Normally the schedulers lump the women’s matches on first and there’s five or six going on at the same time when play begins on Centre Court and No.1 Court. This year though they spread the women’s matches out which was great to have less clashes. However, the disadvantage of this was having the Raducanu-Tomljanovic match not starting until 8pm when the winner has to play tomorrow! And such an unfortunate ending 😥. Eight players remain in the draw and I still ain’t got a scooby who is winning this. Read on for my diary from Manic Monday…
Day 7️⃣ Highlights
(21) Ons Jabeur d. (7) Iga Swiatek, 5-7 6-1 6-1
In what looked like the closest match on paper and the most difficult to pick out a winner, Ons Jabeur came from a set down for the second straight match and won 12 of the last 14 games to beat Iga Swiatek. Rebecca Peterson, Venus Williams, Garbiñe Muguruza and Swiatek. That’s one hell of a draw that Ons has navigated to reach her first Wimbledon quarter-final!
I thought Jabeur was the better player in all three sets and should have won the first. Jabeur led 5-3* 30-0*, wasting an opening on Swiatek’s serve with some mis-timed drop shots. Swiatek was in and out during the first set but really raised her level at the end, playing two fantastic games to steal the opener. Swiatek made a poor start to the second set and never recovered, mistiming a lot of balls and ineffective on serve. It was remarkably similar to Swiatek’s loss in Eastbourne against Kasatkina where she played well to win the opening set and then won just one more game.
Jabeur was fantastic in the final two sets. Jabeur was serving at over 70% of first serves in during the final two sets and lost just three points behind it during this period. Jabeur was continually thwarted by Muguruza in the last round on break points. Well this time round, it was Jabeur’s turn to be the thwarter (not sure that’s a word 😂) as she saved 12 of 15 break points and was a perfect seven on seven on her own conversions.
As expected, Jabeur-Swiatek was a very compelling match. It was more flashes of brilliance than sustained. The highlight of the match was the last five games of the first set where both players hit unbelievable hot shots! (see later in the post).
(25) Angelique Kerber d. (20) Coco Gauff, 6-4 6-4
Angelique Kerber reached her first Slam quarter-final since she won Wimbledon back in 2018! This was a mighty fine display from Kerber, her best of the tournament so far. I can’t help thinking back to the start of the season in Dubai where Kerber was completely out-of-sorts. I don’t think I could have imagined this return to form, even on her beloved grass.
This was a very enjoyable match. I think the key dynamic was Kerber being able to expose Gauff’s forehand. Kerber hit some astonishing angles and held tough herself when pulled out wide. Gauff kept knocking on the door in the second set with service holds. The American player had two break points at 3-4 but was unable to convert.
Too good from Kerber. I sensed from Gauff’s body language at the end that she acknowledged this as the pair shared a nice exchange at the net.
(1) Ash Barty d. (14) Barbora Krejcikova, 7-5 6-3
Ash Barty snapped Barbora Krejcikova’s incredible 15 match winning streak to reach the last eight at Wimbledon for the first time in her career!
Is there anyone better on tour than Barty at staying calm and in the present when up against it? Down *2-4 and facing break points against a fast-starting, Krejcikova, Barty never panicked. She found her serve in the nick of time and having struggled to gain traction in Krejcikova’s service games, increasingly chipped back deep returns at Krejcikova’s feet. Barty won five of the last six games to take the opener.
There were some wonderful points in the second set which was much tighter than the scoreline suggested. Krejcikova demonstrated impressive staying power. Barty was in it for the long haul and was very patient in the rallies, increasingly coming out on top with Krejcikova the more error-prone of the pair. It was fun to see Krejcikova take it to Barty with slices of her own. We haven’t seen many players try that!
Barty’s level is still not quite there but she’s competing superbly and seemingly playing her way into form. A hearty congrats to Krejcikova who had a fantastic tournament. Loved to see Ash’s celebration at the end. Big win!
(19) Karolina Muchova d. (30) Paula Badosa, 7-6(6) 6-4
Two appearances at Wimbledon. Two quarter-finals for Karolina Muchova! Muchova rallied from a subdued start and 3-5 down in the first set to force a tiebreak. Badosa was unfortunate to have a slip at 5-3 which seemed to throw her off her rhythm when serving for the set.
Muchova looked to have found her stride but then her forehand completely faltered in the first set tiebreak with four errors off that wing in the space of five points. Badosa’s 5-2 lead in the tiebreak quickly became 5-5. It was a very tense tiebreak and the quality was not the best! Muchova won the set thanks to a double fault from Badosa at 6-6 and then some sterling defence on her set point. After losing her first break in the second set, Muchova won the last two games with some extraordinary defence in the final game, finishing with two lobs that just caught the baseline.
I don’t feel like Muchova is playing close to her best level. This was another flat start and she was passive in places. However she is mananging these matches in such a calm and contained manner, coming through against four big hitters in Zhang, Giorgi, Pavs and Badosa. Tough draw coming up but Muchova is not to be underestimated.
(2) Aryna Sabalenka d. (18) Elena Rybakina, 6-3 4-6 6-3
One of the stats doing the rounds of late is that Aryna Sabalenka was the only top 20 player who had never reached a Slam quarter-final. I’m happy for Aryna that that stat is now redundant as she finally broke new ground and made it into the last eight of Wimbledon!
This was the third time that Sabalenka and Rybakina have played each other. This was the third time they have gone three sets. This was the third time that Sabalenka has won! I felt like this match was mostly decided on serve. I’d written in my previews about how well Rybakina had been serving at this tournament. The first serve was excellent again but Sabalenka tore into the second serve with Rybakina winning just 29% of points behind it.
Sabalenka was much steadier on serve and saved the lone break point she faced in the third set. It was a shame to see Rybakina fall away so rapidly at the end as Sabalenka won the last 12 points of the match.
Viktorija Golubic d. (23) Madison Keys, 7-6(3) 6-3
On paper, this might look like a rough loss for Madison Keys. Viktorija Golubic though has quietly had a great year and I thought she played a phenomenal match. Golubic’s stats tell the main story here – 28 winners to 9 unforced errors!
Golubic twice failed to serve out the first set at 5-2 and missed a set point with Keys flashing a forehand winner into the corner. Keys forced a tiebreak where Golubic peaked including a GLORIOUS backhand winner and a sumptious forehand passing shot winner. Keys played an OK match and kept fighting, managing to hold a nine-deuce service game at 1-4 in the second set. It was to no avail though as Golubic never looked like relinquishing control of the match.
Gutted for Madison. A deserved win for Viktorija who is into her first Slam quarter-final! Golubic is now 43-12 for the year.
(8) Karolina Pliskova d. Liudmila Samsonova, 6-2 6-3
Karolina Pliskova completed her career of Slam quarter-finals with the most one-sided completed result of the day. After a shaky start, Pliskova served well, won all the big points and generally played a very solid match. Samsonova’s great form and 10 match winning streak came to a rather abrupt halt with an error-strewn display of 25 unforced errors. Despite the loss, still a fantastic run from Samsonova who will be one to watch for next year’s grass court season.
Ajla Tomljanovic d. Emma Raducanu, 6-4 3-0 ret.
The day ended on a real bummer as Emma Raducanu was forced to retire midway through the second set against Ajla Tomljanovic. After a very nervy start from both players, it blossomed into an excellent first set. Raducanu had break point openings at 3-3 and 4-4. I have to say that I underestimated Tomljanovic in this one. She settled into her groove, played the break points well and gave away very few free points in the final games of the set. In another lengthy game of longgg rallies, Tomljanovic broke for the set.
I noticed Raducanu catching her breath and holding her stomach at the start of the second set. Raducanu had the physio and doctor on court at the next changeover and appeared in distress. Raducanu went off court for a MTO and never returned 😥. Those points at the end of the first set were brutal. It must have been such an overwhelming situation to deal with and I doubt waiting all day to get on court was ideal. I just hope Emma is OK. I’m sad on all counts with Raducanu not able to finish the match and Tomljanovic not able to get her celebratory moment as this is a big deal, advancing to the quarters of a Slam for the first time in her career.
Hot shots 🔥
A pair of hot shots from Jabeur and Swiatek – a forehand drop volley by Jabeur, followed by an audacious around-the-net post scoop by Swiatek on a pretty damn good drop shot return by Jabeur!
Funny moment 🤣
Loved this reaction to catching a ball haha!
Snap of the day 📸
Recommended reading 📚
Really enjoyed this piece by Alex Macpherson for the WTA with some stories from around the grounds from week 1.
Day 8 watchlist 📺
Thoughts about the quarter-finals will go up on the separate page on Tuesday here.
(19) Karolina Muchova vs. (25) Angelique Kerber 😍😍😍
(2) Aryna Sabalenka vs. (21) Ons Jabeur
(1) Ash Barty vs. Ajla Tomljanovic