Alison Riske and Ashleigh Barty, Wimbledon 2019

All fourth round matches are traditionally played on the second Monday of the tournament, called Manic Monday. And as often in the women’s draw, upsets followed upsets as the three highest seeds left lost.

First, world number one Ashleigh Barty fell to Alison Riske. The unseeded American who’s enjoying a superb grass court season (wins in Surbiton and ‘S-Hertogenbosch) rallied from a set down to win 3-6 6-2 6-3. Barty had won her last 15 matches.

Then, Karolina Pliskova, winner in Eastbourne, lost to Karolina Muchova after a marathon match 6-4 5-7 11-13.

And finally, Johanna Konta prevailed over two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 4-6 6-2 6-4. She will face Barbora Strycova for a place in the semi-finals.

Simona Halep who ended Cori Gauff’s fantastic run in straight sets will face Shuai Zhang who had never won a match in her previous 5 appearances in London. This year she defeated Caroline Garcia and Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the quarter-finals.

Elina Svitolina and Serena Williams made a quick work of Petra Martic and Carla Suarez Navarro.

Ladies quarter-finals:
Alison Riske vs Serena Williams (11)
Barbora Strycova vs Johanna Konta (19)
Elina Svitolina (8) vs Karolina Muchova
Simona Halep (7) vs Shuai Zhang

Djokovic and Nadal made their way to the quarters dispatching Ugo Humbert and Joao Sousa respectively.
No problem either for Federer who ousted Matteo Berrettini, recent winner in Stuttgart, 6-1 6-2 6-2.

Kei Nishikori booked his place in the last eight with a four-set win over Kukushkin 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Mens quarter-finals:
Novak Djokovic (1) vs David Goffin (21)
Guillermo Pella (26) vs Roberto Bautista Agut (23)
Sam Querrey vs Rafael Nadal (3)
Kei Nishikori (8) vs Roger Federer (2)

More to follow…

Angelique Kerber

Laura Davis caused a massive upset today, sending defending champion Angelique Kerber packing in 3 sets 2-6 6-2 6-1. It’s a huge disillusion for the German, who had an excellent grass court season: a semifinal in Mallorca (l. to Bencic) and a final in Eastbourne (l. to Pliskova).

World number one Ashleigh Barty cruised past Alison Van Uytvanck to reach the third round. She will face British wildcard Harriet Dart next. 
Number 4 seed Kiki Bertens rallied back from match point down in the second set to defeat Taylor Townsend 3-6 7-6(5) 6-2, while 2-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova outplayed Kiki Mladenovic 7-5 6-2.
Serena Williams survived a first set scare to beat qualifier Kaja Juvan 2-6 6-2 6-4.

Photo credit: adidas

Belinda Bencic, Dubai 2019

Junior number one and Wimbledon junior champion in 2013, Belinda Bencic was seen by some as the next big thing in women’s tennis. And everything went as according to plan: she reached the top 50 and the quarterfinals of the 2014 US Open, aged 17. She then went on to claim her maiden title in Eastbourne, defeating Agnieszka Radwanska, and her first Premier 5 title in Toronto, defeating Serena Williams in the semifinals and Simona Halep in the championship match.
And then? Not much, despite an entry to the top 10 in 2016. Injuries followed injuries and her ranking subsequently dropped to number 199 in 2017. Her results slowly improved and this week, ranked 45, she captured her third title, her second Premier 5. On her way to victory, she defeated 4 top 10 players: number 9 Aryna Sabalenka (saving six match points), number 2 Simona Halep, number 6 and two-time defending champion Elina Svitolina, and number 4 Kvitova in the final.
Let’s hope for her she’s definitely back on track, after all she’s only 21.

Her opponent in the final, Petra Kvitova continues her impressive comeback, two years after the assault she suffered. Winner in Sydney, runner-up at the Australian Open, she defeated Katerina Siniakova, Jennifer Brady, Viktoria Kuzmova and Hsieh Su-wei en route to her third final of the year.

Petra Kvitova and Belinda Bencic, Dubai 2019

Photo credit: Marianne Bevis

Petra Kvitova and Magdalena Rybarykova, Birmingham 2018

Defending champion Petra Kvitova rallied from a set down to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova 4-6 6-1 6-2 and claim her fifth title of the season.
2-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova didn’t drop a set en route to the final, beating Johanna Konta, Daria Gavrilova, Julia Georges and Mihaela Buzarnescu. She is one of the big favorite to capture the Wimbledon trophy in 3 weeks time.

“I didn’t really expect to win here. I just played match by match, being very happy to be on the grass and the tennis court. For me, I’m surprised.”

It was also a great week for Rybarikova who defeated number 3 seed Karolina Pliskova, Kristina Mladenovic, qualifier Dalila Jakupovic and Barbora Strycova to advance to the second Premier tournament final of her career. The previous one being at the Connecticut Open in New Heaven in 2014 where she was beaten by … Petra Kvitova.

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova & Magda Rybarikova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Photo credit: Peter Menzel

Petra Kvitova, Birmingham 2017

2-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova suffered a career-threatening injury when she was attacked last December at her home in the Czech Republic by a knife-wielding attacker. She came back to competition at Roland Garros, where she beat Julia Boserup and lost to Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round. (Check out the recap of my 3 days at Roland 2017 ).

And in her second tournament of the year, back to the grass courts she cherishes, she defeated Tereza Smitkova, Naomi Broady, Kristina Mladenovic, Lucie Safarova to advance to the Birmingham final.
She rallied back from a set down to defeat Ashleigh Barty 4-6 6-3 6-2.

“I was nervous. It wasn’t the normal nerves as I had before. It’s my first final after such a long time, and it was a bit difficult to handle. I struggled a lot. It’s nice when you win and you’re playing well, but most of the times the best days are when you win even if you are not playing well. So I’m happy that I was able to win it anyway.”

Well done Petra and good luck for the rest of the season!

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Photo credit: Peter Menzel