Five time former champion Venus Williams has ended the run of the reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia with a comprehensive 6-3, 7-5 win on center court. The 37 year old American broke serve in the second game and raced through the first set in just 30 minutes. She would get an early break in the third game of the second set, but the 20 year old Ostapenko fought back before Williams got another break in the eleventh game and served out the match at love.
She next faces the Briton Johanna Konta who came from a set down to the delight of the home crowd to upset the second seeded Simona Halep of Romania, 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-4 in two hours and thirty eight minutes in the second match on center court. There was only one break of serve each in the opening set and none in the second. The sixth seeded Konta got the lone break of serve in the fifth game and held her serve to 15 in the tenth game ending Halep’s hope of being ranked number one at the end of the tournament. Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who lost to Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round will now be the 23rd woman to be rated no. 1 in the WTA rankings to be released next Monday.
The unseeded Rybarikova of Slovakia, ranked 87th in the world, and in only her third tournament after returning from an injury layoff, beat the American Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-3 on court no. 1 in one hour and fourteen minutes. Up next is the 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain. The fourteenth seeded Muguruza, who was also runner up here in 2015, upset the seventh seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4. The 32 year old Russian who won the 2004 U.S. Open and 2009 French Open was the only player left in the draw apart from Venus Williams to have won multiple grand slams.
The following is the line up for the women’s semi finals on Thursday with my pick mentioned first :-
Garbine Muguruza (14) (28-13) v. Magdalena Rybarikova (-) (10-2) ; tied 2-2
Venus Williams (10) (25-7) v. Johanna Konta (6) (34-9); Konta leads 3-2.
For the second year in a row, giant killer Sam Querrey has ended the run of the defending Wimbledon champion as the American came from behind to beat the top seeded Andy Murray 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1 to advance to his maiden grand slam semifinal. The 24th seeded Querrey, aged 28, had last year ended the run of Novak Djokovic in four sets, in the round of 32, just weeks after the Serb had completed a career slam and a non calendar slam when he won his maiden French Open crown in 2016.
One break of serve in the in the second game was enough for Murray to claim the set, and when Murray broke in the seventh game to go up 4-3 in the second set, it looked like Querrey who had played two back to back five sets in beating the 12th seeded Jo Wilfred Tsonga of France and the South African Kevin Anderson would exit in straight sets. Querrey broke right back and then ripped a backhand cross court winner to level the match at one set apiece.
Murray regrouped as he got an early break to start the third set. He seemed to be cruising but another backhand wiinner in the tenth game saw Querrey level at 5-5. In the tie-break Murray was always in command and took it 7-4. He was within a set of retaining his number one ranking. Murray who entered the tournament with fitness concerns, was hobbling around with a sore hip and Querrey seized his chance to win the next two sets at 6-1 apiece. Querrey has played 42 grand slams, the most for a player to reach the last four.
Next up for Querrey is the 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia who entered his first Wimbledon semi final with a 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 win over the 16th seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, the conqueror of two time champion Rafael Nadal. The match lasted three hours and thirty minutes, Cilic had 33 aces, while Muller served 17.
Muller, who had won 15-13 in the deciding set against Nadal, got off to the perfect start as he broke serve twice from 3-3 in the first set to claim the opening set 6-3. Games went with serves in the second set and Cilic took it on his second set point in the tie-break which he won 8-6. Cilic broke again in the twelfth game of the third set and when he had two break points to go up 4-2 in the fourth it looked like curtains for the 34 year old Muller.
He fought off the break points and against the run of play broke Cilic’s serve in the eleventh game at 15. He would serve out the set to force a decider but looked to have run out of gas completely as he fell behind 0-5 with two breaks of serve. Cilic, who had lost after having a match point against Roger Federer at the same stage last year, saved one break point at 5-1 in the final set and closed it out as Muller hit a forehand error.
The seven time champion Roger Federer continued his impressive form as he avenged the defeat at the hands of Canada’s Milos Raonic in last year’s semi finals with a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(4) win on center court in one hour and fifty eight minutes. Federer is still to drop a set in five matches this year, failed to convert a break point in the third game of the opening set. He then broke in the fifth game of the opener, and then again in the opening game and fifth game of the second set as he wrapped up the first two sets in exactly one hour.
In a highly competitive third set, Raonic failed to convert on any of the five break points he had on Federer’s serve and then in the tie-break despite leading 3-0, lost seven of the next eight points and the match was over when Raonic hit a backhand wide. Federer thus enters his 12th Wimbledon semi final, eclipsing the record of American Jimmy Connors who had reached the last four stage 11 times. Both players had 11 aces, and Federer won 55 out of 61 points on first serve. Federer had 46 winners in the entire match, Raonic who was the runner up last year (lost to Murray) had 29 winners.
In a highly anticipated match on court no. 1, the three time champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia, retired in the second set due to a shoulder injury against the 11th seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. That sets up another revenge match for Federer who was beaten in the quarter finals in 2010 where Berdych was the runner up (lost to Nadal). There was no love lost between the two at that time as Federer sighted injury issues for the loss which did not go down well with Berdych.
It will be the Czech’s third semi final at Wimbledon, having lost to Andy Murray in the semi final last year. Berdych claimed the first set in a tie-break and was leading 7-6(2), 2-0, 15-0 on his own serve when Djokovic retired after one hour and three minutes on court. Djokovic’s wife is expecting their second child in two months time and it would not be a surprise if the former world number one has an extended time off away from the circuit.
Following is the semi final lineup in the men’s section of the draw with my pick mentioned first:-
Roger Federer (3) (29-2) v. Tomas Berdych (11) (31-13); Federer leads 18-6
Marin Cilic (7) (28-13) v. Sam Querrey (24) (23-13); Cilic leads 4-0.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]