Mur­ray into Wim­ble­don last eight on Manic Mon­day

Ker­ber crashes out, Venus old­est q-fi­nal­ist for 23 years

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

LON­DON: De­fend­ing cham­pion Andy Mur­ray reached a 10th suc­ces­sive Wim­ble­don quar­ter­fi­nal yes­ter­day with a 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 6-4 win over Benoit Paire of France. The world num­ber one will face Sam Quer­rey, who he leads 7-1 in ca­reer meet­ings, for a place in the semi-fi­nals.

“I thought I played well. Maybe a cou­ple of sloppy ser­vice games in the first set but that was by far the best I’d hit the ball so far in the tour­na­ment. So I’m re­ally pleased with that,” said Mur­ray. “He’s not an easy guy to play. He’s got one of the best back­hands.” Only Roger Fed­erer and Jimmy Con­nors (11 each) have reached more con­sec­u­tive Wim­ble­don quar­ter-fi­nals than Mur­ray. The 30year-old’s progress is par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy as he came into the tour­na­ment nurs­ing a hip in­jury.


“Two weeks ago I was rest­ing, I was also a lit­tle bit con­cerned when you’re hav­ing is­sues a few days be­fore a big event, it’s frus­trat­ing,” said Mur­ray. “But I’ve man­aged it well and I think I’ve played some good stuff. “That was the best I’ve played so far in the tour­na­ment. I’m do­ing well so hope­fully I keep it up.”

Ear­lier, An­gelique Ker­ber crashed out of Wim­ble­don and lost her hold on the world num­ber one rank­ing, while five-time cham­pion Venus Wil­liams be­came the old­est All Eng­land Club quar­ter-fi­nal­ist in 23 years yes­ter­day.

Ker­ber was beaten 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 by Span­ish 14th seed Gar­bine Mugu­ruza as the Ger­man’s fourth round exit ex­tended a mis­er­able run for last year’s Wim­ble­don run­ner-up. The 29-year-old, who lost to Ser­ena Wil­liams in the fi­nal 12 months ago, has failed to make the last eight at any of this year’s three Grand Slams. Ker­ber had taken the top rank­ing from Ser­ena in March, but her Wim­ble­don de­feat leaves her with a dis­mal 0-9 record against top 20 op­po­nents in 2017. She will be re­placed at num­ber one by ei­ther Karolina Pliskova or Simona Halep.

Halep takes on Vic­to­ria Azarenka in the last 16 later on Mon­day and the Ro­ma­nian world num­ber two will be guar­an­teed top spot if she makes the semi-fi­nals.

If Halep loses be­fore the last four, then Czech world num­ber three Pliskova will be the new num­ber one de­spite los­ing in the sec­ond round. Mugu­ruza, the 2015 Wim­ble­don run­ner-up, goes on to play Rus­sian sev­enth seed Svet­lana Kuznetsova for a place in the semi-fi­nals. With only two women’s matches sched­uled for Wim­ble­don’s two main show-courts on Mon­day, Ker­ber was ex­iled to the less grand Court Two. It was a de­ci­sion that brought crit­i­cism for Wim­ble­don chiefs and Ker­ber was vis­i­bly frus­trated by the state of sur­face af­ter she slipped on sev­eral bar­ren patches of grass on the base­line.

De­spite her com­plaints, Ker­ber man­aged to take the first set, but Mugu­ruza hit her stride as she took the sec­ond. Ker­ber twice led by a break in the fi­nal set, but couldn’t close out the vic­tory as Mugu­ruza showed she has been ab­sorb­ing the lessons of her coach Con­chita Martinez, the only Span­ish woman to win Wim­ble­don back in 1994. Granted show­court billing, Wil­liams didn’t hang around as she crushed 19-year-old Croa­t­ian Ana Kon­juh 6-3, 6-2 in 64 min­utes on Cen­tre Court. Wil­liams made her Grand Slam de­but at the 1997 French Open, seven months be­fore Kon­juh was born. And at 37 years and 29 days, Venus is Wim­ble­don’s old­est fe­male quar­ter-fi­nal­ist since Martina Navratilova in 1994.


Seven-time ma­jor win­ner Venus, who clinched the last of her Wim­ble­don ti­tles in 2008, will hope to emu­late Navratilova, who went on to reach the fi­nal 23 years ago.

Wil­liams plays French Open cham­pion Je­lena Ostapenko for a place in the semi-fi­nals. Ostapenko ad­vanced to her first Wim­ble­don quar­ter-fi­nal af­ter fi­nally con­vert­ing her eighth match point to de­feat Elina Svi­tolina 6-3, 7-6 (8/6). Lat­vian 13th seed Ostapenko, the 2014 ju­nior Wim­ble­don cham­pion, squan­dered seven match points in the sec­ond set be­fore even­tu­ally see­ing off the Ukrainian world num­ber five to make just her sec­ond last eight ap­pear­ance at a ma­jor. The 20-year-old’s tri­umph in Paris last month made her only the third player born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam.

Kuznetsova reached her first Wim­ble­don quar­ter-fi­nal in 10 years with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Pol­ish ninth seed Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska. Kuznetsova, a for­mer US and French Open cham­pion, crushed 37 win­ners in her 14th vic­tory in 18 meet­ings with Rad­wan­ska.

The 32-year-old has never made it to the Wim­ble­don semi-fi­nals and last reached that stage at a Grand Slam in the 2009 French Open. Slo­vakia’s Mag­dalena Ry­barikova is into her maiden Grand Slam quar­ter-fi­nal af­ter a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win over Croa­t­ian qual­i­fier Pe­tra Mar­tic. Ry­barikova, 28, had failed to make the last eight in all 35 of her pre­vi­ous Grand Slam ap­pear­ances, los­ing in the Wim­ble­don first round for seven suc­ces­sive years be­tween 2008 and 2014.

Next up for the world num­ber 87, who has 17 wins from 18 grass-court matches this year, is a clash with ei­ther for­mer world num­ber one Caro­line Woz­ni­acki or Amer­i­can 24th seed Coco Van­deweghe. Later on Mon­day, Bri­tain’s Jo­hanna Konta, the book­mak­ers’ favourite for the ti­tle, faces world num­ber seven takes on France’s Caro­line Gar­cia. Konta is aim­ing to be­come the first Bri­tish women into the Wim­ble­don quar­ter-fi­nals since Jo Durie in 1984. Vir­ginia Wade was the last Bri­ton to win the women’s crown in 1977. — AFP

LON­DON: Bri­tain’s Andy Mur­ray re­turns against France’s Benoit Paire dur­ing their men’s sin­gles fourth round match on the sev­enth day of the 2017 Wim­ble­don Cham­pi­onships at The All Eng­land Lawn Ten­nis Club in Wim­ble­don, south­west Lon­don, yes­ter­day. — AFP

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