Second Monday Roundup

July 4, 2016 — Some say Second Monday. Others say Manic Monday. Whichever description fits your liking, Wimbledon fit the bill today.

Here are some highlights from The All England Club, as all 32 fourth-round singles’ players were on court fighting for their spots in the last eight. 

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Yaroslava Shvedova defeated Lucie Safarova

No one saw Shvedova coming, but she is a force. Tall. Big serve. Athletic. She has been on and off the tennis radar since 2005 when she turned pro. Her performances, though, have not been consistent enough and she has not withstood injuries long enough to prove her worth in singles over any one span of time. There have been occasions, though, where she’s ripped her way through draws and flaunted her stuff. This Wimbledon is one case in point.

She’s beaten Julia Goerges, 17th-seed Elina Svitolina, 2014 runner-up Sabine Lisicki, and today, 2014 semifinalist Lucie Safarova (No. 28), 6-2, 6-4.

Her Grand Slam record doesn’t stop there. She made the quarterfinals in singles at Roland Garros in 2010 and 2012. In the third round of 2012 she became the first woman in the Open Era to score a ‘Golden Set,’ when she won all the points — 24 — against Sara Errani in the first set. “Today I laid a golden egg,” Shvedova tweeted later that day. She went on to win the match 6-0 6-4. 

Even with that startling highlight on her resume, Shvedova has only one career title in singles. It’s been on the doubles side that’s she’s earned 13 career titles. Two came alongside American Vania King: Wimbledon and The U. S. Open in 2010. They were runners-up in 2011 at The U. S. Open, as well. In 2015, Shvedova paired up with Casey Dellacqua of Australia. They finished second at the French Open and U.S. Open. Finally, Shvedova and Austrian Julian Knowle placed second in mixed doubles at the 2010 French Open. 

With so many triumphs coming in Paris we know why she told Down The Tee in Charleston that Paris’s red clay was her favorite surface, "It’s smooth. I can slide. I love it.” 

Yet with her dominance this past week, she might have to adjust that attitude. Her victory today over Safarova again advances her to yet another major quarterfinal. The Russian native, who has called Kazatsktan home since 2008, won 88% of points off second serves in the first set. That stat defines just how dominant she was against Safarova. Shvedova used her keen doubles skills to keep points short, going for winners following well-placed, heavy serves. 

Shvedova's currently ranked No. 96 and the only player left in the draw outside the top 50, according to the WTA. She reached her highest ranking of No. 29 in 2012, having come from No. 206 the year before.

She and Timea Babos are seeded No. 5 in doubles this year. 

Next up For Shvedova … Venus Williams  

Of the six Americans remaining in the tournament this morning only three made the final eight: Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Sam Querrey. 

A run to late in the second week at Wimbledon is not an errant occurrence for Serena who, today, took out Svetlana Kuznetsova (No. 13) 7-5, 6-0. Serena is defending her title and looking to win her 7th. But for Venus, it’s been 6 years since she’s reached the quarterfinals. Her record now stands at 80-13 at this Grand Slam, which she’s won five times. 

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Venus Williams at the U. S. Open, 2015. Photo credit Leslie Billman tennisclix.com

“She played so well,” Venus told ESPN about Carla Suarez Navarro who lost 7-6(3), 6-4. “The first set was exciting. When the rain came it was very emotional again. I was, please god. It’s emotionally draining to come back out.”

Venus said she felt honored to do ‘this job.’ Yet her words of wisdom resonated, “The first time you win, nobody picks you; the last time you win, nobody picks you. You have to pick yourself.” 

Sam Shines, Again

Let’s face it. After ousting Novak Djokovic many of us thought Sam Querrey was done and done. There’s a trail of evidence that points directly to failure following triumph in tennis. But Sam surprised the lot of us, defeating 34-year-old Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-4. Querrey became the first American to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal in five years; and, he earned his first last-of-eight berth for the first time in 38 slam appearances.

“For me, the win was really exciting,” Querrey said about his win over Djokovic, USA Today reported. “But my match today. I was playing for my first [Grand Slam] quarterfinal, so I was playing for something else. There was still something exciting, kind of like another care on the line for me to play for. I really just wanted to focus in and play the best I can. Today everything really clicked.”

Next up for Sam is another tall, big-serving, big-forehand player — Milos Raonic No. (6). The Canadian sixth seed bounced back from two sets down to David Goffin to win, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. 

Lucas Pouille (No. 32) also became a first-time major quarterfinalist today, defeating a much-more seasoned player, Bernard Tomic (No. 19), 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8. 

Murray and Federer Still Game

Andy Murray (No. 2) advanced to his 9th-straight Wimbledon quarterfinal, beating a lackluster Nick Kyrgios (No. 15) in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1, 6-4. 

“When I was able to get the ball back in play, I was able to dictate,” Murray told ESPN. His record at Wimbledon now stands at 50-9. He’ll play his 9th consecutive quarterfinal in two days against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (No. 12). He advanced when Richard Gasquet (No. 7) retired in the first set 4-2 with an injury.

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Roger Federer at the U. S. Open, 2015. Photo credit Leslie Billman tennisclix.com.

On the other side of the draw, Roger Federer crashed the hopes of American Stevie Johnson, 6-2, 6-3, 7-5. Johnson was playing in his first fourth round Grand Slam. 

With his win, Federer tied Martina Navratilova with 306 match wins in singles at a major — the most in history — and advanced to his 14th quarterfinal at Wimbledon.

“I didn’t even know I was playing for that,” Federer told the press later, when he heard he’d made his 14th quarterfinal. “It’s great news. I’m very happy about it. But it’s something I never chased. I know it’s going to be nice looking back one day to know I’ve played so many quarters here at Wimbledon.”

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Marin Cilic at the U. S. Open, 2015. Photo credit Leslie Billman tennisclix.com.

Federer’s quarterfinal opponent will be 2014 U. S. Open Champion Marin Cilic (No.9). The last time they met at a major was New York that same year. Cilic destroyed Federer in straight sets. “He wiped the court with me,” Federer said earlier in the week. 

Cilic’s match against Kei Nishikori (No. 5) was cut short, 6-1, 5-1, when the Japanese native retired with a nagging rib injury. “Every point I play it got worse,” he told the press later. “I asked for tape or whatever to get better, but they [coaches] say no … so …"

© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013