Possibilities Abound for Wimbledon Women 

By Jane Voigt

July 5, 2017 — Flying ants invaded Centre Court of Wimbledon today, buzzing the pristine scene and dive-bombing players who found the creatures quite annoying. As the sun baked the courts and temperatures rose to a toasty 85 degrees, ball kids had to sweep the dirt off baselines rubbed clean of any grass less than three days into the competition. These are odd times at the heralded All England Club, except for the tennis.

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Petra Kvitova

Sentimental favorite and two-time Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova, lost to American Madison Brengle today 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. The Czech’s tank quickly drained, as the match worn on. Medical personnel checked her blood pressure moments before the last game, as sweat dripped from her face the way it does from Rafael Nadal’s face … rapidly. She has had breathing problems during matches, in the past. Compound that with the heat and her lack of match play — she returned recently to the tour after a stabbing wound to her left hand by a intruder last December — and Kvitova was bound to lose. 

Brengle, though, was thrilled. She is currently ranked No. 95, yet will see a bounce at the end of the tournament.

Another sentimental favorite and oldest woman in the draw at 37, Venus Williams (No. 10 seed), gathered all her eggs into one basket today to overcome a competent Wang Qiang of China, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. The match was Venus’s 97th at Wimbledon. 

After her tough press conference on Monday, where she was asked to describe her feelings about a car accident police in Palm Gardens, Fla., say she’s at fault for, the tournament moderator told the press they couldn’t ask any questions relating to the incident because it was an on-going investigation. 

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Victoria Azarenka

And yet another sentimental favorite and former number one, Victoria Azarenka, drilled her way to the third round taking out the 2016 semifinalist, Elena Vesnina, 6-3, 6-3. Azarenka has also recently returned to the tour, after giving birth to her first son, Leo, six-and-a-half months ago. 

“Vesnina was more of a favorite,” Azarenka told a panel of ESPN analysts. “She’s a great player so I was happy that I was able to play good in the important moments.”

Azarenka said she still had the on-court feeling of a kid, but that when the ball striking stopped she easily slipped into mom mode.

“I’m still the kid on court,” she began. “But when I go off court I don’t think about what’s happened an hour ago.”

She has been in touch with Serena Williams, as well, who will give birth to her first child in September. 

“I have spoken to Serena. It’s fun talking to her about pregnancy.”

With more and more players making the transition to motherhood without pushing aside their careers, Azarenka suggested they “talk to the WTA about getting more nurseries on tour.”

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Johanna Konta

The best-match-of-the-day award, though, goes to Johanna Konta and Donna Vekic. Konta, seeded number six, won 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-8. The third set was as good as tennis gets with both women playing top-notch points throughout.  Konta is also a favorite to win the title, which would be her first Grand Slam. However since she plays for Great Britain we’ll have to wait to see if nerves muddle up her dreams. If she does somehow hoist the trophy she’ll be the first Brit since Virginia Wade won in 1977, when she defeated Chrissie Evert. Queen Elizabeth presented the Venus Rosewater Platter to Wade that day.

© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013