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Rediff.com  » Sports » Wimbledon PIX: Ostapenko keeps double dream alive; Halep, Konta advance

Wimbledon PIX: Ostapenko keeps double dream alive; Halep, Konta advance

Last updated on: July 10, 2017 23:28 IST

PHOTOS from day seven of the Wimbledon championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London on Monday.

Ostapenko makes quarters to keep double dream alive

Jelena Ostapenko

IMAGE: Jelena Ostapenko celebrates winning her fourth round match. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Not even missing a succession of match points stopped Jelena Ostapenko swinging her racket with brutal intent.

The French Open champion, who has shaken up women's tennis with her high-risk game, passed up seven chances to finish off Wimbledon opponent Elina Svitolina, but rather than go into her shell she merely took her high-risk game up a notch.

She eventually blasted her way into the quarter-finals for the first time with a 6-3, 7-6(6) victory on Monday in which she struck a remarkable 42 winners and made 39 unforced errors.

To put those stats into perspective, her opponent, the Ukrainian fourth seed, hit 14 of each.

"I really needed to stay very aggressive to win the point," the Latvian told reporters. "Even the match points, the rallies were really long. I really had to go for it to win the match."

Ostapenko does not do defensive tennis and the idea that you might seek to win a point by waiting for your opponent to make a mistake is anathema to the hard-hitting Latvian.

The tactic seems to be working out well on Wimbledon's fast lawns.

The 13th seed, who faces Venus Williams in the next round, is now just three matches away from completing what would be astonishing Grand Slam double.

That would put her in elite company as only Serena Williams has won the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back since Steffi Graf achieved the feat in 1996.

This was only her second win against a top five-player, following her success against Simona Halep in the final at Roland Garros, and despite a brief wobble in the second set it never looked in doubt.

She broke in the opening game with one of many forehand winners and again for a 4-1 lead.

The weaknesses in her game were also apparent, however, and the error count was also swiftly mounting as Svitolina broke back following an Ostapenko double fault.

That was not the start of a comeback, however, and Ostapenko wrapped up the first set with another break before racing into a 5-2 lead in the second.

Against Venus, she will probably need to be more ruthless than she was in finishing off Svitolina.

She passed up a match point at 5-2, four more in the following game and after being pegged back and forced into a tiebreak, where she missed two more chances to kill off the game, Svitolina netted a backhand to hand her opponent the match.

Halep dashes new mum Azarenka's comeback dreams

Simona Halep

IMAGE: Simona Halep of Romania plays a backhand during the Ladies Singles fourth round match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Simona Halep sent new mum Victoria Azarenka packing 7-6(3), 6-2 in the fourth round on Monday as a litany of second-set errors put paid to the Belarussian's dreams of a fairytale Wimbledon comeback.

Azarenka, playing in her second tournament after the birth of her son Leo in December, out-hit and out-thought the second-seeded Romanian for much of a pulsating first set, mixing deep groundstrokes with frequent dropshots and forays to the net.

Victoria Azarenka

IMAGE:  Victoria Azarenka of Belarus reacts. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

But the two-time semi-finalist at the All England Club began to flag in the first-set tiebreak, losing it 7-3 before conceding the next five games.

A mini fightback pegged the second-set deficit back to 5-2 before another Azarenka backhand groundstroke error saw Halep home in just under 90 minutes, keeping alive the Romanian's hopes of a maiden grand slam victory and an ascent to the world number one ranking.

Halep will face Britain's Johanna Konta in the quarter- finals.

Wily veteran Venus powers past rookie Konjuh

Venus Williams

IMAGE: Venus Williams in action. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Experience triumphed over youth on Wimbledon's Centre Court on Monday as Venus Williams downed Croatian teenager Ana Konjuh 6-3, 6-2 in a fourth-round battle of the baseliners.

Facing each other across the net for the first time, the oldest and youngest players left in the singles draw slugged it out in a quickfire contest that was littered with as many unforced errors as clean winners.

Williams, seeded 10, made her debut in the grasscourt Grand Slam back in 1997. That was several months before the birth of her 27th-seeded opponent, who was appearing in the fourth round at the All England Club for the first time.

After a scrappy opening set, the 37-year-old Williams began finding her range on groundstrokes, keeping her younger opponent pegged at the back of the court.

Konjuh saved three match points on serve but succumbed in the following game when she hit a backhand long.

Williams becomes the oldest player since then 37-year-old Martina Navratilova in 1994 to reach the quarter-finals, where she will face the brightest of the sport's next-generation stars, French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Kuznetsova back in quarter-finals after 10-year wait

Svetlana Kuznetsova

IMAGE:  Svetlana Kuznetsova serves during her fourth round match. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Svetlana Kuznetsova prevailed in one of the most established "fixtures" in women's tennis as she beat Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-4 to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Monday for the first time in 10 years.

The Russian, seeded seventh, has found Radwanska an agreeable opponent over the past decade and did so again to beat her for the 14th time in 18 matches.

Kuznetsova, 32, is in the quarter-finals for the fourth time and is yet to drop a set so far in this year's championships, spending less than five hours on court so far.

Having faced opponents with an average ranking of 139 in her opening three matches, Kuznetsova was required to up her game against tricky ninth seed Radwanska and she did so, striking 37 winners to her opponent's 13.

There was no way back for Radwanska in the first set as she lost the opening four games on a sun-drenched Court Three.

But the second set lasted nearly an hour and contained a succession of long baseline exchanges. Kuznetsova, one of six grand slam champions to reach the last 16 and the second-oldest woman left standing, broke crucially in the seventh game.

She wobbled as she served for victory at 5-4 but battled back from 15-40 down and nailed a backhand winner on match point to move through to a quarter-final clash against either top seed Angelique Kerber or Garbine Muguruza.

Kuznetsova has never gone past the quarters, falling to Justine Henin in 2003, Lindsay Davenport in 2005 and Venus Williams in 2007.

Wozniacki turfed out by big-hitting Vandeweghe

Coco Vandeweghe

IMAGE:  Coco Vandeweghe of The United States and Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark shake hands. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Danish fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki was sent packing from Wimbledon on Monday, succumbing 7-6(4), 6-4 to the relentless big-hitting of American Coco Vandeweghe.

The last-16 match pitted Vandeweghe's power against Wozniacki's consistency. The American, ranked 25, was more aggressive and took more risks, and her strategy paid off - she fired 38 winners across the net compared with her opponent's 16.

There was little between the players in the first set, which Vandeweghe edged in the tiebreak, cheered on by her Australian coach Pat Cash, a former Wimbledon champion.

She closed out the match with a break at the end of the second set, forcing an error from the 26-year-old Wozniacki with a ferocious cross-court forehand.

By reaching the quarter-finals, the 25-year-old Vandeweghe has matched her best performance at the All England Club. She will face Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova, ranked 87.

Konta becomes first British woman in Wimbledon last eight since 1984

Johanna Konta

IMAGE:  Johanna Konta of Great Britain reacts as she celebrates victory after the Ladies Singles fourth round match against Caroline Garcia of France. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Johanna Konta became the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals since Jo Durie in 1984 when she beat Caroline Garcia of France 7-6 (3) 4-6 6-4 on Monday.

Konta had previously won only one match in five Wimbledon appearances but now suddenly finds herself with a realistic chance of winning it and becoming the first home champion since Virginia Wade 40 years ago.

The seventh seed, who spent her formative years in Australia before moving to play in Spain as a 14-year-old and then becoming British in 2012, delivered an efficient display in an even battle, albeit with a major wobble in the middle, to overcome a tenacious opponent.

Konta was always on top in the first set despite having to take it via a tie break but then lost five games in a row en route to losing the second.

Serve dominated the final set so much that the first break point did not arrive until the 10th game, but when it did, Konta took full advantage as Garcia netted to lose the match.

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