WASHINGTON, July 9, 2018 (by Michael Dickens)
Unlike any of the other Grand Slams, Wimbledon pauses for a day of rest on the middle Sunday of the tournament for a day of rest. Then, on the second Monday of the fortnight, it presses the re-set button and comes out like gangbusters on its special day, “Manic Monday,” with every fourth round men’s and women’s singles match placed on the schedule, spread out across Centre Court, No. 1 Court and some of the smaller courts, too.
By mid afternoon, it was sunny and 28º degrees Celsius with little wind and everything seemed on to be on schedule. Best of all, there was no precipitation in the London SW19 forecast.
One thing’s certain about Wimbledon’s Manic Monday: the sheer quantity of tennis never disappoints the fans.
Cibulkova is on a mission
Dominika Cibulkova has been playing like a woman on a mission during this Wimbledon fortnight after she was bumped from the No. 32 seed on the eve of the Grand Slam. When Wimbledon broke with tradition by inserting the 183rd-ranked Serena Williams as the No. 25 seed in consideration for returning from maternity leave – and recognizing her past success at the All England Club, where she has won seven Wimbledon singles crowns – it was Cibulkova, ranked 33rd, who was affected the most. Perhaps, it has given the 29-year-old Slovakian extra incentive as she still has yet to drop a set in her first four matches. Cibulkova advanced to her third Wimbledon quarterfinal with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan on Monday afternoon.
After eight straight breaks of serve to start the match, things settled down and started going Cibulkova’s way. She hit 27 winners, broke Hsieh seven times in 12 tries, and won 37 of her 66 points off of her opponent’s serve. Hsieh won just 28 of her 43 points on her serve and committed 16 unforced errors during the one hour and 22 minute match on Court 18.
Next, Cibulkova, who previously reached the quarterfinals in 2011 and 2016, will face former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. The No. 12 seed Latvian, playing in her third straight match on No. 3 Court, advanced over 50th-ranked Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus, 7-6 (4), 6-0, by hitting 28 winners.
Also, in the upper half of the draw, No. 11 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany, the highest remaining seed in the tournament, took out unseeded and 56th-ranked Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, 6-3, 7-6 (5) on No. 1 Court. Kerber needed an hour and 48 minutes to complete the win, but stayed focused and on task. She hit 38 winners to offset 19 unforced errors and outpointed Bencic, 92-76. The Swiss hit 42 winners against Kerber, but her 36 unforced errors were too much to overcome.
During a post-match interview with the BBC, Kerber said she knew she had to play her best tennis in order to beat Bencic, whom she called “a great opponent.” However, the German said she’s happy she stayed focused throughout.
“I’m grateful to reach the quarterfinals, again. It was a very close match, two close sets. I’m just staying focused, trying not to look left or right, and I’m improving every single match. There’s still a lot of tough matches to win.”
Next, Kerber will face No. 14 seed Daria Kasatkina. The Russian ended the run of unseeded Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium, ranked 47th, in the fourth round, coming from down a set to win 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-2 on Court 18 in two hours and five minutes. Kasatkina advanced to her first Wimbledon quarterfinal by hitting 31 winners and withstanding 42 winners and 38 unforced errors from Van Uytvanck.
Meanwhile, in the lower half of the draw, No. 20 seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands reached her first Wimbledon quarterfinal when she knocked out the lone remaining Top 10 seed, No. 7 Karolina Pliskova, 6-3, 7-6 (1), on No. 2 Court. Bertens, whose best Wimbledon result was in 2016 when she reached the third round, hit 35 winners to Pliskova’s 23 winners and 21 unforced errors. Although she’s known more as a clay-court specialist, Bertens has scored back-to-back wins over Top 10 seeds by picking up the pace of her game. In her previous match, she eliminated No. 9 seed Venus Williams.
Next, Bertens will face No. 13 seed Julia Goerges, who reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time in 42 Grand Slam appearances. The German beat 55th-ranked Donna Vekic of Croatia, 6-3, 6-2, in just 75 minutes on No. 3 Court.
Also, unseeded and 52nd-ranked Camila Giorgi of Italy reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal as she advanced over 35th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, 6-3, 6-4. Giorgi has yet to drop a set during her four wins. She will face Serena Williams, who defeated 120th-ranked Evgeniya Rodina of Russia, 6-2 ,6-2, in the quarterfinals.
Federer easily advances to quarterfinals
No. 1 seed Roger Federer played a near flawless first set – dropping just five points – en route to a 6-0, 7-5, 6-4 win over unseeded and 26th-ranked Adrian Mannarino of France to move into the quarterfinal round. Call it extraordinary, as one veteran tennis scribe tweeted, because Federer needed just 16 minutes to close out of the opening set against a shocked Mannarino – and an hour and 45 minutes overall.
Federer compiled 12 service aces and hit 44 winners against Mannarino. He won 91 percent (46 of 51) of his first-serve points and outpointed his opponent 106-70.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) 9. Juli 2018
“I think it was an interesting beginning,” said Federer, interviewed by the BBC following his victory. “It was great to win the first set so quickly. Then, it was important for me to stay focused because I knew (Adrian) was better than he played in the first set.
“You get a little bit lucky and every match is different.
“I was very happy with this match. I’m very pleased to be back playing in the second week.”
Next, Federer will face No. 8 seed Kevin Anderson, a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), 5-7, 7-6 (4) winner over unseeded and 44th ranked Gaël Monfils of France, in the quarterfinals.