After the mania of, uh… Manic Monday, we have now officially reached the pointy end of Wimbledon 2019.

Serena. Riske. Strycova. Konta. Halep. Zhang. Svitolina. Muchova. If I had to use one word to describe the octet that makes up the women’s quarterfinalists, it would probably be ‘eclectic’, and that seems fitting based on both this tournament, and the WTA tour at large this year.

Interestingly, each matchup features both one established name and one surprise package, meaning this tournament could be about to turn in one of two very different directions. Either we could end up with the status quo prevailing, or entirely uncharted waters with four unseeded players remaining. Either way, it should be absolutely fascinating, so read on for a look at each match on Tuesday at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams (USA) [11] v Alison Riske (USA) – First on Centre Court

The climactic match in the so-called quarter of death, it’s Serena Williams versus… Allison Riske? Yeah, I guess that didn’t work out quite how we expected it, but that shouldn’t take away from what has been a remarkable run for Riske – the question now is, can she beat Serena? A first career meeting between the two compatriots, there is a real possibility Riske is able to surprise Serena with her flat, penetrating groundstrokes on this surface, but that being enough to cause the upset seems highly unlikely. Serena simply has too much weight in her shots for Riske to be able to dictate proceedings, and unless she has a really off day, she should be able to quickly adjust to what Riske is giving her and continue on her march to the semi-finals.

Simona Halep (ROU) [7] v Shuai Zhang (CHN) – First on No. 1 Court

Possibly the most perfect example of a story coming full-circle you can find in the tennis world, career journeywoman Shuai Zhang’s only previous run to a major quarterfinal started by upsetting Simona Halep at the 2016 Aussie Open, and now she reaches her second where she will face the very same opponent. Something of a thorn in the Romanian’s side throughout their careers, Halep hasn’t beaten Zhang since their first encounter at Indian Wells in 2012, while the Chinese followed up her AO victory with a 6-0, 6-3 beatdown later the same year in Beijing, and again here the latter’s ability to play close to the baseline and take balls early could cause some serious trouble. Of course, Halep isn’t the same player she was the last time they met, and she should be able to counter-punch her way out of serious trouble, just don’t completely dismiss the possibility of an upset.

Barbora Strycova (CZE) v Johanna Konta (GBR) [19] – Second on Centre Court

Having come through an extremely tough test in her manic Monday victory over Petra Kvitova, things are looking decidedly up for local hope Jo Konta, assuming of course Barbora Strycova doesn’t crash the party. A first-time major quarterfinalist at 33, Strycova comes in with both a victory in her only previous encounter with Konta (a 7-5, 7-6 affair two years ago in Tokyo) and the knowledge she has absolutely nothing to lose, and that makes her quite the dangerous proposition. Still, on grass Konta should have a decisive advantage with her more aggressive play and ability to play more compact strokes, and as long as she doesn’t implode spectacularly, the Brit should be able to take time away from her opponent consistently enough to keep the home fans happy.

Elina Svitolina (UKR) [8] v Karolina Muchova (CZE) – Second on No. 1 Court

From looking like she was out of the tournament in the second round, to now her first Wimbledon quarterfinal, it’s been a weird tournament for Elina Svitolina, but maybe a bit of weirdness is what she needs to get over her grand slam hump. Certainly the tennis gods have done her a favour here, with her next opponent, Karolina Muchova, having not just knocked out a resurgent Karolina Pliskova but done it in absolutely gruelling fashion, 13-11 in the third. That said, assuming Muchova manages to recover on less than a day’s rest, she has the forehand and the net presence to trouble the Ukrainian, but realistically, Svitolina should have the goods to wear her down, and eventually, out.


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