Monday, July 10, 2017

Manic Monday leaves eight women standing, and leaves me as grumpy as always

This morning, yet again, I was painfully reminded of why I hate Manic Monday. It's bad enough when I have to try to keep up with two matches, but trying to keep up with four matches is an exercise in futility. I kept my eyes on the Kerber vs. Muguruza match as much as I could, but I was constantly sidetracked by the Ostapenko-Svitolina match and the Rybarikova-Martic contest. Then there was CoCo Vandeweghe and Caroline Wozniacki, and--already exhausted from getting practically no sleep--I felt more frustration than anything else. Because I could never really settle in and enjoy any match.

For the first time in my memory, all eight of my round of 16 picks were correct. The only one with which I even struggled (other than the ambivalence I normally feel about any pick I make) was the Ostapenko-Svitolina match, but in the end, I went with Ostapenko. So there was that.

Both Angie Kerber and Garbine Muguruza really rose to the occasion. I may have to watch that on replay in order to catch every moment of it. This was the best I've seen both of them play in a while, and it was especially nice to see Kerber back in form.

I don't think anyone one surprised that Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Aga Radwanska, given Radwanska's struggles of late (but yes, I know--it is Sveta). I wish I could have watched the entire match between Magda Rybarikova and Petra Martic; it was so special that they were both playing in the second week of Wimbledon. Rybarikova is in crazy-good form, and doesn't seem to be troubled by the occasion.

Probably my easiest pick was Vandeweghe over Wozniacki. CoCo would have had to have had a major struggle with her nerves for that to go another way. Today, she cut the figure of a classic grass court competitor, hitting big serves and then coming in to hit clean volleys.

Jelena Ostapenko played against a somewhat subdued Elina Svitolina, whose serve left something to be desired. Ostapenko got tight when she tried to close the match, however, but Svitolina couldn't quite capitalize on her opponent's hesitancy, and Ostapenko finally ended the match on her eighth match point. These days, we're not used to seeing a first-time major winner follow her victory with a deep run in the next major, but--coming from Ostapenko--it doesn't surprise me.

Five--time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams handled Ana Konjuh rather easily, and 2nd seed Simona Halep didn't have too much trouble with Vika Azarenka. Azarenka is only just returning to the tour, but nevertheless, Halep has been in excellent form in London. If she wins her next match, she'll take over the number 1 ranking spot. If she loses, Karolina Pliskova will become number 1.

Finally, the crowd got what they so badly wanted: Jo Konta is into the quarterfinals with her win over Caroline Garcia. I saw quite a bit of this match and rather enjoyed it. One expects Konta's service stats to be superior, and they were. But so were Garcia's; this is an area in which she has really improved. In all, there was little between the opponents in this lively three-set match, but Konta--perhaps using the strength of the crowd--was able to conjure the win.

Here is the quarterfinal draw:

Garbine Muguruza (14) vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (7)
Magda Rybarikova vs. CoCo Vandeweghe (24)
Venus Williams (10) vs. Jelena Ostapenko (13)
Jo Konta (6) vs. Simona Halep (2)

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