Wimbledon quarter-finals: Svitolina stuns Swiatek, Rublev v Djokovic – live | Wimbledon 2023

Key events

Impressive stuff from Rublev, who is keeping pace with Djokovic, and fires a flat, dreamy backhand to take the opening point of the Serbian’s service game. But Djokovic is so consistent. Even when he’s not firing down blockbuster winners, he stays in the rally, and often forces a mistake from his opponent. So rarely do you see an unforced error from the defending champion. After losing that early point, Djokovic wins four on the bounce to claim the game. It’s on serve in the first set, Djokovic leads 3-2.

Have you ever heard of John Quackenroe? You have now.

Here’s Paul MacInnes’ report on Vondrousova’s win over Pegula

With the roof closed, the acoustics on Court No 1 are really amplifying the sound of Sinner and Safiullin’s shots. Both are absolutely booming their shots back at each other. It sounds like they are playing a match in squash court. It’s on serve in the third set, 2-1 to Sinner.

Safiullin takes the second set 6-3!

We’re all square at one set apiece! Safiullin closes out the set with an ace, and from 3-1 down, the Russian is back in this match against Sinner.

Djokovic serves first, and gets to 40-30. And as if to prove my previous point, Rublev powers a low cross-court backhand to take control of the point, but Djokovic somehow gets to it, slippin’ and slidin’, stays in the point, regains the advantage and forces the error from Rublev to win the opening game. Classic Djok.

And so, Djokovic and Rublev are underway on Centre. The Russian must be at his aggressive best, and even then, Djokovic is the best defensive player (on any surface, but especially on grass) that I have ever seen. The way he slides across the turf at 36 years old is ridiculous.

Djokovic spoke about Rublev before the match, which I referenced earlier:

Rublev is a fantastic player, one of the best forehands on tour. He is a very good person who works hard to be in the top 10, which he has been for the last few years. He is one of the most consistent players across all surfaces. I have a lot of respect for him.”

But James W has emailed in to counter-balance those quotes.

“Rublev is also a complete headcase slash mindless ballbasher (see also Berdych and Shapo) who will win a lot of matches outside the slams but will flame out before (or during) quarter finals, almost every time. How many grand slams semis for Rublyov (not correct Russian spelling?) NONE. There is a reason for that.”

Coming onto Centre Court now, some guy called Novak Djokovic. With him Andrey Rublev, who is aiming to become the first man to beat Djokovic on Centre in over a decade.

With Sinner booming down serves and groundstrokes, Safiullin has got to change something, and he does. He comes to the net well, and starts to slice, and it seems to unsettle Sinner. Safiullin earns three break points, and takes the third of them, with the Italian shunting a weak backhand into the net. We’re back on serve in the second set, 3-3!

Safiullin, who was incredibly successful as a boy – no 2 in the world at youth level, started that first set like a train, with a host of huge winners. But Sinner grew into that set, and showed real class at the end. The Italian looks like the real deal, but credit to Safiullin, he holds his serve. He trails Sinner 4-6, 2-3.

Sinner beats Safiullin to win the first set 6-4!

So, while I was pre-occupied with all that, I can tell you that Sinner held his serve to take the first set 6-4 against Safiullin. The Italian also has a break of serve at the beginning of the second set. He leads 2-1 and will serve for a 3-1 lead.

Jannik Sinner with a forehand against Roman Safiullin. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

Svitolina, who was given a wildcard for this year’s tournament, speaks:

I don’t know what is happening in my head right now. Unbelievable. I’m so happy I had the chance to play here. A great atmosphere, an unbelievable feeling. It is not easy, she is world no 1.

Iga is an unbelievable person. She was one of the first people who supported Ukrainian people. It was a huge help. It’s not easy to play against someone who you share a lot of good moments.

Thank you so much for cheering for me all the way.

I’m going to have a beer. Just going to enjoy with my team. If someone told me I would be in a semi-final before the tournament, I would say they are crazy. I’m going to relax, have a massage – much needed – and get ready for the next battle.

Svitolina, who lived for a while in London, is incredibly popular here, and walks off court to huge cheers and applause. She will meet Vondrousova in the semi-finals. What a match that will be.

Svitolina wins! She beats Swiatek 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-2

She’s done it! Svitolina falls to her knees but recovers to embrace her friend and rival at the net. Swiatek, the world No 1, is out! It was another poor forehand from the Pole that handed Svitolina but take nothing away from the Ukrainian. Absolutely mesmeric tennis. She bossed Swiatek. The crowd erupts, a very popular winner.

Elina Svitolina breaks down after winning match point.
Elina Svitolina breaks down after winning match point. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

The first of which is a double fault! Nerves, people! Nerves.

Svitolina moves seamlessly to 40-0, with a beautiful backhand up the line. She is making Swiatek look very pedestrian indeed. The Pole didn’t even try to get to that one. Three match points …

Just a reminder that Svitolina came through another emotional epic match against Azarenka on Sunday. She only returned to the Tour in April following the birth of her daughter six months ago. Yes, she is playing well, but look at the context. And against the very best players in the world.

Swiatek holds. At 7-5, 6-7 (5), 5-2, Svitolina will serve for the match.

Back on Court No 1, we are 4-4 in the first set, but Sinner has three break points to take a crucial lead. Safiullin saves one, but hits an errant forehand long, and Sinner has the break. He leads 5-4 in the first and will serve for the set.

In complete control of a point, Svitolina then chooses to skew an awful drop shot attempt into the net. She looks to the sky in disgust, but recovers well to move to 40-15. The double break has given Svitolina freedom, she is hitting the ball so pure right now, and Swiatek is just a passenger. Svitolina holds her serve. She leads 5-1 and is now just a game away from knocking out the world no 1 to move into the Wimbledon semi-finals.

Svitolina breaks! Wooooooooow. The Ukrainian has a double break in the third set. Swiatek is staring down the barrel here. Svitolina will serve and has a chance to go to 5-1!

Svitolina motors to 40-0 but is brought back to deuce, the first real grunts and squeals emanating from the 28-year-old. But Svitolina holds! Swiatek has got herself out of plenty of holes already in this match. It’s 7-5, 6-7, 3-1 to the Ukrainian. Still a long way to go with the world no 1 at the other end of the court.

The liveblogger’s curse, as just as I write my last entry, Swiatek is broken. Svitolina leads 2-1 and will serve next in the third set.

Elina Svitolina pumps her fist as she gains the third set advantage.
Elina Svitolina pumps her fist as she gains the third set advantage. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Back to Centre. At 1-1, Svitolina is on the charge, and has two break points at 15-40 on Swiatek’s serve, with one forehand winner coming back at 87mph, much faster than Swiatek’s second serve of 78mph. Swiatek saves both points to force deuce. She hasn’t been playing well by her own lofty standards, but often seems to win the clutch points.

Safiullin holds again to love. The geezer is looking like prime Pete Sampras out here. He hasn’t lost a point on his service, and leads 2-1 in the first set.

Sinner reached the quarter-finals last year, remember, where he lead Djokovic by two sets, before succumbing to the eventual champion. He is the heavy favourite to progress here, even if Safiullin is playing out of his skin in the first game, an easy hold. Sinner responds to hold a service game of his own, but Safiullin is swinging freely.

On Court No 1, the first of our male quarter-final pairings emerge: Jannik Sinner and Roman Safiullin. The Russian is currently ranked 92 in the world, but will rise to 43rd even if he loses here. And 30th if he wins!

Absolutely breathless stuff. Take a moment, and maybe read this.

Swiatek wins the second set 7-6 (5)! We’re heading to a third!

Swiatek earns set point, on the Svitolina serve, and the Ukrainian is not aggressive enough! Swiatek dominates the rally, Svitolina is forced long, and the world no 1 has fought back from the brink to tie this match up at one set all!

Swiatek attacks the second serve, bunting a return winner just inside the baseline. She gets the mini-break back! It’s 4-4, but another uncharacteristic forehand error gives Svitolina a 5-4 lead. But then, another forehand winner! From the sublime to the ridiculous for Swiatek. It’s 5-5 and still on serve.

Ballsy from Swiatek, back to 2-4, with a worldy backhand that lands three centimetres inside the tramline. Another excellent passing shot up the line and the Pole is back to 3-4 in the tie break. What drama.

Mini-break for Svitolina! She leads 2-1 in the tie-break. Swiatek is haemorrhaging errors on the forehand – 3-1 to Svitolina – before the Ukrainian finds a timely ace. She leads the world no 1 4-1 in the tie break. A crucial couple of serves coming up for Swiatek now.

Back against the wall, Swiatek finds two excellent winners down the line, before a second-serve ace (!) down the T secures a comfortable hold. It’s 6-6 in the second set. To a decisive tie-break we go!

Interestingly, in that last service game, there was a Svitolina serve that was out, but it was not called, not challenged, and the Ukrainian went on to win a crucial point.

It’s all happening, back to Centre Court we go! Swiatek held up her end to get to 5-5, before Svitolina did the same to reapply the pressure, roaring into a 6-5 lead with an amazing cross-court winner on the run. Swiatek was in complete control as she came to the net, but the Ukrainian somehow found the angle. The crowd go beserk, and Svitolina screams in delight. Swiatek will once again serve to stay in the match.

Vondrousova beats Pegula 6-4, 2-6, 6-4!

Vondrousova is in tears, overwhelmed by the enormity of reaching the semi-finals. She races to 40-0, and converted match point at the second attempt with a volley. Her ability to come to the net, and her booming forehand proved too much for Pegula, who must be devastated.

“I’m loving grass now,” says the triumphant Czech in her post-match interview.

Joy for Marketa Vondrousova after she booked her place in the semi-final.
Joy for Marketa Vondrousova after she booked her place in the semi-final. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/EPA

Back on Centre, Svitolina has fought her way back to 4-4 against Swiatek but faces two break points for the Pole. Svitolina saves one with Swiatek bunting a shot into the net, and the world no 1 again makes an error to hand her rival deuce. That is so uncharacteristic from Swiatek, who continues to struggle with her forehand. Two more forehand errors, and suddenly Svitolina leads 7-5, 5-4! The tournament favourite will serve to stay in the match.

Pegula is hanging in there, both her and Vondrousova are striking the ball well, pummelling groundstokes back and forth towards each other. Vondrousova rips a forehand down the line to send the game to deuce, before Pegula wins a ridiculous 31-shot rally, surely one of the best of the tournament. The quality is sky high, amnd the Centre Court crowd are loving it. Vondrousova forces break point, prevailing on another monster rally in which both hit the baseline, before the 24-year-old breaks again. Vondrousova will serve for the match! She leads 5-4, having won the past four games!

Vondrousova is full of beans, and with new balls in her hands, sends down some hearty serves towards Pegula. It feels like Vondrousova should be taller than she is, in the mould of Kvitova maybe, but she stands only at 5ft6in, so her 107mph serves are most welcome. Vondrousova holds, and we are all square at 4-4 in the third. What a finale in store.

Things are hotting up on Court 1. Pegula has retained her early break and leads 4-2, but Vondrousova throws herself to her right to somehow pull out a clutch volley at the net. Great point, the Czech lefty is now out of it yet! She earns two break points by coming to the net again and converts the second, forcing Pegula into the error. Things are back on serve in the third set, although Vondrousova still trails 3-4. She is piping the tennis ball though, and has momentum here.

Thanks Tom, back with a can of fizzy pop. I can’t overstate what an awful error that was from Svitolina. Mentally, she completely folded in the rest of the game, she double faulted and let Swiatek dominate the rallies. “To be a great tennis player, it’s good to have a short memory”, cries the BBC commentary. That’s not a bad piece of advice. It’s vital that Svitolina puts the error behind her and tries to get back into the set.

Swiatek holds and consolidates the break, winning the game with a rip-snorting backhand cross court past a flailing Svitolina. The Pole leads 3-1 in the second, but a set down of course.

Swiatek breaks for a 2-1 lead in the second set. Swiatek initially looks as if she still can’t get anything out of Svitolina’s serve, which is accurate but not venomous. The Ukrainian races to 40-0 before netting a ridiculously soft attempted drop volley. A proper howler, and this one could be a turning point. It’s followed with a double-fault for 40-30. And suddenly, we’re at deuce when a probing return from Swiatek prompts another return into the net. Svitolina’s second double-fault of the game takes us to a second deuce, and Swiatek then earns a break point with a deep looping forehand winner, which she converts after controlling a rally that ends with Svitolina backhanding into the net.

And Michael’s back and full of omelette and good cheer. So I’ll hand you back.

Swiatek shows signs of restoring her forehand mo-jo with an effortlessly firm winner into the corner. And gives her backhand a strong workout before one of them reels off an equally fine winner into the corner for 40-15. And it’s an easy, and hugely needed, hold. 1-1, second set.

They’re back out and warming up on Court One for the other quarter-final.

Aaand … we resume where we left off. Svitolina holds to love, dominating the rallies and inducing more overhit returns from the Pole. She’s now won 20 out of the last 22 point. Svitolina leads 7-5, 1-0

They’re back out on Centre Court. Swiatek’s been in deep and honest conflab with her coaching team in the box.

The break in play might be what Swiatek needs. She’s recovered from these sorts of situations aplenty, including in this fortnight, but her game really did fall apart at the end of that set. Svitolina’s playing well, striking the ball cleanly and judiciously, but hasn’t had to produce anything spectacular to take the set.

Meanwhile, Jessica Pegula has an early break in the third set against Vondrousova and leads 3-1. And then spots of rain are felt and the roof is called for. Likewise on Centre Court so we’ll have a wee pause. The covers are on the outside courts too.

Svitolina wins first set against Swiatek 7-5

Match on! Svitolina pins Swiatek to the back of the court in a lengthy rally, inducing an error, and it’s 0-30 when she dobs a neat drop-volley just over the net. But Swiatek finally keeps her composure and control in a long rally to win her first service-game point in seven. No matter though because Svitolina responds brilliantly to earn two set points, which she takes at the first opportunity, a testing angled backhand forcing Swiatek to stretch slightly and volley a backhand wide.

She’s won 16 of the last 18 points, and, having already enjoyed some remarkable wins in the past week and a half, the biggest and best of the lot now beckons. But Swiatek’s dug herself out of bother before.

Elina Svitolina on her way to taking the first set.
Elina Svitolina on her way to taking the first set. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Swiatek’s forehand is really misfiring, another shank handing Svitolina a 30-0 advantage and a low one at the net also drifting wide. And another one gives Svitolina the hold. I’d make her the likelier winner of this set now. 6-5.

Over on Court One, we’re on serve in the decider. One set all, one game all between Jessica Pegula and Marketa Vondrousova.

Svitolina breaks back! And to love, to boot. A horrible service game from the top seed as she mis-hits two forehands long for 0-30, the second from a particularly probing Svitolina return it must be said. Make that three forehands overhit, and the Ukrainian has three break points. To round things off, a double-fault hands Svitolina the break-back. 5-5, first set.


Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Secular Times is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – seculartimes.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a Comment