Britain’s Johanna Konta is one step away from the Wimbledon semi-final after coming from a set behind to beat two-time champion Petra Kvitova.
Konta, who also had to recover from losing the opening set in her previous match against Sloane Stephens, showed her battling qualities once again to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
The world number 18 will face Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic in tomorrow’s quarter-final, after she beat Elise Mertens 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
And Konta may believe the draw is beginning to open up for her, as two of the favourites for the Ladies’ Singles title at Wimbledon went out on what has become known as Manic Monday.
Number one seed Ashleigh Barty was beaten by American Alison Riske on No.2 Court. That meant that had the highly-fancied Karolina Pliskova made it to the semi-finals she would have overtaken Barty as the world number one.
But on the very same court in one of the epic matches of this tournament, Pliskova was defeated 13-11 in the final set by her Czech countrywoman, Karolina Muchova.
In Court 2’s opening match of the day, Barty, the French Open champion, appeared to suffer with her ball toss, but that takes nothing away from Riske, whose variety and depth of groundstrokes proved too much for the Australian.
Barty took the first set 6-3, and after serving four straight aces in the very first game of the match and following that up with a number of passing winners, there was little sign of the trouble to come.
But Riske, the 29-year-old world number 55, came storming back out on Court 2 – a different court these days but still, it appears, the graveyard of some of the game’s biggest names.
She broke Barty in the fourth game of the second set and again in the eighth as she took control of the match, and although Barty composed herself in the decider, she was broken for the fourth time in the match to make it 5-3, and the American served out the biggest match of her career.
Barty said after the defeat: “I think I started well. I was sticking to how I wanted to play. Then in the second set, I think my serve let me down.
“I let Alison get back into the match too many times, having looks at second serves. Overall I didn’t play a poor match. When I needed to, when the big moments were there, Alison played better today. Tough one to swallow but I lost to a better player.”
Barty refused to be drawn into a row over scheduling. Never on the second Monday at Wimbledon – when all the remaining singles players are in action – have more women appeared on Centre Court than men, but Barty – the world number one – remained diplomatic over the decision to put her on an outside court.
She said: “I think obviously scheduling is very difficult. There are so many incredible matches all the fans and all the people want to watch, and players want to be a part of.
“For us, the tennis court is the same size. The surroundings change, yes. They’re a little bit different. No matter what court you’re scheduled on, it shouldn’t matter how you approach the match or play.
“It certainly doesn’t for me. Court 2 is a beautiful court here. We played on that court earlier in the rounds and for a doubles match, as well. It’s a beautiful court. I enjoyed my time out there.”
Fifteen-year-old Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff is out – her fantastic run ended in straight sets today by Simona Halep of Romania 6-3, 6-3.
Gauff is the youngest person ever to qualify for the open era’s main draw, and her three wins – including the first round victory over Venus Williams – have lifted her from world number 313 before the tournament to into the top 200 now.
Elsewhere eighth seed Elina Svitolina beat Petra Martic 6-4, 6-2 and Shuai Zhang beat Dayana Yastremska of the Ukraine 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.
In No.1 Court’s opening game of the day seven-time champion Serena Williams beat Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in two comprehensive sets, 6-2, 6-2 – a result which never looked in doubt after Williams broke serve in the very first game.
After the match Williams, who will now be many people’s favourite for the women’s title after Barty’s defeat, said: “I always get excited. I still want it otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I had more matches this week than in the past five months, but I know that I can play and I am feeling better physically.”
Williams now faces Riske in tomorrow’s quarter-final and said: “She (Riske) is great on the grass and has taken out the number one player in the world who has just won a grass court tournament.”
In the Gentlemen’s Singles the big three are all safely through to Wednesday’s quarter-finals.
Rafael Nadal, who has looked excellent so far, saw off Dan Evans’ conqueror Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in just an hour and 45 minutes.
Top seed Novak Djokovic beat Ugo Humbert in straight sets – and Roger Federer’s form will be a worry for everyone yet again – the eight-time champion beating Matteo Berrettini of Italy 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in quick time.
Roberto Bautista Agut’s fine tournament continued with a straight sets win over Frenchman Benoit Paire, while American Sam Querrey saw off countryman Tennys Sandgren, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 to reach his third quarter-final in four years.
Afterwards Querrey said: “It feels great. I love playing here and I’m getting more comfortable every year. I like playing on the grass. It’s becoming more of a thing when I get here I don’t care so much who I’m playing because I have just the confidence that I can make a run regardless of who’s in front of me.”
Belgium’s David Goffin is also through to the quarter-finals, beating Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 7-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, as is Kei Nishikori of Japan, who beat Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin in four sets.
In the day’s final match to finish, Argentina’s Guido Pella came from two sets down to beat Milos Raonic 8-6 in the fifth.
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