July 10, 2017
Andy Murray had described it as ‘unlikely.’ But he and Jo Konta celebrated great victories on Manic Monday, to maintain the chance of the British winning both Wimbledon singles titles.
It is the first time since 1973 that the host nation can boast male and female quarter-finalists. So there is a special excitement in the air at Wimbledon 2017 right now.
Assessing his own performance in a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Benoit Paire, Murray enthused: ‘That was by far the best I’ve hit the ball all tournament so I’m pleased with that.’
Next he plays American 24th seed Sam Querrey on Wednesday, and there is no reason why he can’t go all the way.
Meanwhile Konta set up a mouth-watering clash against second seed Simona Halep for Tuesday by defeating Caroline Garcia in three sets, winning 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-4.
Johanna dropped to her knees with the relief and euphoria she felt at becoming the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals since Jo Durie in 1984.
‘It was such a tough match to play,’ she admitted. ‘I was just happy to get enough returns in that final game.’
Murray’s improvement makes him a genuine contender once more, after some dark days before Wimbledon began this year. He confessed: ‘Two weeks ago I was resting and a little bit concerned. It’s frustrating having issues so close before a tournament but I’m doing well and hopefully I can keep it up.’
There was little sign of Murray suffering from hip trouble, although his tennis was far from impressive at times in that tricky first set. ‘A couple of sloppy service games,’ is how Murray described being 2-4 down with the threat of a further break.
But he recovered brilliantly to take the tie-break virtually unanswered, and even a squabble with the umpire over a line decision at the start of the third set couldn’t distract Murray from closing out the match.
‘It was just one point and we must have played about three hundred out there,’ explained Murray later, as he played the incident down.
Konta will have to play even better than she has done already in order to beat Halep, even though the little Romanian has struggled to make an impact on the Wimbledon grass before now.
Meanwhile Jelena Ostapenko, who defeated Elina Svitolina 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), looks hungry enough to add the Wimbledon crown to her French Open title, which she won by beating Halep in Paris last month.
But there is no reason why Konta shouldn’t believe she can go all the way, having beaten even the feisty Ostapenko in Eastbourne a matter of days ago.
And another of her victims on the south coast, the world number one Angelique Kerber, will no longer be a threat at Wimbledon this year.
She crashed 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Garbine Muguruza, which means that Kerber will no longer be rated best in the world after the Championships. That may even come as a relief to the German, who has struggled with the pressure she carried with the top ranking.
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