July 8, 2019
Jo Konta thrilled the Wimbledon crowds to conjure a stunning comeback win over Petra Kvitova.
Not only had the mighty Kvitova lifted the Wimbledon title twice before, she also took the first set with ominous timing in this tense clash on Centre Court.
But Konta has launched many a comeback this year – most memorably for GB in the Fed Cup. So why should we have been surprised that she wasn’t done yet?
The crushing manner of Konta’s takeover might have shocked even her most fervent supporters, though.
Having lost the first set 6-4, she won the second 6-2 and raced to a 5-1 lead in the third.
There was a wobble as Kvitova battled back to 4-5. But Konta managed to steel herself when it really mattered and closed out on her third match point.
Jo admitted: ‘She was playing really well and I was expecting to go to five-all at some point.
‘But I’m just really happy I was able to keep sticking to what I knew I was doing well and come through in the end.’
Can Konta become the first British woman to lift the Wimbledon title for more than forty years? She reached the semi-final two years ago.
Now a quarter-final against Barbora Strycova beckons and she should benefit from the fact that this lofty territory is by now familiar.
A cautious Konta added: ‘I feel tremendously grateful to be here, so I’m just happy to still be in the event, to be playing each match the way I’m competing, and I’m really pleased with that.
‘To be playing the best players in the world and coming through in tough matches against them. There’s not much more you could ask for as a professional tennis player.’
And it was just the tonic the women’s tournament needed after Wimbledon’s fifteen-year-old super-hero finally met an adult who could cope with her brilliance.
Simona Halep made sure that Coco Gauff’s Wimbledon fairytale ended for the time being. But she will surely provide us with many more enthralling stories in years to come.
Halep did what we said she would do. She proved too strong for Gauff as a former world number one.
Just as well something unfolded as expected. The top two seeds left in the tournament – Ash Barty and Karolina Pliskova – were both knocked out.
And that is surely good news for the impressive Serena Williams, who now faces Barty’s conqueror, Alison Riske after seeing off Carla Suarez Navarro in style.
Karolina Muchova defeated Pliskova 13-11 in the final set and once again the women’s game has proved impossible to predict.
Back to the most loved surprise package of them all – the sensational Coco.
Unfortunately the match against Halep turned upon a controversial incident at 2-2 and deuce in the first set.
The umpire overruled an incorrect ‘out’ call from a line judge after Coco seemed to have hit a winner.
Gauff clearly didn’t think the point should have been replayed. But the mistaken call had come before Halep had any chance to launch a desperate defensive lunge at the ball.
So, technically speaking, the umpire made the correct call and Coco should have accepted that.
However, we are talking about an emotional fifteen-year-old who was under extreme pressure and felt she had been wronged.
Her composure suffered. And when she lost the game, she dropped her racquet in disgust and smashed her hands together with the sheer frustration of it all.
Added to her sense of injustice were the inconvenient stomach pains that Coco was also feeling. Furthermore, at times her breathing seemed too rapid, as the occasion threatened to overwhelm her.
It had to happen some time. Against Halep, a quality opponent, nothing came easily.
Even so, straight after being broken in the opening game, Gauff broke straight back in a spirited reply.
And the quality of Coco’s own hitting was truly extraordinary at that early stage, as she put the talented Romanian under severe pressure.
That’s why it was such a shame when the controversial line call unsettled the youngster.
Like all future greats, Coco must learn to let a perceived injustice go completely. Focus on the next point.
Easier said than done. But essential for a super-strong mindset.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have all learned this handy psychological trick. And that partly explains their continued success.
The Big Three all won in straight sets to progress. At least that much was predictable on another crazy Wimbledon day. Little else was!
Don’t you just love it?