January 17, 2019
It was almost 3.15am when Jo Konta, the last Brit standing, finally lost out to former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza.
But anyone thinking that Konta is a fading star had better think again.
Konta played awesome tennis and might have won a match the Spaniard eventually took 6-4, 6-7, 7-5.
She showed power, precision, and a steely nerve until the very last game.
Had Konta managed to hold that final service game, there would have been a super tie-break and she might just have been in her element once more.
But Muguruza was also on fire and had the advantage of serving first in the third set.
She knew when to turn the screw and raise her level just when it mattered – with Jo serving to stay in the match.
Still, that was only the second service break of the entire contest and shows just how superbly solid Konta had been.
She struck winners for fun and showed all the style and resilience that brought her to the brink of Wimbledon glory two years ago.
What does this mean for Wimbledon fans? Put simply, Konta is back!
Britain now has reason to hope for more Konta heroics at Wimbledon 2019.
That may sound strange after a first-week exit from the Australian Open.
But to see the quality of this match – arguably the best of the women’s tournament so far – was to understand the cause of such British optimism.
Much earlier, Simona Halep had produced a Houdini act by coming back from 2-4 down in the final set against the 20-year-old American, Sofia Kenin.
Now the world number one will play Venus Williams, who beat Alize Cornet 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
That will be a scintillating clash. Williams was a finalist against her sister just two years ago.
And Serena also progressed after blasting Genie Bouchard off the court with some devastating power.
The men didn’t disappoint either. Milos Raonic knocked out former champion Stan Wawrinka in four sets and four nail-biting tie-breaks.
Sascha Zverev took five sets to see off the fearless Jeremy Chardy. And Kei Nishikori needed a fifth-set breaker to down big-serving Ivo Karlovic 10-7.
There was a shock when Dominic Thiem, the seventh seed, retired during the third set against the little-known Alexei Popyrin, who was winning 7-5, 6-4, 2-0. The distraught Austrian said his body ached all over.
Only Novak Djokovic seemed to sail through, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
But by the time Muguruza and Konta had finished, that action belonged to the previous day.