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Women’s quarter-finals preview

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Originally published on 10/07/17 00:00

Venus Williams (USA) [10] v Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) [13]

The oldest player left in the draw, takes on the youngest in their first ever meeting.

Ostapenko was ranked No.50 in the middle May of this year and she will crack the top 10 for the first time if she defeats Williams. It has been a meteoric rise for the 20-year-old and she overcame a second set wobble to eliminate Elena Svitolina in the fourth round.

37-year-old Williams is aiming to become the oldest semi-finalist at the All England Club since Martina Navratilova in 1994. The five-time champion is in a rich vein of form and she was particularly impressive in her 64 minute win over Ana Konjuh in the round of 16.

Both players will look to be proactive and play first-strike tennis. Ostapenko is unlikely to waver from her unrelenting attacking approach and Williams will adopt a similar strategy. Long rallies may be rare, but it promises to be a fascinating duel between a wily veteran and a young upstart.

Ostapenko won just 29% of points behind her second delivery against Svitolina and it remains the weakest area of the game. If the Latvian does not make a high percentage of first serves, she could be in trouble.

Prediction: Williams in three

Johanna Konta (GBR) [6] v Simona Halep (ROU) [2]

If Halep wins and reaches the semi-finals, she will become the world No.1 for the first time when the rankings are updated on Monday. If Konta is victorious, Karolina Pliskova will make her debut in top spot.

Konta is attempting to become the first British female to reach the last four since Virginia Wade in 1978. The No.6 seed did well to eliminate Caroline Garcia in the fourth round but her latest opponent is a step up in quality.

Halep is yet to concede a set in the tournament however she has lost her two previous main-tour contests with Konta. The Romanian has admitted in the past that she doesn’t particularly enjoy facing the Brit.

A tight battle between two players eager to taste Grand Slam success is expected.

Prediction: Konta in three

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [14] v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) [7]

This is a last eight meeting between two former major winners.

With a quarter-final victory, Muguruza returns to the top 10. The Spaniard is beginning to find her best form in SW19 and she was outstanding in her fourth round win over the top seed, Angelique Kerber.

In the final set of her match with the German, Muguruza was relentless. She never ventured from her preferred attacking style and her willingness to play on the front foot eventually paid dividends.

Kuznestova is back in the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time in a decade. The evergreen Russian has blasted her way through the draw and she is yet to drop a set.

This will be Kuznestova’s fourth appearance in the quarter-finals at the All England Club. She is unlikely to have a better opportunity to reach the semi-finals for a first time.

Prediction: Muguruza in three

Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) v Coco Vandeweghe (USA) [24]

Rybarikova is the only unseeded player left in the competition and she is bidding to become the lowest ranked player {No.87] to reach the semi-finals since Zheng Jie seven years ago.

The Slovakian is a delight to watch on grass. The 28-year-old uses her variety and finesse to great effect and her backhand slice is excellent. She has won both previous meetings with her latest opponent – but they’ve never met on grass.

Vandeweghe is equally comfortable on the immaculate lawns in SW19. Both her title wins have come on grass and she is yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Both players will view this as a glorious opportunity to reach the last four.

Prediction: Vandeweghe in three

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