By Yemi Babalola Lagos, Nigeria
The third major Grand Slam in the tennis calendar is underway in England, this is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and is widely regarded as the most prestigious; it is also known as the SW19. This Grand Slam is the only one left of the four Grand slams played outdoor on the grass court, at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877.
This year’s championship is the 131st edition of the Wimbledon. So far, the competition has lived up to expectation, and the big boys and girls are already being separated from the minnows when it comes to the sport.
On Monday July 10, 2017, the round of 16 got underway and in the Gentlemen and Ladies category; world number 2 in the men’s rankings Rafael Nadal and Women’s top ranked player Angelique Kerber lost their matches on the court.
Starting from the Gentlemen’s singles, the last 16 kicked off with Spaniard Roberto Bautista and Marin Cilic the Croatian, where Cilic defeated Bautista 6-2 6-2 6-2, where he booked a spot in the quarterfinals against Gilles Muller who gave Rafael Nadal a though time on the court. (The same court where Novak Djokovic was supposed to play French man Adrian Mannarino but the match was postponed to Tuesday 11 July 2017).
Homeboy Andy Murray also continued his newfound rhythm by defeating French man Benoit Paire 7-6 6-4 6-4. He would be taking on American Sam Querrey who defeated South African Kevin Anderson 5-7 7-6 6-3 6-7 6-3.
Canadian Milos Raonic defeated German Alexander Zverev 4-6 7-5 4-6 7-5 6-1. This victory ensured that Milos Raonic booked a spot in the quarterfinals to take on 18-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer. The Swiss man defeated Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets 6-4 6-2 6-2. Not forgetting that Federer won this year’s Australian open finals and took a break from tennis during the French open, in other to prepare for Wimbledon. In addition, this would be Federer’s 50th Grand Slam quarterfinal.
While, Tomas Berdych in a surprise move defeated Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-7 6-3 3-6 6-3 to book a spot with whoever comes out wins the Tuesday 12 noon fixture between world number 4 Novak Djokovic and Adrian Mannarino.
The ladies were not left out in action yesterday as Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova started with the upsets as she defeated polish Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets 6-2 6-4, to book a spot in the quarterfinals against 24-year-old Spaniard, Garbine Muguruza. Muguruaza defeated world number one in the women’s rankings Germany’s Angelique Kerber 4-6 6-4 6-4.
Kerber has not had a good year in the tennis world and has only been able to hold on to the number one ranking in the world due to the absence of Serena Williams (due to pregnancy) and the loss of form of other female elite players.
French open champion Jelena Ostapenko who is from Latvia, defeated Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-3 7-6 to book her quarterfinal spot against, the other half of the Williams sister Venus Williams. Venus who despite her personal challenges back home in America defeated Croatian Ana Konjuh in straight sets 6-3 6-2, to become the oldest female player at 37 still in the competition since Martina Navratilova in 1994.
While Slovakia’s Magdalene Rybarikova knocked out Croatia’s Petra Martic 6-4 2-6 6-3 to make it into her first Grand Slam quarterfinals. This victory ensured that Rybarikova would take on Coco Vandeweghe who knocked out Danish and one time former world number one Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 6-4.
English favourite Johanna Konta, who is also British number one continued going strong in the SW19 as she saw off France’s Caroline Garcia 7-6 4-6 6-4. To become the first British woman to reach the quarterfinals since 1984. Konta would take on Romanian Simona Halep who is been tipped by pundits across the world to win this title barring any injury concerns. Halep defeated former world number one Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian was no match for Halep who won 7-6 6-2 to book a spot in the final eight of the competition.
The Wimbledon action would continue later today, where the quarterfinals in the women singles would kick off this afternoon. As well as in the men’s singles where the final fixture of the round of sixteen would take place by noon between Djokovic and Mannarino.
You can follow me on twitter @yemzd for live updates of the competition and other sporting stories and development.