8 more women down and it still looks just as unclear on who will take the Wimbledon title home in the women’s event. Opening Centre Court is a battle of youth and experience although both women are now slam winners. 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko plays Venus Williams in what is sure to be a showcase of heavy hitting.
Almost double her fourth round opponent’s age, Venus had a fairly comfortable time against the Croatian Ana Konjuh, beating the 19 year old 6-3 6-2. It was finished in just over an hour with Venus’ serve not being broken at all. “I think I’m playing pretty solid,” Venus said post-match. “For me it’s about getting through the round. You’re not going to play perfect every round.” She has looked in much better form the past two rounds against top young talents, making a mockery of the age gaps between her and opponents Konjuh and Naomi Osaka.
Ostapenko has grew in confidence over the past week, defeating Elina Svitolina in straight sets in the fourth round. She had some scrappy three setters to begin the tournament but has found the groove once more that saw her win the French Open title. Now at a slam match winning streak of 11, the Latvian is happy with the way things are going. “The first couple of matches were tough. I wasn’t playing my best. But I still won. I was fighting. So I think that’s the key for getting your confidence and playing better and better with every match.” Even when things got nervy at the end of the second, Ostapenko managed to steady the ship but not before blowing 7 match points over two games and a tiebreak.
“I haven’t seen her play a lot; I didn’t watch any of the French when I was finished with it,” Venus said of Ostapenko. “I know she had an amazing moment there. She’s riding on that momentum, confidence I’m sure.” The Latvian’s service issues may finally come to haunt her against Venus but if she remains solid then there is absolutely no reason why she can’t move just two matches away from the rare Wimbledon-French Open double. And once there, she is absolutely a legitimate contender to win it all. Meanwhile, Venus going for Wimbledon title number 6 at the age of 37 would be just as great a story as Roger Federer extending his title record on the men’s side.
Prediction – Venus Williams in three sets