Petra Kvitova ushers Venus Williams towards the final exit door

Czech’s victory heralds a changing of the guard as youth comes to the fore

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark reacts after breaking serve during her women’s singles match against Ana Konjuh of Croatia. Photo: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark reacts after breaking serve during her women’s singles match against Ana Konjuh of Croatia. Photo: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

 

and it needs them to do it in the most difficult moments. Yesterday was such a day.

Almost three weeks ago Romania’s Simona Halep turned up at the French Open final at Roland Garros but fell just short. A player virtually unknown outside Romania was about to face Maria Sharapova.

The day belonged to the Russian but the future maybe to the 22-year-old or one of the other younger players, who this week have begun to pour over the ramparts.

Halep lost in Paris but yesterday took three sets against Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko to settle her advance. Caroline Wozniacki, a player who would give blood for her tennis to replace other aspects of her life in the public consciousness, is also through to the second week.

Wozniacki, shaking off early trouble, took just over an hour to beat 16-year-old Ana Konjuh.

The Croatian may have been the youngest player in the draw and ranked 189 in the world but it is the 23-year-old former world number one that is into the round of 16 for the first time in three years. So Wozniacki is making a statement.

A statement

“You seem to do better when Rory is not about,” said a reporter after her 6-3, 6-0 win.

“Is that a statement or a question,” she replied defensively.

“It’s a question,” said the reporter.

“I think it was more of a statement,” said Wozniacki.

“Do you think the crowd are rooting for you for showing dignity and class for off-court issues,” she was asked.

“Honestly, you know,” she said exasperated.

“I think everyone here wants to make me a victim. I’m not a victim. I’m just playing tennis. I’m going about my life. I’m playing well. I’m in the second week. My private life has nothing to do with my tennis. . ..”

Barbora Strycova, unheard of and unseen this side of the world was also carving out her space for next week’s second half and she meets Wozniacki.

Na Li, the second seed but never before past the quarter-finals at Wimbledon tumbled badly to Strycova, losing on two tiebreak sets 7-6(5), 7-6(5).

Li hit more winners but also made more unforced errors in her resolutely back court game.

“I believed in myself. The key was the belief in myself and not give her easy points,” said Strycova. There was a lot belief around, a lot of conviction and boldness. Belinda Bencic, a junior Wimbledon winner last year, beat the USA’s Victoria Duval 6-4, 7-5.

“I think I’m more experienced on the WTA Tour,” said Bencic. “Before I was just on the junior level.”

Little Hingis is on her way and faces Halep, so one of them will fall. A 17-year-old Swiss against a 22-year-old Romanian, both of them full of self worth and potential.

On Centre Court Petra Kvitova, the 2011 champion ushered Venus Williams out of the championship. Williams, an eight -time finalist and a five-time winner met one of the few players with a winning record against her.

A big hitting, back court match full of intensity, Kvitova won 7-5, 7-6, 7-5 over two and a half hours. Kvitova seeded six and aged 24, Williams seeded 31 and aged 32. The latter’s wave and smile at the end suggested it could be her last visit.

Yesterday Kvitova made the statement of the week and as they all clamour for position now, the Czech left hander has shown one thing clearly.

She can and will seize the moment.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.