Czech Karolina Pliskova won at Wimbledon on Tuesday without even taking the court.
Like many players who’ve back-doored themselves into the No. 1 ranking while Serena Williams was absent, Pliskova will ascend to the No. 1 ranking at the completion of Wimbledon due to another early loss by current world No. 1 Angie Kerber at Wimbledon, and today’s loss by Simona Halep at the All England Club.
Halep, who could have taken the top ranking for the first time, instead lost to Brit Johanna Konta and her frenzied Wimbledon backers 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-4. A win would have meant Halep appeared at the top spot next Monday instead of Pliskova.
“I’m really pleased with my performance,” Halep said afterwards. “Of course, one of my goals is to get to No. 1. But I had another chance here. I was close, I could say. But doesn’t affect me that much because I think I have many years ahead. So maybe I will have more chances. I’m close, so I have just to keep working. I feel [Pliskova] deserves to be there. She has the best serve, I think, after Serena. So well done to her. She played really well this year. I think she’s happy now.”
Happier is Konta, who became the first British woman to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon since Virginia Wade in 1978.
“To be in the semifinals of my home slam, and to do that in front of a full Centre Court, I mean, it’s pretty, pretty special,” Konta said. “I think the level of tennis that both of us played today, it was just a tremendous match. So I think just to be a part of a match like that again, I’ve been very fortunate this championships. I feel very lucky.”
In the semifinals the Brit will face Venus Williams, who she holds a 3-2 career win-loss mark over.
The No. 10-seeded Williams advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 win over reigning French Open champion and No. 13 seed Jelena Ostapenko to move into the Wimbledon semifinals for the ninth time.
“She played a great match,” the 37-year-old Williams said of Ostapenko. “She competed really well. She kept herself…really in the game with her attitude. I thought she just did a lot of things really well and kept it close. That’s when you have an opportunity to hopefully maybe take a set or the match. She did the right things to do that.”
Unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova continued her Cinderella run Tuesday, upending No. 24 seed CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-3 to reach her first Wimbledon semifinal.
“Before the match, I was still saying to myself, ‘It’s great to be quarterfinal, just be relaxed, just play your game, then we’ll see what’s going to happen,’” Rybarikova said. “I was really not that nervous. Maybe that’s why I also made it.”
Ranked outside the Top 75, this past spring Rybarikova was outside the Top 400 after returning from an injury layoff. She has yet to drop a set during the Wimbledon fortnight.
“Wimbledon is my favorite Grand Slam, that’s for sure,” she said. “Also playing on grass, it’s my favorite surface…I never played good here. I mean, I lost I think eight in a row in the first round.”
In the semis she will face former Wimbledon runner-up and No. 14 seed Garbine Muguruza, who beat No. 7-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4.
“Obviously Kuznetsova is a very tough opponent,” Muguruza said afterwards. “We all know she has been and is a great player. I managed to play a good level during all the match. I earned the victory.”
Muguruza hasn’t faced Rybarikova in two years, since she won only four games off the Slovak on grass at Birmingham in 2015. They are 2-2 in their career head-to-heads.
“Rybarikova, a long time I didn’t play against her, but I can see that her game is still there,” Muguruza said.
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