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Konta is Wimbledon favourite, Venus into second week

Johanna Konta is favourite to take the women’s title at Wimbledon after moving into the fourth round on Friday, but there were also convincing wins for the likes of Venus Williams and Jelena Ostapenko.

Only two matches out of the eight played went beyond two sets on day five, with Simona Halep, Caroline Garcia and Elina Svitolina also making short work of their opponents.

Victoria Azarenka had to come from behind to see off Heather Watson, while Ana Konjuh overcame eighth seed Dominika Cibulkova over three sets.

All this took place under the watchful eye of some famous faces. Here, we take a look at some of the main talking points from the women’s draw.

 

HOME HERO KONTA?

Konta moved into the second week of Wimbledon for the first time with a 6-4 6-1 win over Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Konta is seeded sixth for the tournament and, following the elimination of Watson, is the last remaining Briton in the women’s draw.

No British woman has won the Wimbledon singles crown since Virginia Wade in 1977, but Konta has now been installed as favourite to take this year’s title.

“I have said that everyone in the draw is in with a chance of taking the title,” said Konta. “I think I’m pretty sure favourites also come and go. They change daily almost.

“I’m just here, happy to have actually made it into the second week, happy to come through three battles this week.

“Again, very much taking it one match at a time. But definitely working towards staying involved for a full two weeks.”

 

VENUS AND OSTAPENKO MARCH ON

Williams and French Open champion Ostapenko are on course to meet in the quarter-finals and both came through their third-round matches in straight sets on Friday.

Williams – the oldest woman to reach the fourth round since 1994 – triumphed 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 over Naomi Osaka, while Ostapenko came from a break down twice to get the better of Italy’s Camila Giorgi 7-5 7-5.

The pair face Konjuh and fourth seed Svitolina respectively in the fourth round, the Ukrainian having seen off Carina Witthoeft on Friday.

As for Williams’ plans before her next match: “Practice, rest, nothing. No big plans. Zero big plans.”

 

AZARENKA MAKES A STATEMENT WITH WATSON WIN

We did not know what to expect from Azarenka in her first grand slam back after becoming a mother but the two-time major winner should arguably be considered among the favourites in a wide open women’s singles draw after she battled past home hope Watson.

Azarenka recovered from losing the first set and survived a rollercoaster third to win 3-6 6-1 6-4 in two hours and six minutes on Centre Court, the Belarusian satisfied with her determination and persistence.

“These are the matches you are looking for, to find a way [to win] when not everything is going great, so I’m very happy that I was able to stay tough, find some other way to win,” she said.

“In the third set I really stepped up in the key moments.”

Azarenka – later beaten by Watson in the mixed doubles – will face Simona Halep in the fourth round after the world number two beat Shuai Peng in straight sets.

 

KINGS OF RUGBY, FOOTBALL AND GOLF OCCUPY ROYAL BOX

While the best in tennis were strutting their stuff, other sports stars were in attendance with a watching brief, former All Black Dan Carter, ex-England captain David Beckham and Masters champion Sergio Garcia among those taking in the action on Centre Court.

ajike

Ajike is one of Nigeria's top Sportscasters with over 15 years of experience in writing and talking Sports.

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