Wimbledon 2017 | Sania Mirza knocked out of women's doubles; Roger Federer rolls on, while Gilles Muller stuns Rafael Nadal

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Wimbledon 2017 | Sania Mirza knocked out of women's doubles; Roger Federer rolls on, while Gilles Muller stuns Rafael Nadal

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SportsCafe Desk

07/11/2017

Sania Mirza and Kirsten Flipkens went down 2-6,4-6 to Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan in the fourth round of the women’s doubles event. Meanwhile, Roger Federer reached his 50th Grand Slam quarterfinal- an Open era record, while Gilles Muller stunned a stubborn Rafael Nadal in a marathon 5-setter.

India’s struggles at Wimbledon 2017 continued as Sania Mirza and Kirsten Flipkens lost on Monday. Mirza and her partner Flipkens were seeded 13th in the tournament but failed to get going against Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan in a match that lasted just 71 minutes. 

After holding serve in the first two games, Mirza and Flipkens failed to hold serve and eventually conceded the first set 2-6. The story was similar in the second set as the Swiss-Taiwanese duo maintained the pressure and won the set 6-4 to enter the quarterfinal.

Moreover, the Indo-Belgian pair won just 57% points on their first serves and only 40% points on their second serves. In comparison, Hingis and Chan won 72% and 64% points off their first and second serves respectively. 

Meanwhile, in the men’s section, Roger Federer reached his 50th Grand Slam quarter-final with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Grigor Dimitrov. With this win, the 35-year-oldd also became the second oldest player to reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, after Ken Rosewall, who reached the quarterfinals at the age of 39 in 1971. 

The Swiss Master is yet to drop a set in this year's Wimbledon and once again was at his dominant best as he extended his record over Dimitrov to 6-0. Federer will now play Milos Raonic, who defeated him in last year's Wimbledon semi-finals, in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

But the upset of the tournament so far was caused by Gilles Muller on Monday, as he held his fort against Rafael Nadal who came back from two sets down in the pre-quarters 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13. The Spaniard erased a two-set deficit and in the fifth set overcame four match points. However, a stoic Muller watched on as Nadal vociferously pumped himself up and out of the hole every time only to force the issue eventually when the fifth match point.

After digging himself out of difficult situations over and over during the course of a riveting encounter that lasted more than 4 hours, Nadal suddenly faltered, getting broken in the last game. Muller's celebration after that grueling encounter consisted solely of a relieved sucking in of his breath as he stood still! 

The shock loss extended Nadal's drought without a quarterfinal berth at the Championships to six years. The no.4 seed served from behind throughout the final set and was twice a point from losing in its 10th game. He again was twice a point from losing in the 20th. Only when Muller got yet another chance to end it did he when Nadal got broken by pushing a forehand long.

In another match, defending champion Andy Murray eased into the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the 10th successive year with a 7-6(1) 6-4 6-4 victory over Benoit Paire on Monday. The Brit was not at his best against Paire and his faltering serve was frequently exploited by the 46th-ranked Frenchman, who caused Murray trouble without being able to inflict any lasting damage.

He broke Murray twice in a row in the first set, which ended up going to a tiebreak that the top seed won comfortably. The current World No.1 came into the championships with a niggling hip injury, and still seems occasionally uncomfortable and lacking his usual zip around the court. He had too much guile for Paire, however, and wrapped up his 26th successive win against French opponents in two hours and 21 minutes.

On the other hand, in the women’s section, Johanna Konta became the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals since Jo Durie in 1984 when she outlasted Caroline Garcia of France 7-6(3) 4-6 6-4 on Monday. The Brit was always on top in the first set despite having to take it via a tie-break. 

The sixth-seed kept her cool and controlled the court and did not get flustered even when she lost five games in a row en route to Garcia taking the second set.Given that Konta and Garcia play with a similar style, serving solidly and often dropping to one knee to get as low as possible for their deep ground strokes, and there was little to differentiate them in the final set.

Given that Konta and Garcia play with a similar style, serving solidly and often dropping to one knee to get as low as possible for their deep ground strokes, and there was little to differentiate them in the final set of a match dominated by serve.

In another match, Angelique Kerber crashed out of Wimbledon 2017 and lost her hold on the World No. 1 ranking as the German was beaten 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 by Spain’s Garbine Muguruza. The match was always destined to be a close affair, pitting 2016 runner-up Kerber against her 2015 equivalent, and so it proved with the pair sharing the first two sets. 

In the final set, too, there was little to separate the two until the Spaniard nosed ahead, taking the initiative with her braver hitting as the set progressed. She earned two match points in the 10th game of the set, which Kerber saved, before sealing it on her third when the German slapped a backhand into the net.

Finally, French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko beat Elina Svitolina 6-3, 7-6(6) to reach the quarterfinals, while Svetlana Kuznetsova also made the last eight after beating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-4. 

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