Wimbledon semis preview: Venus Williams v Johanna Konta, Garbine Muguruza v Magdalena Rybarikova

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Huge clash: Johanna Konta v Venus Williams.

Each of the four Wimbledon semi-finalists has an incredible story-line around her.

From the experienced veteran excelling at 37 amid incredibly difficult circumstances, to the home favourite carrying British hopes on her shoulder, to the surprise dark horse, who was competing at an ITF event last month, to the former runner-up looking to make the most of a second chance.

Every one of Venus Williams, Johanna Konta, Magdalena Rybarikova or Garbine Muguruza would be a Wimbledon champion the tennis world would happily get behind.

Here’s a closer look at the numbers behind each semi-final match-up.

Venus Williams (USA) [10] v Johanna Konta (GBR) [6]

– At 37 years and 29 days, Venus is bidding to become the oldest Wimbledon finalist since Martina Navratilova in 1994.

– Venus is 15-6 in Grand Slam semi-final matches. 7-8 in Grand Slam finals.

– Venus has played exactly 100 Wimbledon main draw matches. She has now matched her sister Serena with 86 main draw match wins at the All England Club, the third-most in the Open Era.

– Venus is gunning for a sixth Wimbledon singles title and eighth Grand Slam trophy.

– Venus is 3-2 against top-10 opposition in 2017.

– At 37, Venus is the fourth oldest woman in history to reach the Wimbledon semis.

– Venus is playing her 75th Grand Slam main draw – an Open Era record.

– Venus could return to the top-five for the first time since January 2011 if she wins the title.

– Konta was ranked 19 in the world entering Wimbledon last year. She is the current world No7.

– Konta is the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals since Virginia Wade in 1978.

– Konta is bidding to become the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon final since Wade in 1977.

– Konta has hit the most aces of any female player in the tournament, hitting 28 in her five matches.

– Konta will make her top-five debut after Wimbledon. She will be only the fourth British woman to ever crack the top five.

– Konta is 8-2 against top-20 opponents in 2017.

– Konta had won just one match at Wimbledon prior to this fortnight.

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [14] v Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK)

– Muguruza is 2-0 in Grand Slam semi-final matches.

– Of the four semi-finalists, Muguruza has dropped the fewest games (37) en route to the last-four stage.

– Muguruza hasn’t reached a final since she won the French Open 13 months ago.

– Muguruza will return to the top-10 after Wimbledon and could rise to No4 in the world if she wins the title.

– Rybarikova is on a 10-match winning streak, having won the title in Ilkley in the build-up to Wimbledon.

– Rybarikova missed seven months from last year’s Wimbledon, to February 2017, and had surgery on her left wrist and her right knee.

– Rybarikova’s ranking slipped to No453 last March. She’s guaranteed a return to the top-40 on Monday, and could crack the top-20 for the first time if she reaches the final.

– This is Rybarikova’s first Grand Slam semi-final in her 36th major appearance.

– At No87 in the world, Rybarikova is the fourth lowest-ranked woman to reach a Wimbledon semi-final.

– Rybarikova is the first Slovak to reach a Wimbledon semi-final.

– Rybarikova is 2-1 against top-20 players in 2017. Muguruza is 6-5.

– Prior to this fortnight, Rybarikova has never made it past the third round at any Grand Slam.

– Rybarikova has an 18-1 win-loss record on grass this season, including two ITF $100k titles.

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Wimbledon: Andy Murray says he 'doesn't deserve' to stay at world No1 for much longer

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Fought until the end: Andy Murray.

Andy Murray does not believe he has played well enough this season “to deserve to stay” in the No1 spot for much longer, the Scot admitted following his five-set defeat to Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

It was just the third time in his last 10 Wimbledon appearances that Murray has failed to reach the semi-finals at the All England Club, as he bid farewell to the tournament with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1 defeat to the 24th-seeded Querrey.

Playing the entire Championships with a sore hip, Murray fought through a difficult fortnight before surrendering to the American. The world No1 has had several tough moments in 2017, and although he won Dubai and reached the Roland Garros semi-finals, his season as a whole has not been up to his standards as he now drops to 25-10 win-loss on the year.

If Novak Djokovic wins the Wimbledon title, the Serb would take back the world No1 ranking from Murray, who had replaced him at the top end of last year.

“It was going to happen at some stage. I don’t think anyone has ever stayed at No1 their whole career. It always comes to an end,” said Murray on Wednesday.

“I haven’t played well enough this year to deserve to stay there for much longer. If it doesn’t happen by the end of this tournament, it will happen by the end of the US Open.

“That’s fine. Obviously I would rather be ranked No1 than 2, 3 or 4. I go away now and try and find a way to get back there. Hopefully I can do that.”

Murray, who won Wimbledon last year and in 2013, came into the tournament with a hip problem, that interrupted his preparation. He seemed visibly in pain towards the end of his match with Querrey.

“The whole tournament I’ve been a little bit sore. But I tried my best right to the end. You know, gave everything I had. I’m proud about that,” said the 30-year-old. “But it’s obviously disappointing to lose at Wimbledon. There’s obviously an opportunity there. So I’m sad that it’s over.”

Querrey upped his serving stats in the final set, and dropped just one point on serve, as he sealed a place in the semi-finals, becoming the first American man to reach that stage at a Grand Slam since Andy Roddick in 2009.

Murray did not think of retiring from the match, despite being in pain.

“I knew I wasn’t going to do any major damage (to my hip) by playing. So obviously wanted to try, if possible, find a way at the end,” said the Brit. “Obviously it wasn’t the case.

“Sam served great. The end of the fourth set and fifth set, felt like he hardly missed any first serves. He was acing me pretty much every time. I wasn’t getting enough power on my serve to put him in any bother there. So he was dictating all of the points.”

The three-time major champion will now go back to the drawing board with his team, and work on returning to full fitness before next month’s US Open.

“Now I’ll sit down with my team and look at the next step, look a little bit longer term. The US Open’s, I don’t know, six, seven weeks away maybe, something like that. You know, sit down with my team tomorrow and come up with a plan for what I have to do next,” he said.

“This year has obviously been frustrating at times. It’s not been the easiest. But, you know, I’ll want to obviously come back and try and compete for majors. Yeah, that’s what I’ll try and do.”

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Wimbledon video highlights: Johanna Konta makes history as she reaches semi-finals, plays Venus next

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Johanna Konta became the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for 39 years on Tuesday, while five-time champion Venus Williams also made history as the oldest semi-finalist since 1994.

Konta thrilled the patriotic Centre Court crowd with a pulsating 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory that ended second seed Simona Halep’s bid to become the new world number one.

In a potentially classic semi-final on Thursday, Konta faces American star Venus.


Williams had her own landmark moment on Centre Court with a 6-3, 7-5 win over French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko that made her the oldest semi-finalist at the All England Club since Martina Navratilova 23 years ago.


Halep’s defeat means Czech Karolina Pliskova, who lost in the Wimbledon second round, will replace Angelique Kerber on top of the WTA rankings.


Konta, 26, is the first Briton since Virginia Wade in 1978 to make the women’s semi-finals.


Wade, the last British woman to win Wimbledon in 1977, was watching from the Royal Box as Konta reached the second Grand Slam semi-final of her career, the other ending in a 2016 Australian Open defeat against Kerber.


“Right now it’s a little bit surreal just because it’s quite incredible how quickly things go in tennis. I’m definitely digesting things a little bit still,” said Konta, who was ranked outside the top 150 two years ago.


“I knew Simona was not going to give me much for free. I had to be the one to create my own chances. I feel fortunate enough that I took a few of them.”


Born in Australia to Hungarian parents, Konta didn’t move to England until she was 14, switching her allegiance from the country of her birth to Britain when she gained citizenship in 2012.


Adapting to the grass courts of south-west London hadn’t been so easy for Konta, who won just one match in her previous five visits to Wimbledon.


Those failures will seem a lifetime ago to Konta now.


If she wins Wimbledon it will be the first grass-court title of her career, coming just two weeks after she feared her participation in the tournament might be ruined by a back injury suffered in the Eastbourne warm-up event.


Standing in Konta’s way is world number 11 Williams, who was beaten in this year’s Australian Open final and is chasing a first major title since winning Wimbledon in 2008.


Williams, who reached the last of her eight Wimbledon finals in 2009, has now equalled her sister Serena’s total of 86 main draw match victories at Wimbledon, the most among any active player.


“I love this game. That’s why I put in the effort and the time. It’s a beautiful game. It’s been so good to me,” said Venus, who is bidding to break Serena’s record as Wimbledon’s oldest champion in the Open era.


“The competition keeps you growing. You have to get better if you want to stay relevent. I love the challenge.”


Having stunned the tennis world by becoming the first unseeded player to win the French Open last month, Ostapenko was riding an 11-match winning streak at the majors. But the 20-year-old was the youngest player left in the tournament and Venus has scythed through the draw by dispatching a series of opponents almost half her age.


Twenty years after making her Wimbledon debut, Venus was playing in her 100th singles match at the All England Club, while Ostapenko was in only her eighth.


That gulf in experience was apparent as Venus cruised through in serene fashion.


Garbine Muguruza powered into her second Wimbledon semi-final in the last three years with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Russian seventh seed Kuznetsova.


Since winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open last year, Muguruza has struggled to return to the top and this is her first major semi-final since that Roland Garros triumph.


“I played good. I’m trying not to think a lot, just go for it and play my game. I’m happy it worked out,” Muguruza said.


Muguruza, beaten by Serena in the 2015 Wimbledon final, faces Slovakian world number 87 Magdalena Rybarikova in the last four.


Rybarikova became the lowest ranked woman to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for nine years as she shocked American 24th seed Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-3. The 28-year-old, who had lost in the first round in eight of her previous nine visits to Wimbledon, said: “I would never ever believe I could be in the semi-final before this tournament.


“I’m really speechless. I’m so happy and grateful.”




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