Angelique Kerber while chatting in German in her post-match press conference said her result against Shelby Rogers could very well be the match she needed to turn things around in what has been a tame season for the World No 1. She has gone from three Grand Slam finals in 2016 to zero titles in 2017. And one would have reason to believe that would be true considering the German was all but out in the third round at Wimbledon against the American player on Saturday. But she somehow dug deep and used all her fighting powers to come out 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 victorious.
Her win against Rogers, from a set and a break down, was “very important” she said. “I can do it, I can turn the matches around again. It is back,” she said.
Kerber is looking to capitalise on the absence of Serena Williams to become the first German since Steffi Graf to win Wimbledon in 1996. The current World No 1 had lost out in the final last year and is fighting for her number one ranking as well with Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki well within reach of taking over at the top.
Rogers belted down 48 winners compared with just 25 from Kerber but she was eventually undone by her unforced errors — the final tally totalling 47. “She was hitting the balls very hard. I was just trying to find my rhythm,” said Kerber. “The key was that I was fighting, and I was never giving up… doesn’t matter what the score was. Without this (fight) I don’t know if I would be in the next round right now.”
Rogers capitalised on early advantages garnered by her hard hitting on Kerber’s erratic serving. She earned a break in the third game of the opening and second sets. In the first she went on to close things out but couldn’t do so in the second. She led 4-2 before Kerber came charging back with a net charging half-volley winner in the eighth game the difference maker.
Once Kerber won the longest rally of the match, a 21-shot belter from the baseline, she strode 6-2 ahead in the tiebreak. Even the nuisance of a bee during a service motion couldn’t stop her from winning the second set.
In sharp contrast to the first two sets, Kerber took the early inroads in the deciding set – on the fifth break point opportunity – to lead 1-0. She finally got the job done when Rogers sent a service return long. Kerber will now face Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round who had no trouble dispatching Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-2 earlier in the day.
Caroline Wozniacki wins from two points of defeat
Former World No 1 Wozniacki came from within two points of defeat to down unseeded Estonian Anett Kontaveit 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 and book herself a fourth round place and a berth in the second week at Wimbledon.
The Dane was being seriously overpowered as Kontaveit hit thumping groundstrokes and winners after another with no response from the normally gutsy and consistent Wozniacki. But just as it looked like Kontaveit had the match wrapped up at 5-3 in the second set, Wozniacki drew back – using all her experience – to break not just once but twice and force a tiebreak which she went on to win.
Wozniacki never let go of the momentum in the deciding set to progress and setup another difficult contest against hard-hitting American Coco Vandeweghe.
Agnieszka Radwanska rides on Timea Bacsinszky’s challenge
Radwanska, who lost the 2012 final to Serena Williams also had to come from a set down to beat Swiss 19th seed Timea Bacsinszky 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 on Centre Court. “I expected a lot of tricky shots from her and a lot of entertaining rallies,” said the Polish ninth seed. She next faces Russian eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 US and 2009 French Open champion, who cruised through after posting a comfortably 6-4, 6-0 win over Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog.
Last-16/Fourth Round match-ups:
Kerber vs Muguruza
Radwanska vs Kuznetsova
Rybarikova vs Martic
Vandeweghe vs Wozniacki
Konjuh vs Venus
Ostapenko vs Svitolina
Konta vs Garcia
Azarenka vs Halep