LONDON, Great Britain - Week 1 at Wimbledon is in the books and what a week it's been. From Petra Kvitova's emotional return to Centre Court on Day 1, to the rousing showdown between Johanna Konta and Donna Vekic, to the emotional outpouring from the locker room in support of Bethanie Mattek-Sands after her horrific knee injury, Week 1 has been, as the kids say, full of feels.
As we ready to enjoy a rare day of no tennis on Middle Sunday, here's what caught our attention over the first six days of the tournament:
Method to the Madness: Chaos? What chaos?
Much of the pre-tournament discussion here at SW19 has been the open field at Wimbledon. In a tournament that has been dominated for so long by the now absent Serena Williams, pundits struggled to identify a small field of favorites.
Do you go with the ones who have done it here before? Then that leaves just 37-year-old Venus Williams and a comeback-building Petra Kvitova. Or perhaps recent form on grass is more your speed, in which case Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Konta might be your picks. Grass court specialists? Again, you might with Kvitova, Radwanska, and CoCo Vandeweghe.
Then again, maybe season-long consistency allows for better tea reading, in which case you were high on Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep, and Elina Svitolina. And then there's the only 2017 Slam champion in the draw, a 20-year-old Latvian who won this tournament as a junior. Could Jelena Ostapenko strike twice?
As it turns out, for as much as "chaos" was the default word of choice during the first week, none of the 16 women into the Round of 16 is all that surprising. The three unseeded players include two-time semifinalist Victoria Azarenka, Magdalena Rybarikova, who is now 16-1 on grass at all levels this year, and Petra Martic, who is into the Round of 16 for the second straight Slam.
It's hard to argue with this Round of 16 slate on Wimbledon's Manic Monday:
No.1 Angelique Kerber vs. No.15 Garbiñe Muguruza
No.2 Simona Halep vs. No.683 Victoria Azarenka
No.5 Elina Svitolina vs. No.14 Jelena Ostapenko
No.6 Caroline Wozniacki vs. No.25 CoCo Vandeweghe
No.7 Johanna Konta vs. No.22 Caroline Garcia
No.8 Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. No.10 Agnieszka Radwanska
No.11 Venus Williams vs. No.29 Ana Konjuh
No.87 Magdalena Rybarikova vs. No. 135 Petra Martic
In all, the Round of 16 includes a five-time champion, three former Wimbledon finalists, 15 Slam titles, nine women who have made at least one Slam final, seven of the current Top 10, eight of the top ten seeds.
The Biggest Loss: Karolina Pliskova.
There has been no more consistent performer on the tour heading into The Championships than World No.3 Karolina Pliskova. Though she will relinquish the top spot in the Porsche Race to Singapore on the Monday after Wimbledon, Pliskova is still in pole position to ascend to No.1 unless Angelique Kerber repeats a run to the final or Simona Halep makes at least the semifinals.
Those scenarious are certainly not out of the question, though Kerber could have to go through Muguruza, Kuznetsova/Radwanska, or Vandeweghe/Wozniacki to get there. Halep has no easier a path, as she faces Azarenka and then possibly Konta in the quarterfinals, with Venus, Ostapenko, or Svitolina potentially looming in the semifinals.
But the stunner of the first week was Rybarikova's fantastic performance to oust Pliskova, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the second round. It was a dangerous potential match-up when the draw came out and Pliskova knew it, describing Rybarikova as the toughest second round draw she had ever had at the Slams. If you want to perplex the hard-hitting Czech, you need a good slice that stays low. Rybarikova, who is coming back from a seven-month injury lay-off after two surgeries to her wrist and knee, has one of the best in the game.
After a great run to the Eastbourne title before Wimbledon, Pliskova was one of the short-list favorites to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish, along with her compatriot and sentimental favorite Petra Kvitova. It took an all-out, near-perfect performance to stop her momentum and that's precisely what Rybarikova was able to produce.
Pliskova, who once again failed to progress past the second round at Wimbledon, had to laugh when asked about her struggles at the All England Club. "Probably something in the air here," she said. "I think it's definitely not the fastest surface where I have ever played and not even on grass. I think the grass on the other tournaments where I played well always it's still a little bit faster than it's here.
"You have to bend your knees, which is always trouble with me. There are few other things which I really don't like on grass but still I have to serve. So I think I serve well but I cannot just think that with a serve I can win. Today I just needed a little bit more from the baseline."
The Name on Everyone's Lips: CoCo Vandeweghe
After Kvitova and Pliskova's exits, the one name so many pundits have focused on here in SW19 is CoCo Vandeweghe. The American is quietly moving through the draw without incident. She has yet to drop a set with wins over Mona Barthel, Tatjana Maria, and Alison Riske, and she is the best remaining grass-court player in the quarter of the draw vacated by Pliskova.
A semifinalist at the Australian Open in January, Vandeweghe faces a stern test against Wozniacki on Monday. The Dane was two points away from losing to fast-riser Anett Kontaveit in the third round, and she'll be looking to break her duck at Wimbledon, the only Slam at which she has yet to make a quarterfinal. If Vandeweghe makes it through, she'll face either Rybarikova or Martic for a chance to make her second Slam semifinal of the year.
Under the Radar and Dreaming: Muguruza, Kuznetsova, Halep, and Svitolina.
All four have yet to lose a set and aside from 2015 finalist Muguruza, few have tapped any of them to win the title. There are reasons: Halep may still have a Roland Garros hangover, Svitolina is managing a foot injury and had never made it past the second round, and Kuznetsova has not made a quarterfinal run here since 2007, and Muguruza, well, she's still not all that comfortable on grass.
"I never feel that comfortable on grass," she said after her win over Sorana Cirstea. "Every time I start the grass season, I'm like, 'How the hell I did that final?'
"The experience I have now playing matches for sure helps me. But it's tough. Everybody knows it's tough."
It's tough, but these four women managed their first weeks perfectly.
Scrapping to Survive: Kerber, Radwanska, Ostapenko, Wozniacki, and Azarenka.
There's a lot to be said for coming into the second week battle-tested. Kerber was two points from falling behind a set and double-break to Shelby Rogers in the third round but gutted out a 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 win to keep her tournament alive. She has not looked in the form that took her to the final last year, but Kerber has shown she's ready to dig in. She's not ready to relinquish that No.1 ranking without a fight.
Not since Victoria Azarenka in 2012 has a first-time Slam champion made the second week of their next Slam. Welcome to the club, Jelena Ostapenko. It hasn't been easy. She finally snapped her streak of eight consecutive three-set matches when she needed just two to get past Camila Giorgi, rallying from 3-5 in the first set and 2-5 in the second to win 7-5, 7-5 in the third round. The 2014 junior champion had to dig deep to get past Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Francoise Abanda in the first two rounds, but again, the confidence is getting her through and it doesn't look like she's feeling the pressure.
Wozniacki and Azarenka have tallied two three-setters each in the first round, dropping the first sets in each. But they've outsteadied their opponents and their experience has shown through.
Please Welcome to the Stage, Johanna Konta.
Those who follow the tour know what the 26-year-old Brit is capable. It's been evident since she made the 2016 Australian Open semifinals, won her first title last year at Stanford, and finished in the Top 10 for the first time. That form has only continued its refinement in 2017, with two titles in Sydney and the Miami Open, and positioned as a regular threat at any tournament she enters. But nothing captures Britain's imagination like home-soil success.
Enter: 2017 Wimbledon.
Konta's gritty 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-8 win over Donna Vekic in the second round was the Match of the Tournament, as Konta took to Centre Court and put on a clinic for gutsy, nerveless tennis, to avenge her loss to Vekic in the final of Nottingham a few weeks ago. The match ended with a heartfelt display of sportsmanship as well, as Konta comforted an emotional Vekic at the net and then gave an incredibly articulate press conference afterwards.
None of that would surprise those of us who watch Jo and speak to her on a weekly basis. She has been no different here than she is any other given week, regardless of the size of the tournament or ranking of her opponent. But it's been great to see her handle the pressure and the spotlight of playing as the British No.1 - and odds-makers' new favorite for the title - with such grace and aplomb.
Hear more of the best Week 1 moments on the latest episode of the WTA Insider Podcast: