LONDON, Great Britain - The first week of Wimbledon is in the books, and Middle Sunday provides the briefest of respites before the frenetic resumption of action fans know as "Manic Monday."
All eight Round of 16 matches will take place in less than 24 hours, leaving the WTA Insider team to take a look at the high-caliber field still in the running to take home the elusive Venus Rosewater Dish.
WTA Senior Writer Courtney Nguyen is joined by WTA Web Editor David Kane for a free-wheeling conversation on the week that was at the All England Club, analyzing the biggest surprises, best matches, and which players have what it takes to keep their early momentum going into the final weekend.
It's all happening on the latest episode of the WTA Insider Podcast:
Insider Talking Points:
"From talking to a lot of pundits and former players, the sense that everyone had coming into Wimbledon was that this was a completely open field and there was going to be chaos. While we steel ourselves for upsets, you look at the field six days into the tournament and setting aside Magdalena Rybarikova's win over Karolina Pliskova, the draw has held up. Seven of the Top 10 are into the Round of 16, eight of the Top 10 seeds. The outliers are Ostapenko, French Open champion, CoCo Vandeweghe, a tremendous grass court player. There are young guns like Ana Konjuh. The two biggest surprises are two surging players: Petra Martic and Rybarikova, who won two grass court ITF Challenger titles this spring." Nguyen on the state of the draw heading into the second week.
"I think one of the major themes of the 2017 season has been analyzing the mind of a champion, and how it just so different from those of mere mortals. We've had the opportunity to see that in action a lot this year, from Serena Williams to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, to now Victoria Azarenka. It's impressive, and a little scary." Kane on Victoria Azarenka's comeback from maternity leave.
"Kerber/Muguruza was really a match-up that defined the 2015 season. They came up against each other so many times that year, including here at Wimbledon. Muguruza was constantly getting the better of Kerber then, so that'll be a very interesting showdown. They had two very different paths, as well. Kerber really had to scrap through the first week; she hasn't looked at her best, and was two points away from being a set and a double break down to Shelby Rogers in the third round. She was able to pull it out and has just been fighting, which is a really great thing to see." Nguyen on the fourth round match between World No.1 Angelique Kerber and 2015 Wimbledon finalist Garbiñe Muguruza.
"It was good to see Caroline Garcia break the Mallorca Open hoodoo; it's been tough to translate success on the higher-bouncing Spanish grass at the All England Club, but I was so impressed with how Garcia closed out Madison Brengle in the third round. This is a player who had never been to the second week of a major tournament in her first 20 main draw appearances; as much of player as she's been on our minds, it was a missing spot on her resume. She got the job done for the first time at home at the French Open, goes one better against Alizé Cornet in a nervy match to reach the quarterfinals. But she backs it up right away at Wimbledon in a draw that I thought would be tricky for her." Kane on Caroline Garcia, who plays hometown favorite Johanna Konta on Monday.
"It's Kontamania here. Konta has really captured the British imagination, in large part thanks to the great match that she played against Donna Vekic, winning 10-8 in the third in a high-quality match. Everyone pretty much agrees that it was the Match of the Tournament from the first week, and it was kind of important that Konta have a match like that here at Wimbledon because it matters for the British public. Casual eyes may not be paying attention to what happens in Stanford or Miami, but they're paying attention here. All credit to Konta, who has handled the pressure here the way you would expect Jo Konta to do, which is not really deal with it. It hasn't impacted her too much, she's put her hard hat on, and gotten to work." Nguyen on Konta's breakout tournament at Wimbledon.