LONDON, Great Britain - No.12 seed Jelena Ostapenko is the first played to reach the 2018 Wimbledon quarterfinals, dismissing Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 7-6(4), 6-0.
"I kind of came into the match," Ostapenko explained in her post-match press conference. "I think the opponent played quite well in the beginning. I couldn't get used to the rhythm. But then slowly I got used to the rhythm, started to feel my game. I think at the end I finished really confident."
Ostapenko has yet to drop a set at this year's Championships - losing a combined eight games in two previous matches against Libéma Open runner-up Kirsten Flipkens and Vitalia Diatchenko - but was even more impressive to turn around a near-disastrous opening set and advance into her second straight quarterfinal at the All England Club in one hour and 18 minutes.
"I just practiced really well before Eastbourne, then played Eastbourne and came here. I think my game suits grass pretty well. I really enjoy time here, just looking forward to my next match."
The pair last played in the first round of this very tournament a year ago, with Ostapenko needing three sets to outlast Sasnovich in her first major match appearance after winning Roland Garros.
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Sasnovich arguably caused the biggest surprise of the tournament when she upset two-time champion Petra Kvitova in the first round, but backed up that result in style en route to her first-ever Grand Slam fourth round appearance with wins over Taylor Townsend and No.26 seed Daria Gavrilova.
Finalist at the Brisbane International back in January, the Belarusian enjoyed a thunderous start on No.3 Court, twice leading by a double break at 3-0 and 5-2. Ostapenko, one of just two women from last year's Round of 16 line-up to repeat the feat alongside Angelique Kerber, caught fire from there, winning eight points in a row and edging through the inevitable tie-break.
"I had all that pressure at the French Open, now it's gone. Finally it's gone. Now it's another tournament, another great opportunity for me.
"I'm just not afraid to miss. I'm just going for the shots. I think I'm serving very well this tournament. In general, I think my level is much better than last Grand Slam."
The second set was more of the same for the 21-year-old, who rarely dropped her level as winners freely flowed from her racquet. She quickly raced ahead a triple break advantage of her own, serving out her spot in the last eight after hitting 28 winners to just 15 unforced errors (just two in the second set).
Standing between the Latvian and a first Wimbledon semifinal is two-time quarterfinalist and 2014 Australian Opem finalist Dominika Cibulkova. The former World No.4 ended the giant-killing run of Hsieh Su-Wei, who shocked World No.1 Simona Halep in three sets on Saturday, 6-4, 6-1.
"I played her couple of times. I kind of know how she plays. Just going to prepare well for the match. As I said, I'm going to try to focus more on my game, on myself, then I think anything can happen.
"She's also kind of aggressive player. She's moving very well. She has kind of good forehand, which I think for me her style kind of suits my game because I will feel the rhythm."