WTA Insider profiles the eight women vying for the Venus Rosewater Dish; can seasoned veterans like Venus Williams or Svetlana Kuznetsova take home the trophy? Might the likes of Jelena Ostapenko continue serving youth? Or could top players like Simona Halep or Johanna Konta win their first major title?
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen

LONDON, Great Britain - The women's quarterfinals are set for Tuesday at Wimbledon and the Elite Eight are evenly split between four players who have held the trophy at the end of a Slam and four who are looking for a major breakthrough.

Who has the advantage? Will it be someone who knows how to win seven matches under the pressure-cooker pressure of a Slam? Or will a new champion be anointed for the fifth time in the last eight Slams?

Here's a look at Wimbledon's Elite Eight.

The Champions:

No.11 Venus Williams: The Queen Bee.

For the second consecutive match, 37-year-old Venus will face-off against the youngest player left in the draw. In the fourth round it was 19-year-old Ana Konjuh. On Tuesday it will be 20-year-old Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko. Throw in her win over 19-year-old Naomi Osaka in the third round and Venus has done well to represent the "Get off my lawn" crowd. Venus is the oldest player to advance to the quarterfinals of a Slam since Martina Navratilova, here at Wimbledon, in 1994.

Venus is a seven-time Slam champion and no tournament has rewarded her aggressive play at the baseline and net as much as Wimbledon, where she is a five-time champion. How can you not dominate at a tournament where the trophy bears your name? It was a match made in heaven.

A semifinalist here last year, only one woman still playing the game has won more main draw matches at the All England Club than Venus. That would be little sister Serena. If Venus beats Ostapenko, she'll join Serena as the co-leader with 86 main draw wins.


Game face on ? another day another challenge

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No.8 Svetlana Kuznetsova: The Talent.

Wimbledon has never been fertile soil for the Russian. The two-time Slam champion had not made the quarterfinals since 2007 and has never made a semifinal here. So naturally, she would make her first Slam quarterfinal since 2014 and could make her first Slam semifinal since 2009 when she won the French Open.

That's Sveta. Unpredictable as always.

After making the Round of 16 at four of her last five majors, the 32-year-old has steamrolled into the quarterfinals without losing a set. She's thrown down two bagel sets (against Ekaterina Makarova and Polona Hercog) and has yet to be taken to a tiebreak. The closest she came to losing a set came against Makarova, when she closed out the match 7-5. In her first big test of the tournament, she had no problem with No.9 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, winning 6-2, 6-4.


Cuartos! ? Quarters! ? @wimbledon

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No.15 Garbiñe Muguruza: The Lightning Strike.

The 2016 French Open champion is into her second major quarterfinal of the season (Australian Open) and is looking to make her first Slam semifinal since that title run in Paris last year. A finalist at Wimbledon in 2015, she knocked out No.1 Angelique Kerber, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the best match of the Round of 16. It was the type of performance that could unlock things for the 23-year-old Spaniard, who fell out of the Top 10 after the French Open and looks to be playing freely once again.

Week-to-week consistency has been a work in progress for Muguruza, but she's proven that she's a consistent threat on any given day, at any given tournament. When she's hot she's unplayable. We saw that clearly last year when she blasted her way past Serena Williams to win the French Open.

Her success at Wimbledon continues to confuse her - she admits she's still shocked she's made the final - but it's not about the surface. When Muguruza is in the zone the surface is inconsequential. That's what makes her one of the biggest threats on tour.

No.13 Jelena Ostapenko: The Prodigy.

After four wins at Wimbledon, it's safe to say the 20-year-old Latvian hasn't been weighed down by the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen. The only reigning major champion left in the draw, Ostapenko has now won 11 consecutive Slam matches en route to becoming the first maiden Slam champion to make the quarterfinals of her next Slam since Kim Clijsters back in 2006.

A junior Wimbledon champion just three years ago, Ostapenko is into her first Wimbledon quarterfinal and is the youngest player left in the draw. She's bidding to become just the fifth junior champion to win the singles title, joining a club that includes Ann Haydon-Jones, Karen Hantze Susman, Martina Hingis, and Amelie Mauresmo.


Second week @wimbledon ???

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The Contenders:

No.2 Simona Halep: The Lady in Waiting.

No pressure, Simona. Once again, the World No.2 finds herself a match away from the No.1 ranking. Beat Johanna Konta and the 25-year-old will make history, becoming the first Romanian woman to ever hold the No.1 ranking when the new rankings come out on Monday.

Of the "Contenders," Halep is the only one to have made a Slam final, doing so twice at the French Open, coming within three games of getting across the line last month against Ostapenko. There were questions as to whether Halep would have a Parisian hangover after that gut-wrenching loss, but she has continued to be one of the most in-form players on tour. Halep has won 26 of her last 30 matches since the Miami Open and has made the final at three of her last four tournaments. Rather surprisingly, Wimbledon has turned out to be a fairly consistent Slam, having made the semifinals in 2014 and quarterfinals last year.

Is this Simona's time?

No.7 Johanna Konta: The Cardiac Kid.

The 26-year-old is the first British woman to reach the quarterfinals since Jo Durie in 1984 and a win over Halep on Tuesday would make her the first British semifinalist since Virginia Wade in 1978. That's a lot of history to make for Konta. Then again, Konta has spent the last 12 months checking off "the first Brit since..." milestones nearly every month. She's used to it by now.

Whether Konta would be used to the unique pressures of being a top-ranked British player at Wimbledon was a big question coming into the tournament and she has passed with flying colors. That's no surprise to those of us who watch her frequently on tour. Konta has spent two years proving week after week that she's one of the best at processing pressure - She doesn't ignore it, she accepts it.

As she closes in on a Top 5 debut (only four British women have ever cleared that hurdle) Konta has proven this week that she has the mettle to make a real run at the title. Her two three-set wins during the fortnight followed the same pattern: Konta held her nerve and her opponent was the one who blinked first. She came through to win 10-8 in the third over Donna Vekic in the second round and again edged Caroline Garcia 6-4 in the third in the Round of 16.

Buckle up, Britain. You may just have a champion on your hands.


Quarterfinal mood ????? #TeamYonex #TeamAsics #GoneRogue

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No. 25 CoCo Vandeweghe: The Ace.

The 25-year-old American had the toughest road to the quarterfinals and she hasn't dropped a set. Only Kuznetsova has lost fewer games en route to the quarterfinals than Vandeweghe, who has overpowered opponent after opponent over the fortnight, beating Mona Barthel, Tatjana Maria, Alison Riske, and No.5 seed Caroline Wozniacki to make her second Wimbledon quarterfinal. Only World No.87 Magdalena Rybarikova stands in the way of Vandeweghe's second Slam semifinal of the season, having made her breakthrough in January at the Australian Open.

The faster the surface, the happier the CoCo. She has excelled on grass since making her debut on the surface in Birmingham in 2011 (interestingly, she lost to her quarterfinal opponent Rybarikova that year). Since then, only Petra Kvitova, Kerber, Sabine Lisicki, Serena Williams, and Radwanska have more grass wins. All five of those women have made at least one Wimbledon final, with three lifting the trophy. This surface was made for Vandeweghe and it's only a matter of time until she breaks through at the All England Club.

No. 87 Magdalena Rybarikova: The Natural.

A year ago, Rybarikova was playing Wimbledon with her wrist in a splint. Two surgeries later and after a seven-month layoff, she's back to playing her best tennis. In fact, the 28-year-old Slovakian says she may even be better than she once was.

Rybarikova's game translates so seamlessly on grass. Armed with a good flat serve that she can place well, a biting backhand slice, a flat forehand and backhand she can skid through the court, and total comfort at the net, Rybarikova's game crystalizes on the turf. So it's a shock that she had never made it past the third round at Wimbledon before this year, where she pulled off the upset of the tournament by ousting No.3 Karolina Pliskova in the second round.

How good is Rybarikova right now? She carries a 17-1 record on grass (across all levels) into her quarterfinal showdown with Vandeweghe, which also happens to be a rematch of a first round match at the French Open last month, which Rybarikova won 6-1, 6-4. Rybarikova already knocked out one tournament favorite in Pliskova. Can she pull off another stunner against Vandeweghe to become the first Slovakian woman to advance to the Wimbledon semifinals?