Manic Monday started with a match that lived up to the day’s nickname. And women’s tennis will have a new world No. 1 come next week.
No. 14 Garbine Muguruza of Spain defeated world No. 1 Angelique Kerber in impressive fashion, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to move onto the quarterfinals, where she’ll face seventh-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova. Muguruza Spaniard has lost just one set in the tournament.
Muguruza battled back from a tough first set, playing some outstanding tennis over the last two. The Spaniard had 55 winners compared to just 27 for Kerber, and she converted on four of her eight break point opportunities.
Overall, it was a tight match — both players won exactly 101 points — that took nearly two-and-a-half hours to complete. But when it mattered most, it was Muguruza who won the crucial points in the third set. After falling behind an early break, she got back on serve by breaking Kerber back in the third game. From there she broke Kerber twice more, including in the tenth and final game of the set. In the tenth game, Kerber saved back-to-back match points down 15-40, but then recorded two straight unforced errors to lose. The German only had 12 all day, but those final two came at the worst possible time.
Even as world No. 1, Kerber has had her struggles. She’s now lost nine straight matches to players ranked inside the top 20. After winning two majors in 2016, she hasn’t even reached the quarters in any of the three so far in 2017. In fact, she hasn’t won a tournament since to 2016 U.S. Open. Kerber also went to the championship match last year at the All England Club, losing to Serena Williams, so this is a very early exit by her standards.
Either fifth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania or third-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic will take over as the world’s top woman. Halep must advance to the semis to take the top spot. Pliskova, who is already out of Wimbledon, will become No. 1 if Halep fails to do so.