Venus and Routliffe reach Wimbledon quarter-finals

New Zealanders Michael Venus and Erin Routliffe have continued their relentless doubles form at Wimbledon, winning three matches from three to march deep into the men’s, women’s and mixed championships.

A marathon day ended for Venus and Routliffe just before 11pm UK time when they won their mixed doubles round-of-16 match.

The second-seeded Kiwi pair fought back to beat British duo Henry Patten and Olivia Nicholls 5-7, 7-5, 11-9 to advance to a quarter-final against another Briton, Neil Skupski, and American Desirae Krawczyk.

About 90 minutes earlier, Routliffe and women’s doubles partner Gabriela Dabrowski won a hard-fought quarter-final over German Laura Siegemund and Czech Barbora Krejcikova 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.

New Zealand's Erin Routliffe and Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski celebrate with the trophy following the US Open tennis tournament women's doubles final match, 2023.

The second seeds’ semi-final is against the seventh-seeded American combination of Caroline Dolehide and Krawczyk.

Men’s doubles ninth seeds Venus and Skupski dominated two one-sided tiebreaks to beat Germans Constantin Frantzen and Hendrik Jebens 7-6, 7-6 in their quarter-final.

They’ll play another unseeded pair in the semi-finals – Patten and Greek Harri Heliovaara.

Italian magic

In men’s singles action, Lorenzo Musetti continued a magnificent fortnight for Italian tennis by reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final with victory over Taylor Fritz.

But the injury curse that has blighted this year’s tournament struck again as Alex De Minaur was forced to withdraw before his quarter-final against Novak Djokovic.

The Australian’s despair was also bad news for Centre Court ticket holders who were left with only 61 minutes of singles action to digest – the time it took women’s fourth seed Elena Rybakina to beat Elina Svitolina’s 6-3, 6-2.

Big-serving Rybakina, the 2022 champion and favourite now to lift the trophy for the second time, will face Barbora Krejcikova in the semi-finals after the tamed the firepower of Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko for a 6-4, 7-6(4) win in a battle of former French Open champions.

Elena Rybakina.

Thursday’s other women’s semi-final will be between Italian seventh seed Jasmine Paolini and Croatian Donna Vekic.

The 22-year-old Musetti initially looked like being overpowered by American big-hitter Fritz but produced a sublime display of silky all-court tennis to beat the 13th seed 3-6 7-6(5), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 and set up a clash with Djokovic.

It is only the second time in history that an Italian man and woman have reached the semi-finals at a Grand Slam, the first coming last month when Paolini and Jannik Sinner reached the last four at the French Open.

“I don’t realise yet what I’ve done. First of all I want to thank all the Italian crowd who are here to support us,” the 25th seed Musetti said on court.

“We were joking about trying to play to the big stage at Wimbledon. I’ve never tried Court One and Centre Court. I played a fantastic match, because Taylor was in great shape.”

Injury list grows

While Musetti was making hay in the sunshine, seven-time champion Djokovic was left redundant after De Minaur was forced out with a hip injury he suffered late on his match against Frenchman Arthur Fils on Monday.

“I’m devastated to pull out due to a hip injury, a little tear of the fibre cartilage that is at the end of or connects to the adductor,” ninth seed De Minaur, told reporters.

“I felt a loud crack during the last three points of my match against Fils and got a scan yesterday and it confirmed this was the injury and with high risk of making it worse if I was to step on court.”

De Minaur’s injury was the latest to impact players at Wimbledon this year where relentless rain has forced many of the matches on Centre Court and Court One to be played under roofs.

Grigor Dimitrov retired hurt during his match against Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev injured his knee against Cameron Norrie in the third round and blamed that on his defeat by Fritz in the last 16, saying he was playing on one leg.

On the women’s side Madison Keys had to quit in the fourth round against Paolini and Danielle Collins was also hurt in her fourth-round loss to Krejcikova.

Women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka was forced out before the tournament even started and with most of the top seeds losing early, Kazakhstan’s Rybakina has emerged as the hot favourite to go all the way to the title.

She was far too good for Svitolina on Wednesday, once again using her potent service to great effect.

Ostapenko had blazed through the draw without the loss of a set but her heavy-metal tennis held no fears for Krejcikova whose superior craft proved decisive.

– RNZ / Reuters

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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