Highlights of Round 3

Time:2017-09-28Release:James Pham

The first match on Centre Court offered fans an exciting start to the day as #9 seed Agnieszka Radwanska took on world #37 Ashleigh Barty. The young Australian began well by breaking Radwanska early, only to see the Pole claw her way back to a 6-4 first set. The athletic Barty imposed her strong baseline game with more success in the second, blanking her higher ranked opponent. The third set was the match writ small as players took turns gaining and losing leads. Serving for the match at 5-4, Barty hit three unreturnable serves giving her two match points which Radwanska was able to chase down. The #9 seed's luck eventually ran out, however, as she hit a final backhand into the net. Barty moves on to the quarterfinals with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 win.

Next up on Centre Court was the lone Chinese woman remaining in the singles draw, Qiang Wang, taking on #3 seed Karolina Pliskova. Wang won her first two rounds based on brave first-strike tennis, including a win over recent US Open champion Sloane Stephens. The Tianjin native seemed unnerved by the occasion or her opponent, often returning Pliskova's lauded serve with interest. It would be her own serve, however, that would be her weakness. Pliskova broke Wang at love in the third game, and from there, the Czech’s game seemed to flow freely, driving world #55 Wang side-to-side with flat, hard groundstrokes. Pliskova would break again at love at the same stage in the second set on her way to a routine 6-2, 6-1 win in just 48 minutes. Afterwards, she said of her stellar play: "I was just feeling every shot. Even my backhand, my forehand, even the serve... I think I felt the best actually this year with this match." 

The Centre Court crowd got its first look at this year's French Open champion as Jelena Ostapenko took to the court against last year's Olympic gold medalist, Monica Puig. Ostapenko started out much faster than in her previous match, breaking Puig off the bat with three blazing winners. While most players aim for a measure of safety with spin or placement towards the middle of the court, Ostapenko almost always goes for the lines and when her shots go in, as they were doing in the first set, her opponents are largely reduced to spectators. Puig found herself in that position, as winner after winner whizzed by her on the way to a quick 6-2 set for the Latvian. In the second, Puig took better care of her own serve, meaning she could swing more freely on the return games, taking advantage of both break points to win the set, 6-3. In the third, both players played at a high level, with Ostapenko slightly edging out her opponent on long, exciting rallies which usually ended with a winner or a forced error. Serving for the match at 5-1, the Latvian double faulted twice to lose the game, but held the next time she stepped up to the service line, sending the French Open champion into the quarterfinals.

World #1 Garbine Muguruza survived a scare against Polish qualifier Magda Linette. After a routine 6-2 opening set for the Spaniard, Linette played some lights out tennis to take the second, 6-1. In the decider, players were tied at 4-4 when Muguruza was finally able to break with some determined play and serve out the match. “I did way too many mistakes,” Muguruza said after the 2-hour match. “I was playing perfect for her. I think she increase her level. You know, she found a way to right away put her in control. That's what happened,” adding: “These are the matches, it sounds classic, but you fight, you go through, you get the victory, you feel pleased with yourself.” Muguruza next plays Jelena Ostapenko in a battle of Grand Slam champions. Anticipating the fight, Muguruza said: “I like to play these matches where you're playing the players that are playing the best. You want to see, you want to feel that. It's going to be a good quarterfinals. I'm looking forward for that.”

In the last match on Centre Court, Carolina Garcia brought some of her best tennis to see off last year’s finalist, #7 Dominika Cibulkova. The Frenchwoman briefly faltered serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set, but regained her composure to win, 6-3, 7-5.

All the seeded doubles teams who completed their matches also won, setting up a tantalizing quarterfinal lineup which may include the top #7 teams. #3 Sania Mirza and Chinese partner Shuai Peng’s match was postponed due to rain with the Indian/Chinese team leading Sevastova / Vekic 2-0 in the first set.