12th seed Jelena Ostapenko hasn't faced the highest caliber of players on her journey to the quarterfinals but has beaten different types of players, such as the hard-hitting, Kvitova-slaying Aliaksandra Sasnovich, crafty and happy-to-slice Kirsten Flipkens, and a lesser-known home-crowd favorite Katy Dunne, beating all in straight sets.
Dominika Cibulkova was supposed to be the 32nd seed but was bumped down due to Wimbledon's decision to see Serena Williams instead. This made Cibulkova motivated, starting a fire within her that would get her to equal her best-ever Wimbledon performance despite an otherwise-dismal season. Cibulkova beat seeded players Johanna Konta and Elise Mertens, as well as Halep-slayer Hsieh Su-Wei to make her first quarterfinal at a slam since 2016 Wimbledon.
Ostapenko Clinical In Key Points
The match was started off by a very long game on Cibulkova's serve. The Slovak fought back after going down 0-40, getting to three deuces, not getting a single point, and despite saving five break points, she got broken anyway. Cibulkova did not let that tough opening game dwell on her mind, and broke Ostapenko to love. No. 33 seemed to be in trouble again as she found herself 15-30 down, but held on and broke Ostapenko again, getting a 3-1 lead. Ostapenko turned it on and the 12th seed tied it up at 3-3.
From there, both players began to settle down on their serves and found their game plans, and so after four breaks in the opening five games, we saw a string of five holds without a deuce, getting to 5-5. This is where Ostapenko flipped to another gear, breaking Cibulkova to love with three winners and a double fault by the Slovak. Ostapenko finished the first set with a hold to love, 7-5.
When Ostapenko can find that sort of form, any opponent is reduced to a mere spectator. All Cibulkova could do was keep her game up and hope that Ostapenko's wild swings start missing their mark. Ostapenko got 25 winners to 19 unforced errors, attacking Cibulkova's serve hard.
Once She's On, There Is No Off Button
Cibulkova tried to leave the set behind her and got off to a good start by winning the opening game on her serve. Ostapenko also held, and also broke Cibulkova to be a set and a break up, a situation from which matches are rarely lost. Cibulkova showed some fighting spirit and broke Ostapenko to love, only to get broken herself. Ostapenko was the first to consolidate a break, and she was 4-2 up.
The Latvian continued to push Cibulkova around with her huge returns and was up 0-30 on the Slovak's serve. Cibulkova fought back, keeping herself in rallies, making Ostapenko miss and putting her in uncomfortable positions, winning the next 4 points and the game to make it 4-3. Ostapenko kept her head cool with a hold to love, Cibulkova had to serve to stay in the match.
The Slovak started this last gasp poorly, with a double fault. The two traded forehand errors to make it 15-30 and then Cibulkova ground out a huge rally to tie the game up at 30-30. Ostapenko gave Cibulkova a game point at 40-30 and though she drew back to deuce, Cibulkova didn't let that game get away and made Ostapenko serve the match out. The Latvian was cool and collected as ever, just dialled in, holding to love, winning the match with a backhand winner, 7-5 6-4.
Next up for the 21-year-old Latvian is the 11th seed, Angelique Kerber. The former number-one defeated 14th seed Daria Kasatkina 6-3 7-5, having to use her seventh match point to win the match.