The first day of quarterfinals in Wimbledon Championships 2023 has delivered two great three-sets battles ended up with upsets. Elina Svitolina defeated Iga Swiatek 7-5 6-7(5) 6-2, while Marketa Vondrousova eliminated Jessica Pegula by winning 6-4 2-6 6-4. Both the Czech and the Ukrainian will meet each other in Thursday's semifinal, which emerges the best player from top half of tournament's draw to play in Saturday's big final.
Svitolina upsets Swiatek
Svitolina was rated as an underdog before the match against Swiatek. The odd for the Ukrainian's victory was as high as 6.25, which makes her today's victory the most valuable upset in whole the tournament. The previous one was the win of Sofia Kenin against Cori Gauff during the opening day of the Championships, when the 2020 Australian Open champion was rated with an odd 3.75 before making an upset on her younger fellowcountry from the top 10 of WTA rankings.
The match has started on Swiatek's favour, as the Pole gained the break in opening game. Svitolina came back level in 4th game, but Swiatek regained the advantage one game later, following the path to taking the set in comfortable way. Then, the first turnover in this match has happened, when Svitolina raised up the pace and started to hit with a great confidence. The Ukrainian broken her opponent for the second time, while the Pole was serving to clutch the set in 10th game. Svitolina has won 4 games in a row since being 3-5 down and dominated the decisive part of this set by winning 16 out of 20 last points.
The second set started with another early lead from Swiatek and another comeback from Svitolina, who leveled the score after being 1-3 down. Both the players approached the tiebreak, where the winner of first set was leading 4-1. Swiatek was under the pressure, but being down by just a single mini-break, the Pole won 6 out of 7 following points and forced the decider. Third set was a different story, as Svitolina was the first player to break in 3rd game and dominated the whole set till the end. She knocked any arugments out of Swiatek's hand, denying the turnover by being super efficient on serve (83% points scored by 1st serve) and hitting 12 winners in decisive set. Swiatek has dropped her level down, as she could not find an answer for a great game of her opponent, scored just 6 winners and commited 12 unforced errors in third set of the match.
Marketa Vondrousova performed a great comeback victory against Jessica Pegula, who was more than close to secure her first ever appearance in Grand Slam's semifinals. The American was on the front foot in all sets played, as she started the match from an early break and 2-0 lead. The Czech took the initiative since then by winning 4 games in a row, and even despite Pegula came back level after 8 games, Vondrousova created another 4 breakpoints in 9th game to gain a decisive break. The world's number 4 has needed to come back in second set and started to play more consistently. Pegula was putting an instant pressure on her lower ranked opponent by creating breakpoints in 3 out of 4 service games of the Czech. This time, she did not slipped away the advantage and won the second set in a convincing way by 6-2.
The decider started with some struggling from Pegula's side on serve, as she was facing three breakpoints in two opening service games, but managed to hold both and was the first one to gain a break in 4th game to move up into 3-1 lead. Then, the match was stopped for a while due to rain and a procedure of closing the roof over the Court No. 1, where the match was being played. Pegula cemented her lead by holding serve for the score 4-1 in convincing way and was close to gain another break, while having a breakpoint in 6th game, but narrowly missed the backhand shot. It has occured to be a start of plot twist story, as Vondrousova cleared the danger to stay within a distance of being just a single break down. The Czech broke back in 7th game and won all the following games to perform a sensational comeback, which gave her a place in the semifinals.
It's a bitter lose for the American, who completed the achievement of being a quarterfinalist of all the Grand Slams. Despite this, Pegula did not manage to win any of her 6 matches at this stage, while today's opportunity was the closest one to break the deadlock and move up into semis for the first time ever. Vondrousova was already the runner-up in 2019 Roland Garros, but it's the first time when she won more than one match in the main draw of the Championships. Svitolina was already the semifinalist ther in 2019, where she played her best season in Grand Slams by repeating the same achievement later on in US Open and advancing into quarters in Australian Open earlier in the year.