The bottom half of Wimbledon Championships 2023 women's competition was considered to be really stacked just since it got revealed before the start of the tournament. The schedule of this section was tormented by the weather, especially on Tuesday when all the first round's matches were supposed to be played but all the action on outer courts was cancelled due to the all-day rainfall. Despite these obstacles, three rounds are already finished with the round of 16 matches to be played on time with schedule. All the names left in this section of the draw are really exciting, which promises only the blockbuster matches to be played here on the road to the final. Here is the preview of the round of 16 matches with a quick recap of whole the action played so far.
Ons Jabeur (6) vs. Petra Kvitova (9)
The match-up between Jabeur and Kvitova is going to be a hit clash of 4th round, not just because of being a meeting between current top 10 players. Both the players are the super grass courts specialists with great record of successes in Wimbledon Championships and other tournaments played on the lawn.
The Tunisian is the last year's runner-up of the London's Grand Slam in the season where she has also won the WTA 500 bett1open in Berlin. This year's performance on grass was not so excellent from Jabeur, who won just one single match in two events entered before the Championships. Despite this, the world's number 6 started the Wimbledon campaign well, moving into third round without losing a set against Magdalena Frech and the qualifier Zhuoxuan Bai. The Pole advanced into two quarterfinals in grass tournaments played in June, but Jabeur scored a routine victory 6-3 6-3 over her. The match against qualifier Zhuoxuan Bai was also a comfortable one. Third round's tassle against Bianca Andreescu was definitely the most challenging test for Jabeur in this tournament so far. The match was played on a high level from both and ended up with the Tunisian coming back from being down a set and already losing by a break in the decider. Jabeur won 5 out of 6 games since being 1-3 down in third set and defended two breakpoints, denying an upset from the 2019 US Open champion.
Kvitova plays a wonderful grass season so far. The Czech won the WTA 500 bett1open in Berlin without losing a single set and approached the Championships as one of the strongest title contendes. She started her campaign there quite erratically, while surprisingly losing a set to Jasmine Paolini in first round. Despite this, Kvitova moved into next round without a big trouble, winning by 6-4 6-7(5) 6-1 eventually. Two further matches against Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Natalija Stevanovic went as expected for Kvitova even despite the fact, that she lost 5 service games in those matches against much lower ranked opponents.
Elena Rybakina (3) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia (13)
Both the last year's title holder and the Brazilian were doubtful about being fully fit and ready to play before the start of the Championships. Rybakina was still sufferring for the infection, which ruled her out during the Roland Garros, as she withdrew from the WTA 500 event in Eastbourne out of concert for her health condition just before her Wimbledon title defence challenge.
Haddad Maia was the player to watch on grass after her brilliant performance last year, where she was an absolute sensation of the grass season while winning 13 matches in a row and clinching two WTA titles on the road. This time, the Brazilian started her play on grass while being overplayed after the run into Roland Garros semifinals, which lifted her up into world's top 10 for the first time in career. Haddad Maia won just one match in June and was dealing with a leg injury, just a few days before the start of main draw action in SW19.
Despite all those concerns, both Rybakina and Haddad Maia approached the 4th round to meet against each other. The reigning Wimbledon champion had not a best luck in the draw, facing some really serious players in every round to be played. She started her campaign against Shelby Rogers. The American who is known from being a very solid player was definitely not a dream opponent to meet in the opening round and she caused some trouble for Rybakina, winning the opening set of their match. The Kazakh rescued herself by raising up her level really much since then and won the whole battle 4-6 6-1 6-2. Alize Cornet was her following opponent. The excperienced French has a good record on grass in recent years, but Rybakina managed to get a victory in straight sets there. The match-up against the best ranked British racquet Katie Boulter was expected to be an electric one, but Rybakina showed a great performance here and defeated the last standing Brit in the draw with a crushing score 6-1 6-1.
The Brazilian has need to put some serious effort on the road to the round of 16, as she played two three-setters in the opening rounds, fighting back from being a set down to Yulia Putintseva in first round and to Jacqueline Cristian in the following match. Haddad Maia prevailed in both matches and added another win in 3rd round, winning in straight sets over Sorana Cirstea.
Madison Keys (25) vs. Mirra Andreeva (Q)
The American was not playing the best season in her career so far in 2023, but she has definitely clicked the gear on grass. Keys has played just one tournament before the Wimbledon, but made it in the best possible way by taking the victory in WTA 500 event in Eastbourne. Keys is definitely on fire so far, as she is on the roll of 8 consecutive victories without losing a single set so far on grass. The world's number 25 has won all her matches in Eastbourne in straight sets and is also yet to give away any single one in the Championships so far. 6-0 6-3 against Sonay Kartal, 7-5 6-3 vs. Viktorija Golubic and 6-4 6-1 against Marta Kostyuk. Really impressive stuff from Keys, who can be definitely considered as a dark horse of this tournament, even if this stacked part of the draw.
Mirra Andreeva was the biggest sensation of clay season, showing up in a great style during the WTA 1000 tournament in Rome and reaching out the 3rd round of Roland Garros out from the qualifiers later on. The 16 years-old youngster has never played on grass before in her professional career, but showed a great versatility and ability to adapt into different surface conditions in such a young age. Andreeva has succeeded in second consecutive Grand Slam qualifiers and climbed through the really demanding path of the main draw up into 4th round. The Russian was leading 6-3 4-0 against Barbora Krejcikova, who needed to pull out of their 2nd round match. Anastasia Potapova was another notable name on the road to round of 16 for Andreeva, who defeated the world's number 23 with a score 6-2 7-5 to seal her best success in the career so far. Regardless of the further results, Andreeva will surely get a big ranking boost, moving at least up into top 70, which means that her appearance in Grand Slam qualies could be the last one as for now.
Aryna Sabalenka (2) vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova (21)
The Belarusian is still in the contention for taking the WTA ranking's leader spot at the end of the Championships. Sabalenka would need to reach out the final or even win the whole thing while Iga Swiatek falling out at latest in the quarterfinals. The current WTA Race list's leader was considered as one of the favorites ahead of the grass season competitions, especially due to her gamestyle, which allowed her to celebrate all the big successes in this season so far, including the maiden Grand Slam title won in Melbourne. Sabalenka appeared in WTA 500 bett1open, but managed to win just one match while coming up short to Veronika Kudermetova in second round. Despite the necessity of facing Alexandrova in 4th round and other in-form players in the any probable match-ups later on, the path into round of 16 was looking like quite formidable one for the current world's number 2. It was not a cakewalk though, as Sabalenka needed to survive a really challenging test against Varvara Gracheva in second round. The world's number 41 won the opening set in an easy way by 6-2 and both the players were holding their serves with a confidence till the score 5-5 in second one. Sabalenka found another gear while being 2 games away from a huge upset and took the control of this match after winning the second set 7-5 by one break, winning the whole thing 6-2 5-7 6-2 eventually. Two other matches went as expected for Sabalenka, who defeated Panna Udvardy in first round and Anna Blinkova in third round, both in straight sets.
Alexandrova has started her grass season from the front foot by defending the last year's title in WTA 250 Libema Open. Approaching the Championships with 8 victories on grass and just one loss to a super in-form Petra Kvitova, placed her among the favourites to make some noise in this Grand Slam. The Russian has played one of the most entertaining matches in the tournament so far, playing three sets ended in tiebreaks against Madison Brengle. Alexandrova was a big favorite ahead of this match, rated with an odd 1.14. It was a really erratic performance from both, especially from Alexandrova's side, who commited 91 (!) unforced errors throughout whole the match in compare to 49 winners. Brengle scored just 13 winners, but had also a negative ratio with 42 unforced errors in compare. Despite a score which could indicate the servebotting scenario of the match, 14 breaks in general happened there before the decisive tiebreak, where Alexandrova won 10-7. The Libema Open champion played much better in the next round against Dalma Galfi, winning 6-0 6-4 and showing much more consistent performance with 20 winners scored in compare to just 15 unforced errors.