The first three rounds of Wimbledon Championships 2023 were mostly tormented by the rain conditions, but despite the challenging weather, the hosts of the Grand Slam tournament in London have managed to be on time according to schedule ahead of the 4th round. Here are the previews of the round of 16 matches from the top half, with a recap of the first week's performance of every player still standing in this section of the draw.
Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Belinda Bencic (14)
The performance on grass by the world's ranking leader was quite a riddle before the start of Wimbledon Championships, as the grass courts are publicly known as the least favorite surface for Swiatek. The Pole has played well in the only one grass tournament entered before the Wimbledon, reaching out the semifinals in Germany's WTA 250 event in Bad Homburg. Swiatek has withdrawn before the semis due to a food poisoning and it was questionable, if the Pole will be read to play on her highest level from the start of the Championships.
All the worries were redundant as it occured, as Swiatek plays her best tournament on grass in the professional career so far. She gave away just 4 games to Lin Zhu in the opening round, scored a crushing win over Sara Sorribes Tormo with a score 6-2 6-0 and added another straight sets win against Petra Martic. The Slovenian, who is considered as a really decent player on grass, got defeated 6-2 7-5.
Belinda Bencic approached the third Grand Slam of the year after almost 3 months of break after reaching out the final in WTA 500 Charleston Open, separated just by the appearance in Roland Garros, where she suffered an upset in first round, losing to Elina Avanesyan. The Swiss was dealing with health issues, which forced her to miss the majority of European clay season and all the grass tournaments in June. Bencic had quite a bad luck in the draw, being forced to start from a tricky match against one of the home crowd's favorites - Katie Swan. She prevailed there in straight sets to set up an interesting battle against Danielle Collins. The American has also barely played in recent weeks, missing all the grass courts events after the short appearance in Roland Garros, which has ended up in first round, same as in Bencic's case. Collins started the match between both really well by clinching the first set and being 3-1 up in second one. The Swiss has fought back from this though and forced a third set, where she managed to survive into decisive tiebreak, despite defending 4 breakpoints and not creating anyone in this set. Bencic was a dominant force in the 13th game instead, winning it 10-2 and securing the spot in third round after a really intense battle. She showed a great confidence in a clash against Magda Linette, winning over the 23th seed in comfortable way, 6-3 6-1.
Victoria Azarenka (19) vs. Elina Svitolina (WC)
The Ukrainian was in the spotlight till the start of tournament, as she got paired up against another big name awarded with wild card into main draw, playing against Venus Williams on the Centre Court during the opening day of the Championships. Svitolina has defeated the legendary American after a good performance, winning it by 6-4 6-3. The further road was not easier, as she needed to face Elise Mertens in second round. The Belgian is known from the consistent performance in Grand Slams, making it very often into second round. This time she need to acknowledge the superiority of Svitolina, who moved past after an unusual match, ended up after just 80 minutes despite 3 sets played. The score was 6-1 1-6 6-1 with every set dediced by two breaks.
Third round opponent was not less challenging for Svitolina, as she played against Sofia Kenin. The Australian Open 2020 champion has needed to climb up through the qualifying, but made it through in a style and performed the biggest upset of the whole first round by eliminating her fellowcountry, Cori Gauff. Kenin has defeated the current world's number 7 in a three-setter played on the Court 1, winning by 6-4 4-6 6-2. The American approached the third round after eliminating Xinyu Wang in straight sets later on, but came up short to the Ukrainian, who won 7-6(3) 6-2.
Victoria Azarenka has started her campaign from a tough match against Yue Yuan. The Belarusian was leading with a set and break over the qualifier, who fought back to force the decider against the two times Grand Slam champion. Azarenka made it through after 2:40 hours eventually, winning by 6-4 5-7 6-4. After a bumpy start, she followed it by two comfortable wins in further rounds, defeating Nadia Podoroska by 6-3 6-0 and making an upset over 11th seed Daria Kasatkina. Azarenka was rated with an odd 2.56 before the match against the Russian and won it 6-2 6-4.
Jessica Pegula (4) vs. Lesia Tsurenko
The top ranked American got placed in one of the most formidable parts of the draw out of all the main contenders and she made a good use of it so far. Pegula got tested by her fellowcountry Lauren Davis in the opening round. The world's number 46 moved the match into whole distance after defending three match-points in second set tiebreak. Davis followed the blow by earning the break in opening game of third set, but Pegula raised up her level again and clinched the opening victory with a score 6-2 6-7(8) 6-3. Cristina Bucsa and Elisabetta Cocciaretto did not manage take any set away from Pegula, who made it through into 4th round in quite a comfortable way.
Lesia Tsurenko is the protagonist of the most dramatic match in this year's Wimbledon so far. The Ukrainian has defeated Ana Bogdan in a three-setter ended up with the longest and most dramatic decisive tiebreak in the recent history of women's competition in Grand Slams. Both the players approached the tiebreak after 8 breaks in the decisive set. Tsurenko was the first one to get the advantage and had 5 matchpoints throughouty whole the tiebreak. Bogdan managed to defend all of those and worked on her own chances, also having 5 matchpoints on her side. Both the players were suffering physically, dealing with crumps and had serious problems with their movements during the decisive rallies. Tsurenko made it finally through after 36 minutes of tiebreak, 1:45 hours of the whole third set and 3:40 hours of the play in general, winning by 6-4 3-6 7-6(18).
Marketa Vondrousova vs. Marie Bouzkova (32)
Marie Bouzkova has kick-started has best period in the career by reaching the quarterfinals of Wimbledon last year. This has preceeded the further run of good results, which resulted in the ranking boost of the Czech, who entered the top 30 of WTA rankings. This year is not so successful for Bouzkova so far, as she did not manage to win 3 matches in any of the tournaments played this season so far. That has changed in London, as Bouzkova has reffered to last year's run, being just one win away from repeating her career's best result in Grand Slams. Bouzkova faced two big names on her road this week. The Czech beaten Anett Kontaveit 6-1 6-2 in second round, practically ending up the singles career of Estonian, who announced her withdrawal before entering the Wimbledon's main draw. Caroline Garcia was her next opponent in third round and Bouzkova took up the challenge against the seed number 5 really well, winning the tight and intense battle after exciting three-setter with a score 7-6(0) 4-6 7-5.
Marketa Vondrousova approached the Championships just after reaching out the quarterfinals in WTA 500 bett1open in Berlin. The Czech showed a brilliant form in the first week, moving into 4th round after defeating three high quality players, all in straight sets. Vondrousova started with a win over Peyton Stearns by the score 6-2 7-5. The further road was never looking to be easier. Veronika Kudermetova - the world's number 12 and the finalist of WTA 250 Libema Open was her next opponent, but Vondrousova did not give her too many chances and moved through with a score 6-3 6-3. The Czech followed the blow in another tough match-up against Donna Vekic. The world's number 21 who reached out the finals in Berlin has also came up short to Vondrousova, who won 6-1 7-5. The Czech is on a good path to come back into top 30 of WTA rankings after being absent in the competition for quite a long time last year.