Angelique Kerber overtakes Coco Gauff to advance to Wimbledon quarter-finals

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Five short weeks ago, Angelique Kerber crossed to the baseline for the first round of her Roland Garros match against Anhelina Kalinina, then world No.139, down 6-2, 5-0 and apparently lost on the court. of tennis. The saddest part of the grim scene was that it came as no surprise given Kerber’s form over the past couple of years. Kerber was ultimately knocked out 6-2, 6-4 for her third straight Grand Slam first round loss. As she stepped out of the top 25, it was only fair to wonder what the future held for her at 33.

If there is any example of how quickly fortunes can change in tennis, the 2018 Wimbledon champion is now resolved in the quarterfinals as clear proof. On a particularly manic Monday, Kerber showed considerable calm experience as she defeated 20th seed Coco Gauff on center court to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon with a clear victory of 6-4, 6- 4.

Both players struggled early on in a swirling wind that forced them to give up on throws and make last-minute adjustments, but Kerber, the 25th seed, eventually settled into the game and was mostly flawless thereafter. The German limited her direct errors, her defense was often impenetrable, and she rendered Gauff’s nuclear deliveries with depth and consistency. When the opportunity presented itself, she always upset her American opponent with iconic forehands before ending the match with a winning streak.

Faced with a champion in full flow, Gauff did everything to keep in touch. She replenished many takes with huge serve, her first serve consistently erasing 120mph and constantly raging on her backhand. But his forehand clearly made the difference between the two. Whenever Kerber was in danger, she would direct defensive returns or fire at Gauff’s forehand, which couldn’t systematically penetrate his defense.

Although she fell in the same round as in her breakthrough at Wimbledon two years ago, the identical results belie the clear progress Gauff has made as his game continues to grow. Two years ago, much of her success was due to the mental toughness she displayed in disjointed straight sets. But the quality of the 17-year-old’s play improves every week and she leaves Wimbledon after reaching week two of two back-to-back Grand Slams, without losing a set in her way to either.

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As the only player over 30 left in the draw, Kerber will face 19th seed Karolina Muchova for a place in the semi-finals. Throughout her struggles, Kerber has maintained that she has trained well for a long time and never stopped believing that she would eventually hit a milestone. Her resilience emphasizes that with the right will and the right attitude, few falls are insurmountable and it only takes a few victories to regain confidence and shape.

In Kerber’s case, she landed on her favorite surface, the grass, and gained momentum in front of her home crowd in Bad Homburg just over a week ago, finally winning her first title since her triumph. at Wimbledon in 2018. She took that momentum and followed it to establish a nine-game winning streak, reminding all spectators of the quality it takes to reach world number 1 and win three Grand Slam titles in the process – while threatening to do even more.


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