Seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams is a serious contender to win another Wimbledon crown. The former world number one has not won a Grand Slam in nine years, since winning at Wimbledon in 2008 when she defeated her sister Serena. Furthermore, the American reached a Grand Slam final for the first time since Wimbledon in 2009. She lost to Serena in the Australian Open final, and she has a very good chance of lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish again.
Williams' quarterfinal opponent will be the fearless French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. The Latvian is the 13th seed at this year's Championships, and she is currently on an 11-match winning streak at Grand Slams after shocking the world in Paris. The 20-year-old was a set and 3-0 down against second seed Simona Halep in the final but she found a way to fight back and lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen which also happened to be her first career title.
This will be the very first meeting between the two Grand Slam champions. There are four Grand Slam champions left in the draw along with Garbine Muguruza and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The draw is wide open in the absences of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, and everyone will fancy their chances of lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish in a wide open field.
Williams' route to the quarterfinals
The former world number one played all three of her first three round matches on No.1 Court. The 10th seed played against Elise Mertens for the second successive Grand Slam in a row. It was a tighter affair on this occasion but Williams came out on top, 7-6(7), 6-4 to reach the second round. The former world number one suffered an almighty scare in the second round against Qiang Wang, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. In the third round, the American was up against Naomi Osaka who looked up to the Williams sisters. Nevertheless, it was a hard-hitting affair which Williams came through, 7-6(3), 6-4 in the third round. Competing on Manic Monday for the third year in succession, Williams dispatched another 19-year-old in 27th seed Ana Konjuh, 6-3, 6-2 to reach her 13th quarterfinal at SW19. It was the American's first victory on Centre Court in singles since the London Olympics in 2012.
Ostapenko's route to the quarterfinals
Before this year's Wimbledon, the 2014 junior Wimbledon champion had never gone beyond the second round at SW19. She survived a three-set battle with Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round, and once again she had another three-set encounter in the second round against Canadian qualifier Francoise Abanda, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. Ostapenko reached the second week at Wimbledon for the first time after defeating Camila Giorgi, 7-5, 7-5. Despite a late wobble in the second set, the French Open champion sent fourth seed Elina Svitolina packing, 6-3, 7-6(6) advancing to her second successive Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Who reaches the semifinals?
This will be an intriguing quarterfinal encounter between the two Grand Slam champions. It will be Ostapenko's debut on Centre Court, and she thrives on playing against the big players on the big stage. Furthermore, the five-time Wimbledon champion is comfortable on her favorite court, and it was her first singles victory on Centre Court since 2010. The American has the tools to blow Ostapenko off the court as she has been returning well, and her backhand has been a devastating weapon on the court. Moreover, Williams will need to have a good serving day against the Latvian.
Ostapenko goes for shots all of the time, and her forehand is a dangerous weapon. The 13th seed is a good returner, and she will punish the American's second serve which can be vulnerable at times. Williams has already beaten two players around Ostapenko's age, and the former world number one will sense this as a good opportunity to add to her Grand Slam collection.
This is the second match scheduled on Centre Court, following the conclusion of the men's singles fourth round clash between Novak Djokovic and Adrian Mannarino that has yet to begin. The winner will face second seed Simona Halep or sixth seed Johanna Konta in the semifinals on Thursday.
Prediction: Williams in three sets