By Ros Satar, At Wimbledon
- Simona Halep  v Zhang Shuai | Zhang leads H2H 2-1
- Serena Williams  v Alison Riske | First meeting
- Elina Svitolina  v Karolina Muchova | Svitolina leads H2H 1-0
WIMBLEDON, UK – It is a quick turnaround for the ladies as they play the quarter-finals straight after Manic Monday.
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Simona Halep  v Zhang Shuai | Zhang leads H2H 2-1
Just perhaps Simona Halep might start believing she can manage this green stuff. Since rolling her ankle in the 2014 semi-final, she has actually been to the quarter-final twice, and she looks to get past the last eight once more.
However, if we are talking about overcoming mental glitches, Zhang Shuai was the one who took out Halep in the 2016 Australian Open – where she made her Slam breakthrough as it was the first time she had progressed past the first round at a major on her 15th try, and is now in a quarter-final for the second time.
Halep took their first meeting, back in 2012 but since then Zhang has had the better of their encounters and this will be their first meeting on grass.
Zhang seems to be well balanced enough in her style of play, preferring to stay at the baseline and pretty sold off both wings, while Halep has supplemented her gritty scrambling style and aggressive play to include a little serve and volley from time to time, which might be the key to mixing things up.
One thing is for sure – her draw has opened up well now, and the chance is there for Halep to take.
Prediction: Halep in straight sets.
Halep & Zhang are scheduled on Court No. 1 at 1pm BST.
Serena Williams  v Alison Riske | First meeting
There will be an American in the semi-finals – but which one. Alison Riske has not had it easy at all this Wimbledon, involved in three-setters all the way through. To her credit, she has taken out some very good grass-courters – Donna Vekic, Belinda Bencic and came from a set down to take out the reigning Roland Garros champion and World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, ending her 15-match winning streak.
Opposite her, Serena Williams must have half an eye of coming out of the quarter-of-doom and has improved (of a sort) over the run of the tournament so far, with a wobble in the second set against Kaja Juvan, coming from a set behind.
Although her match against Carla Suarez Navarro looked intimidating enough, two of the Spaniards games came from breaking Williams. Of course, she has some more Mixed Doubles to try and get a little sharper, but this is not necessarily an easy match up for her.
On paper, and even with the wealth of experience she has, she should come through, but we have seen with Williams – the closer one of her targets (‘24’) gets, she edgier she can become. If she allows Riske to drag her to a third set, it could be a very different outcome.
Prediction: Williams in straight sets.
Williams & Riske are scheduled on Centre Court at 1pm BST
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Elina Svitolina  v Karolina Muchova | Svitolina leads H2H 1-0
From having one foot outside the door, facing match points in the second round against Margarita Gasparyan, Elina Svitolina has been granted a second chance by the tennis gods, and she has been rewarded with her best showing in Wimbledon to date, and equalling her Slam bests from Roland Garros and the Australian Open.
Karolina Muchova overcame the No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova as we still wait for a 12-12 tiebreak at Wimbledon, prevailing at 13-11! She is making her main draw debut and is through to the quarter-finals of a Slam for the first time.
She was able to match Pliskova’s weight of shot from the baseline, but she will charge to the net, and has a great slice which served her well on the green stuff so far.
Svitolina’s consistency is what stands out, and despite coming back off a knee injury, she has found a way to guts out a win. However, her weakness can be at the net, and this might be another knife-edge match – we might even see the 12-12 tie-break!
Prediction: Svitolina in three sets.
Svitolina & Muchova are scheduled on Court No. 1, not before 2:30pm BST.
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