Wimbledon Day 8, As it happened: Williams and Murray reach round of 16

Live updates and commentary from the women's singles quarterfinals of Wimbledon 2019. Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina, Johanna Konta and more are in action.

Serena Williams and Andy Murray beat Fabrice Martin and Raquel 7-5, 6-3 in the mixed doubles second round.   -  Getty Images

That's today's action, folks. It's been fun. Four quarterfinals and an enthralling mixed doubles match to top it off. We'll be back tomorrow for the men's singles quarterfinals and there'll be players looking to topple the big 3 - Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. See you then.


LIVE:

00:01pm: With an ace from Murray, Serena Williams and Andy Murray beat Fabrice Martin and Raquel 7-5, 6-3. Probably the most entertaining match of this tournament. They're into the round-of-16.

11:55pm: This game has seen so many fun rallies. Murray's forehand comes at speed and Martin, at the net, shows great reflexes to get there. Serena returns but Atawo's drop is perfect. Serena chases but can't reach it. Atawo and Martin hold to stay in the match. Now Serena and Murray serve for the match at 5-3.

11:46pm: Williams/Murray hold again and lead 4-1. Just two games away from third round. The farther they go in the tournament, the better for the broadcasters. All eyes on this now.

11:41pm: Serena's everywhere. Some brilliant netplay by her and Andy Murray finishes it off with a backhand slice. They hold to go 3-0 up.

11:38pm: Serena and Murray break to go 2-0 up in the second set. A wonderful cross court forehand from Serena stuns their opponents and the crowd. A Martin forehand goes long and that's the game.  Even Serena's impressed. Shot of the day?

11:35pm: What a point! The centre court stands up in applause. Serena chases down a drop shot and lobs it over the net. It's going out and Atawo doesn't need to hit it, but she does on the volley. Murray finishes off to bring it to deuce. The game has been going on for about eight minutes.

11:24pm: Murray ducks on a Martin return assuming it's going out but it stays in. Break point for Martin and Atawo. But Murray drags it back to deuce with a forehand pass. Another break point and another save goes by before Murray and Serena get back on game point. And a deep serve helps them hold. 1-0.

11:17pm: Williams and Murray win the first set 7-5! And what a way to finish the set on the sixth break point. Serena plays a forehand across both Martin and Atawo and pirouettes in celebration.  They're here to entertain.

11:15pm: Serena Williams is clearly the better at taking Atawo's serve. Martin neutralises Murray's return but Serena's return is superbly placed and Atawo nets. Set point for Andy and Serena.

11:12pm: Serena and Murray hold to take the lead, 6-5. And now Martin and Atawo are serving to stay in the set again.

11:09pm: It's turning out to be such an entertaining match. A Murray volley at the net and a brilliant return from Serena gives them break point. But Murray nets the return on the next point and it's back at deuce. A nicely cushioned volley at the net makes Murray chase it but he can't get there and Martin holds serve with an overhead volley from the baseline, but only after almost colliding with his partner. 5-5 in the first set.

10:43pm: Doubles are always fun to watch. At the net, Serena slams the ball down in front of Atawo who returns and Serena has another chance. She swings wild into the net and can't believe it! 3-3 in the first set.

The touches of magic from Karolina Muchova

 

10:39pm: No breaks so far. Serena Williams and Andy Murray lead 3-2 in the first set. What do really good singles players bring to the doubles court? There are some things they do better than good doubles players like returns or covering the court but how much do they have to adapt to be so good at doubles?

10:22pm: They're on centre court. Williams and Murray take on Raquel Atawo and Fabrice Martin.

10:18pm: Now we wait for Andy Murray and Serena Williams' mixed doubles second round match. Now you shouldn't expect them to go and win this tournament. Murray is on a comeback trail after his way back from radical hip resurfacing surgery in January, and the other just played three sets against Alison Riske. But we can definitely expect some quality tennis.

READ | Andy Murray to review Wimbledon before deciding on US Open singles

Cooling down with Mum.

 

So the women's semifinals on Thursday:

Serena Williams vs Barbora Strycova

Elina Svitolina vs Simona Halep

9:57pm: Barbora Strycova beats Johanna Konta 7-6 (5), 6-1 and reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

What a day it has been for her! What a tournament for the 33-year-old who ousted four seeds, including Lesia Tsurenko, Elise Mertens, Kiki Bertens (fourth seed) and now, Konta.

"I think it was one of the best matches I've played here and I haven't been playing on centre court so I enjoyed even much more and it's a very special moment for me. Its a great week to play [Serena Williams] and it's a match I really look forward to play and I can't wait for thursday," says Strycova. Haven't heard her speak before. She sounds so sweet and chirpy.

 

9:54pm: Nothing is going Konta's way. She double faults to concede break point and then wildly mishits a simple volley and she's broken again. Strycova serves for the match.

Strycova's net-play has been excellent today, giving Konta a hard time. She has never reached a Grand Slam semifinal before.

9:44pm: Konta manages to hold serve for the first time in the second set and Strycova holds too. It's a 4-1 advantage to the Czech, the same advantage Konta squandered in the first set.

9:38pm: Strycova holds and she's smoothly breaking away from the British No.1. She leads by a set and 3-0 and Konta seems clueless.

9:34pm: Strycova breaks early and frustration mounts for Konta who was in absolute control just a half hour ago. Strycova leads 2-0 in the second set.

9:25pm: Strycova takes the first set 7-6 (5) against Konta! What a comeback from the Czech, who went down a break early and found herself trailing 1-4.

9:21pm: Update from the Svitolina vs Muchova tie. We have a winner. Svitolina wins it 7-5, 6-4 to make it to her first major semifinal. She will meet Simona Halep.

 

But quite a tournament for the world no.66 Muchova, whose story was buried in all attention around Coco Gauff. She knocked out third seed Karolina Pliskova in a three-hour match that went down to the wire and came into the quarterfinals as the lowest-ranked player left.

9:17pm: Tie-break! It's 6-6 in Strycova vs Konta tie now. Strycova's middling serve only finds the skeleton of Konta's racket. A strong drop-shot sees Konta all over the place and it's 20 unforced errors so far for Konta and she hands the game to Strycova in her lap.

9:11pm: As things stand, Konta leads 6-5. Strycova will serve to stay in the set.

Johanna Konta is struggling with that return. She has found herself with very little space to play in too. Strycova is winning the battle of nerves here. Pressure on Konta.

9:07pm: An update from the Strycova vs Konta tie. You can see the joy in Strycova's face to exasperate Konta. A strong double drop shot backed by a big serve helps her level up. 5-5 now. Even contest and it's making Konta restless.

8:56pm: The second set has gone pretty much the same way the first has for Svitolina. After going down a break, she has come back to break twice and takes a 3-2 lead. Muchova let things slip from her hand somewhere along the way.

8:52pm: Strycova has broken back and she has a chance to level the set. It's 3-4 in the first and the Czech serves.

8:44pm: And Svitolina has broken right back! This match has been more ding-dong than the Serena-Riske clash earlier. Svitolina serves 1-2 down in the second.

REPORT | Sensational Serena fends off Riske to reach semis

8:42pm: Muchova breaks in the second set. She leads 2-0 and Svitolina needs to find an answer to this.

Meanwhile, Konta holds to take a 4-1 lead in the first set.

8:34pm: Svitolina wins the first set 7-5! What a match this is already! Svitolina fights back after going 4-1 down. She finishes off the set by setting Muchova up with a drop and cushioning a volley at the net into the open court.

 

8:32pm: Konta gets the early break to go 2-0 up in the first set.

8:30pm: Svitolina breaks and will serve for the set. Muchova squanders game point, with a backhand into the net, after all that hard work to save four break points.

8:28pm: How is she doing this? Muchova has saved four break points, each with some brilliant play - one with a forehand down the line that just stays, then some excellent play at the net and then an easy winner at the net. And now she's on game point.

REPORT | Halep douses Zhang fire to reach Wimbledon semis

8:16pm: Johanna Konta and Barbora Strycova are on centre court!  They've only met once before and Strycova won that one (Tokyo 2017, 7-5 7-6).

All British eyes are on her, I presume, unless they're more interestred in the Cricket World Cup semifinal between India and New Zealand.

8:13pm: Svitolina breaks back as Muchova serves for the set and it's 5-4 in the first set. Svitolina can level things up now.

8:11pm: In other news History is made! We've had a 12-12 tie-break at the Wimbledon for the first time. The men's doubles match between Henri Kontinen/John Peers and Joe Salisbury/Rajeev Ram goes to 12-12 in the deciding set. A tie-break is played for the first time at 12-12 (according to new rules) and Kontinen and Peers win. 

 

8:06pm: Muchova leads 5-2. Svitolina held her serve but Muchova shows some beautiful strokes, including a half-volley at the net to hold. Svitolina is serving to stay in the set.

8:01pm: Nothing's going Svitolina's way. After a shaky start, Muchova has taken complete control here with some great movement on court.  4-1 to Muchova.

7:58pm: Muchova breaks again! Svitolina nets a backhand and she hasn't looked great since the first game. Muchova leads 3-1.

7:55pm: On Court one, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Muchova have each been broken in the first two games of the match. It's 1-1.

7:45pm: Serena is done yet. She's going to be playing mixed doubles with Andy Murray later today. Excited?

 

7:41pm: GAME, SET, MATCH SERENA! With an ace down the middle, she beats Alison Riske 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in a brilliant contest. Serena Williams is, once again, a Wimbledon semifinalist and she's ecstatic. But what a game from Alison Riske. She has been her biggest test yet and it took some skill to get past her.

But I really need to revisit that penultimate game which really won it for Serena. She got up to two break points but Riske managed to save both! With a backhand cross court she got to another break point and that too was saved as she tried to get to Riske backhand but put it wide. She slipped and fell on the next point after being played side-to-side. Riske on game point. But that's saved with a sliced forehand drop at the net. She does it again, but this time it looks even better and harder, and it's break point. With a double fault, she sealed it. 

 

7:37pm: Serena breaks and she's serving for the match.

7:28pm: Serena holds to love. All after she ties her hair up. That may have been the problem. It's annoying to get hair in your face when you're trying to bury that forehand. She leads 4-3 in the deciding set.

7:24pm: Game, Riske. 3-3 in the final set. Serena looked to have got control of the game with a brilliant backhand return that left Riske watching the ball go past her. And a double fault from Riske seemed to confirm it. But she fought back from deuce to hold.

7:19pm: It's not over yet. Over my dead body, says Riske (in her head, I assume). She breaks back with a cross court backhand and looks awfully calm. Serena leads 3-2 in the final set but that could change soon.

 

7:15pm: Serena breaks again! "Come on! Come on!" She is control now, after being broken in the very first game of it and breaking back right after. This is probably why she's a 23-time Grand Slam champion, trying to make it 24.  She leads 3-1 in the final set.

7:05pm: SIMONA HALEP WINS 7-6 (4), 6-1.

After looking down and out in the beginning of the first set, struggling to read Zhang's play, Halep came back to take the set into a tiebreak and win it. The second one was a breeze, Zhang barely putting up a challenge.

Simona Halep is into the Wimbledon semifinals for the third time in her career. Can she go all the way this year?

 

7:03pm: Things are not so complicated on court one where Simona Halep is serving for the set after breaking Zhang for the second time in the second set.

7:00pm: Serena's return is long and Alison Riske takes the second set 6-4. Did you see that coming? I thought Serena's gonna end end things in the second. But Riske has been relentless. She looked like she would win the first set until Serena suddenly woke up and broke to win it. The second one has been just the opposite. This too looked like it'd go into a tie-break until Riske finally broke.  Into the decider we go.

Pondering the next move.

 

6:56pm: Riske breaks! The Riske camp is up in celebration like she has won the thing. But it's amazing play from the 29-year-old playing her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. She sets up Serena with a deep forehand, charges to the net and plays a delightful drop to win the game. Riske leads 5-4 and is serving for the set.

6:54pm: Halep breaks Zhang! She looks to have rattled the world no.55 after the first set tie-break. Halep is getting more and more ruthless as the game goes on and holds to love with a great serve down the middle to go 4-1 up in the second.

6:52pm: It's 4-4 in the second set and neither woman is letting up. Serena, well, is Serena. And Riske is showing no signs of nerves as she makes Serena work hard for her points. She's showing the same aggression that defeated Barty yesterday.

6:49pm: A brilliant hold from Zhang to level the second set 1-1. She hasn't looked so sure this set.

Riske pulls a forehand wide. She challenges the call but it's out and Serena leads 4-3.

6:38pm: Riske survived one overhead volley smashed into the ground. Serena, however, wins the point on the next one and screams in joy. She leads 3-2 in the second set.

6:36pm: Halep wins the first set 7-6 (4).  Serving for the set in the tie-break, she sends a thundering forehand down the line and Zhang doesn't even try. The former world number one has only slowly grown into the game and she was in complete control in the tie-break. Second set now.

Any Star Wars fans in the house? Asking for a friend.

 

6:33pm: Zhang fires two forehands into the net and Halep takes a 4-2 lead in the tie-break. Now Halep's fired up! After a slow start, it seems like she has finally started to read her opponent. I wouldn't be surprised if things get much easier for her from here.

6:31pm: Riske is able to take the game to deuce but Serena is fired up and with an ace, holds to go 2-1 up in the second.

6:28pm: Contrasting styles of play on both courts. While Halep and Zhang are engaged in long rallies, it's all out attack and aggression on centre court between Serena and Riske. Halep holds to take the first set into a tie-break.

6:23pm: Zhang holds to love as Halep nets a return. She goes 6-5 up in the first set. Halep, for the second time this set is serving to stay in the match.

Serena holds serve in the first game of the second set despite Riske putting up a fight, making Serena scramble around court.

6:16pm: Serena wins the first set 6-4! Riske is broken once again as she can't quite execute an overhead volley and a closed fist comes out in celebration on the other end of the court. Despite being broken early, Serena makes a determined comeback.

6:10pm: Serena Williams breaks back and it's level at 4-4! Riske is able to save two break points but she falters on the third one, hitting a forehand wide.

It's break point to Halep and she gets it. A chance to get back into the game. 3-4

6:05pm: Riske breaks again! How do you return a Williams serve? Like that. Serena is left looking at the ball kiss the line on its way out. Riske leads 4-3, a break up.

Halep holds serve after a long game. Zhang still leads 4-2.

6:02pm: Serena breaks after a game of the highest quality. Riske saves three break points, the third one with a ferocious backhand down the line. Serena gets back up to break point and on the next point, a forehand hits the top of the net and falls into Riske's side but she somehow gets there to return. Serena finishes it off. 3-3 in the first set.

5:56pm: Riske began walking off the court at 15-40 thinking the game was done until the umpire turned her away. Not yet, Alison. Speaking of funny things at Wimbledon, tennis' favourite court jester  Mansour Brahimi is back and doing what he does best.  Yes, this is the same guy you've seen playing tennis in slow motion in that 'Wimbledon funny moments' video.

 

5:54pm: Halep wins her first game of the match, but only after Zhang looked like breaking again. The former world number one is having early troubles. 3-1 to Zhang.

Hits the top of the net and tumbles into Serena's side of the court. Riske holds againt to go 3-1 up in the first set.

5:48pm: Riske with the first break! A brilliant backhand down the line was the sign - she's not going to be easy. Serena nets a backhand and Riske takes a 2-1 lead.

Zhang holds again to take a very handy 3-0 lead in the first set.

5:45pm: Zhang has broken! She takes a 2-0 lead in the first set against Halep. Going to do some reading about her.

Riske has managed to hold serve too. 1-1.

5:42pm: Zhang starts with a hold after a deuce. Riske's drop shot goes wide and Serena Williams also holds serve the first game.

5:32pm: It's time! Williams and Riske are on court, a day after their round-of-16 wins. What's your opinion on women being scheduled to play back-to-back matches? How about two men's and two women's quarters today, the rest on Wednesday, one men's and one women's semifinal on Thursday, the rest on Friday. Saturday rest day and both finals on Sunday? Yes, I'll make sure to write to All England Club.  Back to the games.

Inspiring a generation

 

5:10pm: Rafael Nadal has been relegated to Court one for tomorrow's quarterfinals. How is he going to feel about that? He got the centre court over Ash Barty yesterday and he deemed that fair. So he shoudn't be miffed about this one.

Federer and Djokovic are on centre court.

5:05pm: Williams vs Riske - Teammates to rivals

Serena Williams takes on her former doubles partner Alison Riske. They've never played each other before, at least professionally. And beating Riske, who has a game that's well-suited to grass (she has won 14 of her 15 matches on the surface this year), is not going to be an easy task for the 23-time Grand Slam champion.

One one side is a 23-time Grand Slam and seven time (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016) champion and on the other is a player rankes 55th in the world, who has reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

The Riske factor - "She's (Riske) a fighter on the court," said Williams. "She's playing really great, especially on the grass. She's attacking that ball really well. She doesn't let anything limit her."

Ready for war - Riske is engaged to Stephen Amritraj, the son of former Davis Cupper Anand Amritraj. “I wish I could get married more often. Maybe we’ll have to renew our vows because it’s worked out well having that on the horizon,” said Riske. Against Serena, who she believes is "the greatest athlete", she's ready for war.

"Bring it on."

Preview

We began with 128 and we're down to eight and only half of them were seeded here. The Wimbledon this year has been unkind to the seeds and particularly unkind to the predictions we made before the tournament.

 

Serena Williams is the only one left on our list on the women's side. She hasn't had much of a challenge, losing only one set in the second round against Kaja Juvan and she cruised through her round of 16 match against was Carla Suarez Navarro. Now she's in an All-American quarterfinal with Alison Riske, who knocked out the World No.1 and top seed Ashleigh Barty.

Coco Gauff's dream run ended yesterday against Simona Halep, annoying scribes who already had thought up pieces to write if she went on to win the whole thing.

Johanna Konta has got British hopes up after coming from a set down to knock out sixth seed Petra Kvitova in the round of 16. On centre court today, she's up against Barbora Strycova, who also similarly came from behind to beat Elise Mertens in the last round.

Another player who hass yet to fulfill her potential in Grand Slams is Elina Svitolina, the 2019 WTA Finals winner. She won't have it easy today. Czech Republic's Karolina Muchova just beat compatriot and third seed (and namesake) Karolina Pliskova in a thrilling clash. We didn't quite get to see the final set tie-break for the first time, but it was tense.

ORDER OF PLAY

Centre Court

Serena Williams vs Alison Riske

Johanna Konta vs Barbora Strycova

Court 1

Simona Halep vs Shuai Zhang

Elina Svitolina vs Karolina Muchova