Iga Swiatek saves two match points to reach first Wimbledon quarter-final

Iga Swiatek saves two match points to reach first Wimbledon quarter-final

World number one Iga Swiatek saved two match points to come through a marathon match with Belinda Bencic and reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time.

Swiatek looked down and out when the score read 15-40 on her serve at 5-6 in the second set, but she produced her best tennis with two sumptuous winners to turn the tie around.

The four-time grand slam champion continued to be pushed all the way by Olympic gold-medallist Bencic in a tense third set before she eventually prevailed 6-7 (4) 7-6 (2) 6-3 after a three-hour epic on Centre Court.

It sent Swiatek through to the last-eight at the All England Club for the first time and having won the junior title at SW19 previously, she will march on with renewed belief this could be her year on her least favoured surface.

Top seed Swiatek had reached the fourth-round without dropping a set but experienced trouble early on against Bencic, being forced to take a medical time-out after only three games due to a blister.

It did not seem to affect the three-time French Open winner and she remained largely in control until Bencic turned the tables in the tie-break.

Bencic saved two set points in the 10th game before she clinched the first set after 66 minutes.

Belinda Bencic took the first set
Belinda Bencic took the first set (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Swiatek left the court and returned determined to avoid another exit before the second week in England, with a sweet forehand return earning a break after a nine-minute opening game.

There remained a steel about Tokyo 2020 champion Bencic, who broke back to make it 3-3 and then had victory within her grasp when 15-40 up at 6-5.

Faced with losing at Wimbledon in the fourth round again, Swiatek came out swinging, producing equally brilliant forehand and backhand winners before she repeated the trick to take the second tie-break.

If Swiatek thought she had chipped away at Bencic’s armour, she was initially wrong with the Swiss right-hander able to force another break point chance early in the third.

Iga Swiatek fought back to reach the last-eight
Iga Swiatek fought back to reach the last-eight (Zac Goodwin/PA)

After Swiatek dug deep to hold again, the resistance was finally broken with back-to-back double faults by the 14th seed.

More drama was to follow with Swiatek going 0-30 down when serving for the match, but she responded in style with two passing forehand winners sealing her spot in the last-eight.

Swiatek, who played two tie-breaks in the same match for the first time, said in her on-court interview: “Well, it wasn’t easy obviously.

“She had match point right? So, I don’t know if that ever happen in my career, being back from match point down, but I am really happy.

“I feel I needed that win to believe in myself a little more on this surface.

“Every day my love is getting bigger so hopefully I am going to have as many days as possible to play on this court.”

Earlier, fourth seed Jessica Pegula progressed into the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for the first time with a straight-sets win over Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.

Pegula raced into a 4-0 lead inside quarter of an hour and wrapped up the first set 6-1.

Jessica Pegula celebrates victory over Lesia Tsurenko
Jessica Pegula celebrates victory over Lesia Tsurenko (right) (Steven Paston/PA)

Tsurenko had come through the longest tie-break in women’s grand slam history on Friday to make the fourth round, but struggled to handle this occasion.

Pegula sealed victory with a superb backhand winner – only awarded after she challenged the out call – and made the last-eight of a grand-slam for the fifth time from her last seven appearances with a 6-1 6-3 win.

“I’m glad I challenged it,” Pegula said on-court. “I was just glad I was able to keep up the momentum.”

Next up for Pegula is a quarter-final clash with Marketa Vondrousova, who dug deep to win the all-Czech encounter with Marie Bouzkova in three sets.

World number 42 Vondrousova had only made it past the fourth round at a major once before, when she won the French Open in 2019, but reached the last-eight with a gusty 2-6 6-4 6-3 victory.