Erin Routliffe into Wimbledon quarterfinals with Alicja Rosolska
Erin Routliffe’s remarkable run at Wimbledon has continued with the Kiwi doubles player and her Polish partner Alicja Rosolska advancing to the quarterfinals.
On No 12 court on Monday, they defeated the No 5 seeds Asia Muhammad from USA and Japan’s Ena Shibahara 6-4 7-6(3) in one hour, 39 minutes in front of around 1000 spectators.
It was the best match played so far at this Wimbledon by Routliffe and Rosolska, with the Kiwi again dominating from the back of the court and Rosolska reacting quickly at the net.
There was nothing between the teams early in the match and the first break point came with Muhammad serving at 4-4 and 15-40 and at it, Routliffe stepped up to the net, putting away a smash into the corner.
But that wasn’t the end of the drama in the set as when serving in the next game Routliffe went down 15-40, but she and Rosolska then won four points in a row to take the opening set.
Like the first set, the second was tight, but the pressure came on American/ Japanese team in the 11th game when Shibahara double faulted at 15-30. Muhammad put a volley into the net on the next point to put Rosolska into a position to serve for the match.
She wasn’t able to do that in a game where Muhammad and Shibahara played some of their best tennis.
But in the tiebreaker Routliffe and Rosolska went up 4-0, at the change it ends it a was a 5-1 lead.
Soon after on match point, Routliffe served to Shibahara, who played an inside out forehand return, which went straight to Rosolska at the net, who put away a volley to clinch the match.
“It was really tough,” Routliffe said of the win.
“We’d only played them once before as a team and Asia is a really good friend. I’ve known Ena for a while now, have played her in college then in pros.
“They’re both incredible players, we knew we had to bring it. It was a big moment, we tried at the French Open to make the quarters and came up a bit short.
“So I think we were both thinking a bit about that, but trying not to think about it too much.
“It (the match) had its ups and downs, we did a really good job of holding serve when it was important. That’s a big thing on grass, a lot of first serves, being aggressive.
“They have really huge serves as well, so I think we trusted each other in the big moments and that showed, so I’m really happy.”
Going deep at grand slams means doubles players gradually play on bigger courts and to be on the fifth biggest court at Wimbledon was an experience Routliffe said she enjoyed.
“I loved it, I absolutely loved it,” she said.
“I looked up in the stands a couple of times and saw it was almost full.
“I love playing at Wimbledon because they don’t need big-name singles players to watch, they just love tennis, which I absolutely appreciate.
“I had a great time, I had so much fun and I love looking up into the crowd and looking at all the people.
“But that’s what you work for, those are the moments all the years of hard work are for, so I try to embrace it and enjoy every single moment.”