WIMBLEDON, England — Venus Williams, whose lukewarm Wimbledons earlier this decade suggested a fade, persisted with obliterating that notion on Monday. With a 6-3, 6-2 win over the exceedingly young Croatian Ana Konjuh in the fourth round, Williams has followed upon her 2016 semifinal at age 36 with a 2017 quarterfinal at age 37.
With a wave and quick pirouette to a Centre Court audience just beginning to amass for the usual tripleheader, Williams headed toward an odd Wimbledon wrinkle. When she opposes Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday in the quarterfinals, Williams will have played three straight women born in 1997, the year Williams began on the WTA Tour with a second-round showing at the French Open, a first-round showing at Wimbledon and a burst to the final at the U.S. Open.
Ostapenko, 20, who reached this past May aged 19 and never having surpassed a Grand Slam third round in seven tries, now has surpassed two. In an impressive follow-up to her stunning French Open title, she defeated No. 5-ranked Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on Monday, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).
Otherwise, on the only day of the Grand Slam year on which all the men and women still alive in the draws are scheduled to participate, a slight upset hit the top in a women’s game that brims with turbulence. Spain’s No. 15-ranked Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion and 2015 Wimbledon finalist, overcame a No. 1 player presumed shaky through this fortnight. Muguruza rallied past Angelique Kerber, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, and earned a bout with 32-year-old Svetlana Kuznetsova, the first entry into the quarterfinals with her 6-4, 6-2 win over fellow veteran Agnieszka Radwanska.
On Centre Court, Williams won all her nine service games, faced only two break points, crackled with 24 winners (to 12 for Konjuh) and made only 13 unforced errors in a performance that was reasonably close to airtight. Her groundstrokes often induced gasps, quite something for a player whose first title here (of five) came 17 years ago, and whose Wimbledons from 2011 to 2015 went fourth round, first round, absent, third round and fourth round.
The whole match took but 64 minutes, and it wouldn’t have required that had not Konjuh dug from a love-40 hole in her final service game, at 1-5, with the talent that made her a junior sensation, and which was on display during a first trip to Centre Court on Monday, just not on display quite enough.