July 9, 2018 / 2:48 PM / 5 months ago

Kerber survives seeding cull to reach Wimbledon quarter-finals

LONDON (Reuters) - German 11th seed Angelique Kerber became the highest-ranked player to reach the women’s quarter-finals after she outclassed Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-3 7-6 (7-5) at Wimbledon on Monday.

Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 9, 2018 Germany's Angelique Kerber in action during the fourth round match against Switzerland's Belinda Bencic REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

Over the last week, Kerber has watched all the top 10 seeds perish, which has raised expectations that she could repeat her 2016 run here to the final.

On Monday, the twice Grand Slam champion did not let such expectations, or the fact she had never beaten Bencic in four previous meetings, weigh her down and she set up a last-eight showdown with Russian 14th seed Daria Kasatkina.

Kerber won five games in a row from 1-3 down in the first set and also weathered another Bencic attack when the Swiss earned five set points at 5-4 up in the second.

The German, however, was determined not to join the mass exodus of seeds.

“To be honest, I am not feeling the pressure because I am not looking who is left or not from the seeds. I’m just looking forward to my next match,” Kerber said after making it through to her fourth quarter-finals at the All England Club.

“For every single day that I’m here trying to do my best. This is all I’m focusing on.”

That tunnel vision allowed the 30-year-old to become the only woman to reach at least the quarter-finals in all three of this year’s majors.

That run is in contrast to her 2017 struggles, when her Australian and U.S. Open title defenses ended in first and fourth round defeats respectively.

“For me this year, it was really important for me to be really playing again a consistent year. We are at halftime now,” said the former world number one.

“Actually I’m just trying to focus on every single match now, not thinking which round it is, if it’s the second week or the first round.

“I know every match is really tough, especially at the Grand Slams. I’m just trying to improve my game.”

This is the first time since seedings were introduced in 1927 that none of the top eight women has made it through to the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

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