LONDON (Reuters) – Experience triumphed over youth on Wimbledon’s Centre Court on Monday as Venus Williams downed Croatian teenager Ana Konjuh 6-3 6-2 in a fourth-round battle of the baseliners.
Facing each other across the net for the first time, the oldest and youngest players left in the singles draw slugged it out in a quickfire contest that was littered with as many unforced errors as clean winners.
Williams, seeded 10, made her debut in the grasscourt grand slam back in 1997. That was several months before the birth of her 27th-seeded opponent, who was appearing in the fourth round at the All England Club for the first time.
After a scrappy opening set, the 37-year-old Williams began finding her range on groundstrokes, keeping her younger opponent pegged at the back of the court.
Konjuh saved three match points on serve but succumbed in the following game when she hit a backhand long.
Williams becomes the oldest player since then 37-year-old Martina Navratilova in 1994 to reach the quarter-finals, where she will face the brightest of the sport’s next-generation stars, French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
(Writing by John Stonestreet; editing by Mark Heinrich)