Wimbledon Day 8: Eubanks shocks Tsitsipas

American continues 'dream' run to reach maiden Slam quarter-final

Christopher Eubanks / Fourth round, Wimbledon 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Reem Abulleil

The singles quarter-finals have been set at Wimbledon and we're in for an exciting closing stretch of the Championships.

Here's what you may have missed from Day 8 at the All England club.

Upset of the day

Playing his first Wimbledon main draw, featuring in a Grand Slam second week for the first time, facing a top-five opponent for just the second time in his career – Chris Eubanks would have been forgiven if the occasion had gotten to him against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round on Monday.

It never did!

The 27-year-old American knocked out the fifth-seeded Tsitsipas 3-6, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 on No.2 Court to book a quarter-final clash with world No.3 Daniil Medvedev.

“I feel like I’m living a dream right now,” said Eubanks on court.

“The funny thing about tennis is you’re not always going to play your best, you just have to play really good at certain times. I felt like I did that today. When it came to really important times, I felt like I executed pretty clearly.”

Eubanks extended his winning streak on grass to nine matches in a row, having lifted a maiden ATP trophy in Mallorca on the eve of Wimbledon.

It’s a remarkable run considering just a few weeks ago, he had texted his good friend, former world No.1, Kim Clijsters to complain about grass, noting how much he was struggling on the surface.

“The grass and I have had a strenuous relationship over the years, right now I think it’s my best friend,” said Eubanks on Monday.

Supported in the stands by his friend, teen superstar Coco Gauff and her parents, Eubanks has become the 13th man in the Open Era to make the Wimbledon quarter-finals on his debut, and the second to do so in 2023 alongside Roman Safiullin.

Eubanks spoke of how important it was for him being around the likes of Naomi Osaka and Gauff and how their self-belief rubbed off on him over time.

“I think the biggest thing, it's a common theme amongst both of them, they've been saying for a long time that they feel like I belong at this level. For a long time I questioned whether or not I was consistent enough to play at this level really consistently,” he explained.

“I knew I could come out on any match and maybe light it up, could cause some guys some trouble. I don't know if I really believed I could put it together match after match after match against quality opponents.

“That's something Coco has been telling me for a long time. Naomi even says the same thing. That's kind of been the main thing of just reinforcing and instilling confidence.”

In the quarter-finals, Eubanks gets a rematch with Medvedev, who ended the American’s breakthrough run in the Miami last-eight stage four months ago.

Medvedev punched his ticket to the Wimbledon quarters for the first time when his opponent Jiri Lehecka retired ahead of the third set in their last-16 showdown on Monday.

Djokovic advances despite Hurkacz serving masterclass

He had to finish it over two days – in completely different conditions – and struggled to return his opponent’s serve but Novak Djokovic still found a way to get the win over Polish No.17 seed Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(6), 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4 to set up a quarter-final against Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic reached a major milestone as he contested his 100th men’s singles match at Wimbledon. He is just the third man in the Open Era to cross the 100-match threshold behind Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors at these Championships.

Hurkacz entered the duel having not been broken through his opening three matches and the 26-year-old kept up that streak all the way until late in the fourth set against Djokovic, who finally broke his opponent in the seventh game for a 4-3 advantage. Hurkacz had won 67/67 service games up to that point.

“Big credit to Hubert for playing an amazing match,” said Djokovic.

“Tough luck for him today but he put up a great performance. Honestly, I don’t recall the last time I felt this miserable in return games. He’s got one of the best serves in the world and it’s so difficult to read it.”

The Serbian world No.2, chasing a fifth consecutive Wimbledon title and eighth overall, is through to the quarter-finals at SW19 for the 14th time in his career.

Meanwhile, world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz came through a tough 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 battle with 2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini to set up a quarter-final against No.6 seed Holger Rune.

Rybakina through after just five games, Jabeur rematch next

Elena Rybakina improved to 14-1 win-loss at Wimbledon when her opponent, No.13 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, retired while down 1-4 in their fourth round clash on Monday. The Kazakhstani is the first woman defending champion to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon since Serena Williams in 2016 (went on to win the title).

Haddad Maia, a semi-finalist at Roland-Garros last month, also pulled out of doubles with a lower back injury.

Rybakina has won 32 of 33 service games en route to the quarter-finals, her 97 percent success rate the highest among all women in the field.

After winning Wimbledon last year, Rybakina felt she wasn’t treated like a champion but says her strong results in 2023 – she made the Australian Open final and won Indian Wells – have changed that.

“I feel different from the beginning of the year, just because I had really good results. Maybe last year I didn't finish as I wished I could finish,” she explained.

“This year, all the results, I think it's not only about Wimbledon, it's just overall how I started the year. Of course, it is different from the last year.”

Next up for Rybakina is a rematch with the woman she beat in last year's Wimbledon final, Tunisian No.6 seed Ons Jabeur, who defeated a second consecutive Grand Slam champion to move into the quarter-finals.

After dismissing Bianca Andreescu in the third round, Jabeur eased past two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova 6-0, 6-3 on Monday, and is now keen to avenge her heartbreaking loss to Rybakina from 12 months ago.

Eight years later, Keys is back in the quarters

Madison Keys advanced to the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time since 2015, overcoming 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2.

The American world No.18 extended her current winning streak on grass to nine consecutive matches, having lifted the trophy in Eastbourne on the eve of the Championships.

Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam where Keys has yet to make the semi-finals, and she’ll try to change that when she takes on No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the last-eight stage on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Andreeva has made quite the impression on her Wimbledon debut, reaching the second week at the age of 16, and pushing Keys hard in the opening two sets.

“I think it's hard to play – it's more that she's 16, she's very free, going to play some of her best tennis. You go in knowing there's going to be moments where she's playing incredibly well. Obviously she's been playing well to get this far,” said Keys of the challenge of facing a young teen like Andreeva.

“Then there's also it's tough being on the other side of the net of a 16-year-old who is really playing with nothing to lose and you're the one that's supposed to beat her. That's always a difficult position to be in.

“I think she's a really great player on top of all of that. All in all, it was a tricky match.”

Sabalenka booked her spot in the quarter-finals with a convincing 6-4, 6-0 success over Ekaterina Alexandrova, who had a 3-2 head-to-head record against the world No.2 coming into the match.

The Australian Open champion is through to the last-eight stage for a fourth consecutive Grand Slam and has split her two previous meetings with Keys, who won their most recent clash, on grass, in Berlin two years ago.

Stat of the day

Chris Eubanks has hit 247 winners en route to the Wimbledon quarter-finals. This ranks second-highest ever in the Open Era for most winners hit in the first four rounds, after Wayne Ferreira, who hit 255 in 1992.

Quote of the day

"I think that’s great. The young guys reaching their dreams, coming here playing quarter-finals together, it’s something great for tennis. And of course with Holger we played many tournaments together when we were 12 years old, we grew up together, passing all the categories. Playing a quarter-final against him is something great, I’m going to enjoy that for sure. It’s something that for the fans, it’s something the are going to enjoy as well."

– Alcaraz is excited to face Rune in what will be the first Wimbledon men's singles quarter-final in the Open Era contested between two players under the age of 21.