29-year-old Russian Evgeniya Rodina will play her seventh singles match at Wimbledon 2018. She takes on her idol, Serena Williams in the fourth round. The Russian breezed through qualifying. However, all of her three main draw matches have gone the distance.
Evgeniya Rodina Enters Personally Unchartered Slam Waters
This is certainly unchartered waters for Rodina. The Russian has only made the 3rd round at Wimbledon once. Her best record at any other Slam is the second round.
Rodina’s swift ground-strokes and line-finding makes her game suitable to Wimbledon, especially the faster courts this year. Rodina needs to strategize against Serena Williams. The best way for her to practice is to replace the lines on her practice court with string and persistently hit it. This is certainly the case when returning serve. This will test Serena Williams’ shoulder strength. It could hold the key to an upset.
Rodina need not be a stranger to this stage at other Slams–she has the skill-set required.
Evgeniya Rodina Beat Madison Keys Because she was the Better Player
Excuse-makers must have earned overtime for coming up with the one about Madison Keys being too focused on a clash with Serena. This was used to pass away the fact that she lost to Rodina in the 3rd round Wimbledon 2018. That pays no respect to Keys herself or Rodina. Truth is, in Rodina’s 7-5 5-7 6-4 victory there was plenty of warning early on for Keys that she had to up her game. Rodina was 4-0 up in the second set and showed tremendous character to regroup after eventually losing this set.
Mother Against Mother
Rodina won’t lose because she doesn’t she respect to Serena Williams. Like a great many players her age, Serena Williams is her idol. They also share motherhood in common.
Serena’s tears at missing Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr’s first steps will have been met with empathy by Rodina. The Russian, mother herself to daughter Anna (born in 2012), is now well versed in balancing cumbersome tour duties with motherhood. Rodina has a career high ranking of #74. This was in 2011 before she left the game to give birth. Dominica Cibulkova and the other critics of the decision to seed Serena need to understand the potential implications for returning mothers. These might need the protection to their ranking more than Serena.
Rodina was clearly on the rise prior to giving birth and received little-or-no help after returning.
A Shock is not Out of the Question
There is no head-to-head between Rodina and Serena Williams. This is surprising since they have both been on tour a long time. Evgeniya Rodina deserves to rub shoulders with her idol. The match result is not a foregone conclusion, either. Nobody thought Russia would knock-out Spain in the World Cup, after all.
Evgeniya Rodina Chasing Down a Career High Ranking
Rodina is currently the world #120. Performances like this at Wimbledon will give her belief that at 29 she can better that ranking. A top 50 spot is not out of the question, given her drive and range.