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Tennis | Wimbledon

Women's wrap: Wednesday, July 5



Britain's Johanna Konta reached the Wimbledon third round for the first time on Wednesday with a 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 10-8 win over Donna Vekic which left her opponent in tears.

The 26-year-old Konta triumphed after three hours and 10 minutes in the sweltering Centre Court heat and goes on to face Maria Sakkari of Greece for a last-16 spot.

With Heather Watson having also made the last 32, it is the first time since 1986 that two British women have reached the third round at Wimbledon.

Vekic, watched by boyfriend Stanislas Wawrinka, the men's world No 3, was inconsolable in defeat having squandered break points in the 17th game of the deciding set.

"It hasn't quite sunk in. I feel very fortunate to have come through that," said Konta, who had lost to the 21-year-old Croatian in the Nottingham grass court final last month.

"I overall trusted my game a bit more against her this time. I think the quality of the match today was very high. I'm definitely here with the intention of wanting to be part of the event for the full two weeks."

Konta fired 55 winners to Vekic's 42 in the gripping second round clash.

Heather Watson hammered out a statement of intent at Wimbledon, swiping aside 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-0 6-4 to reach the third round.

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On a roasting Court Two, the Briton was in the hottest of form in the first set, bashing big forehand winners past her Latvian opponent to clinch it in less than 20 minutes.

Although Sevastova stabilised in the second set, twice going a break ahead, she was unable to arrest the Briton's momentum as Watson became the first player – man or woman – to reach the last 32.

"Starts are very important, but I'm really happy with the second set because she raised her level," smiled Watson.

"The first set I just felt great, pretty flawless. It's always going to change. I've got to expect her to raise her level and to try something new, and she did. I was pleased with how I remained calm and just kept doing what I was doing."

Watson will next face Victoria Azarenka after the Belarussian, back on tour after giving birth to her first child in December, ousted 15th-seeded Russian Elena Vesnina.

"I look forward to playing her," Watson said. "I know she has only just come back, but I expect her to be playing really well because I know she will have put in the hours and the work.

"You don't get to where she's got to in her career without, you know, being a really good player."

SAKKARI CHASES WIMBLEDON DREAM

Maria Sakkari made the Wimbledon third round for the first time, counting her blessings that she once got the chop from a karate class.

The 21-year-old from Athens defied her world ranking of 101 to knock out 44th-ranked Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-4.

Sakkari admitted that had things turned out differently when she was a youngster, her sporting career may have taken another direction.

"When I was a child, I did swimming, running, ballet and even karate," said Sakkari who will face British sixth seed Johanna Konta for a last-16 spot.

"But I got kicked out of karate class on the first day I went because I was laughing so much. It all just seemed so funny to me.

VENUS KEEPS WILLIAMS FLAG FLYING BUT STRUGGLES

Five-time champion Venus Williams stayed on course to notch up 100 Wimbledon singles matches as she recovered from a bad start to beat China's Qiang Wang in the second round on Wednesday.

Her 97th contest at the All England Club was not going at all to plan but she recovered to win 4-6 6-4 6-1 on a sultry Court One. A run to the quarterfinals would complete the century for the 37-year-old.

"I had no idea. Wow. I never look at the stats. So, I'd love to reach 100. That would be awesome," Venus, flying the Williams family flag in the absence of her sister and reigning Wimbledon champion Serena who is on maternity leave, told reporters.

"I love doing this. You have to. It's a lot of work, a lot of pressure. It's not easy. Just love."

She has played more matches at Wimbledon than any other active player and, after Petra Kvitova's second-round defeat she is the only former champion left in the women's draw.

She needed all her experience to pull out a victory that for long periods looked beyond her as the errors piled up against the 55th-ranked Quiang who played with great poise in what wasa only her fourth singles match at Wimbledon.

When Williams served at 3-3, 15-40 in the second set a shock loomed but she scrambled out of trouble and broke in the 10th gamne with a backhand pass to level the match.

She ran away with the decider to book a third-round match against Japan's Naomi Osaka.

Williams came to Wimbledon under a cloud after being involved in a road traffic accident last month in Florida which resulted in the death of a 78-year-old man.

She broke down in tears after being asked about the subsequent police investigation on Monday, but this time was spared any more questions on the subject.

KVITOVA KNOCKED OUT BY AMERICAN BRENGLE

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was knocked out in the second round by 95th ranked American Madison Brengle on Wednesday.

Brengle triumphed 6-3 1-6 6-2 to defeat the Czech who won at the All England Club in 2011 and 2014.

Kvitova was playing only her third event of the year after recovering from a knife attack at her home in December.

The Czech won a warm-up tournament in Birmingham last month after making her return to tennis at the French Open.

HALEP INTO WIMBLEDON THIRD ROUND

Romanian second seed Simona Haley reached the Wimbledon third round on Wednesday with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Halep will face either China's Peng Shuai or Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain for a last-16 spot.

OSTAPENKO STEMS ERRORS IN TIME TO REACH THIRD ROUND

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko battled her misfiring game and stubborn qualifier Francoise Abanda before securing a 4-6 7-6(4) 6-3 win to reach the Wimbledon third round on Wednesday.

For the second match running the 13th seed's level fluctuated wildly but she finally made her extra firepower count to see off the Canadian as darkness descended on Court 12.

Fans could have been excused for wondering what all the fuss was about as Ostapenko, who blazed to the Roland Garros title last month, flailed forehands high and wide in a scrappy first set against her fellow 20-year-old.

The Latvian was three points from defeat in the second set tiebreak but world number 142 Abanda wavered with a nervy double-fault and Ostapenko seized her chance to level the match.

Yet more unforced errors handed Abanda a 2-0 lead in the deciding set but a fired-up Ostapenko won six of the last seven games to move through to a clash with unseeded Italian Camila Giorgi who knocked out big-hitting American Madison Keys.



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