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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Wimbledon PIX: Djokovic, Kyrgios, Sabalenka advance


Images from Day 3 of the Wimbledon tennis championships played in London, on Wednesday.

Clinical Djokovic glides past Anderson into third round

Serbia'a Novak Djokovic celebrate winning his second round match against South Africa's Kevin Anderson

IMAGE: Serbia’a Novak Djokovic celebrate winning his second round match against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Top seed Novak Djokovic clinically dispatched big-serving South African Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday to glide ominously into the Wimbledon third round.

 

Defending champion Djokovic, bidding for a sixth Wimbledon and record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title, was imperious during a grasscourt masterclass on Centre Court.

In a repeat of the 2018 final, the Serbian broke Anderson’s serve once in each set and offered up only five unforced errors. His only minor concern were a couple of tumbles to the turf on the lush grass, but he remained unruffled.

Twice Grand Slam runner-up Anderson, who is battling back after knee problems, did not play a bad match but Djokovic was at his ruthless best as he won in an hour and 41 minutes.

“It was almost flawless today, I hope my coach agrees with that,” the 34-year-old said on court.

Few would disagree.

Sabalenka digs deep to beat wildcard Boulter

Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka celebrates match point during her second round win over Great Britain's Katie Boulter

IMAGE: Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka celebrates match point during her second round win over Great Britain’s Katie Boulter. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka showed exceptional grit to rally from a set down to beat British wildcard Katie Boulter in a thrilling match on Wednesday and reach the third round of Wimbledon for the first time.

Sabalenka’s best result at the grasscourt Grand Slam was a second-round showing on debut in 2017 as a qualifier but she bettered that with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory in a match lasting over two hours.

The withdrawal of Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep from the tournament, which was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meant world number four Sabalenka was at her highest seeding in a major.

Boulter had lost in straight sets when she met Sabalenka in their only meeting at the same stage of the 2019 Australian Open but this time she came armed with better tactics, denying her opponent pace on the ball.

Boulter repeatedly played the short slice to draw Sabalenka to the net only to lob her, much to the delight of the Centre Court crowd.

After an early trade of breaks, Boulter consolidated a second break of serve for a 5-3 lead as Sabalenka made errors with her ultra-aggressive approach.

The 23-year-old Belarusian cut a frustrated figure, shrieking in anguish as she failed to convert her chances and the crowd got behind the home favourite.

Sabalenka did manage to limit her mistakes, however, and a lone service break in the second set after a Boulter double fault was enough for her to level the match at 1-1.

Sabalenka broke early in the final set before Boulter took a medical timeout for treatment on her right elbow.

The 24-year-old, who reached a career-high ranking of 82 in 2019 but has endured injury problems, returned to the court and broke her opponent’s serve to love.

Sabalenka broke back immediately, however, and consolidated her advantage to take a 4-2 lead.

Boulter had six chances to break back in an eighth game lasting nearly 11 minutes but Sabalenka saved them all with massive first serves.

The Belarusian, who will next meet either Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova or Colombian qualifier Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, converted her first match point and let out a huge roar in celebration.

Kyrgios wins shootout with Humbert to reach round two

Australia's Nick Kyrgios celebrates winning his first round match against France's Ugo Humbert

IMAGE: Australia’s Nick Kyrgios celebrates winning his first round match against France’s Ugo Humbert. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios marked his long-awaited return to action by completing a 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 9-7 win over Ugo Humbert on Wednesday in match held over from the previous evening.

Play was suspended at 3-3 in the deciding set at 11pm on Tuesday after 21st seed Humbert had led by two sets to one.

But Kyrgios, one of the biggest draws in the sport, showed great composure to finish the job on Court One and set up a second-round clash with Italian Gianluca Mager.

“Not too bad for a part-timer,” the 26-year-old Kyrgios, playing his first match since losing in the third round of the Australian Open in February having opted against travelling because of the pandemic, said on court.

“It didn’t take much to get me off my couch when I heard there would be crowds here because I love Wimbledon.”

The see-sawing action of the previous evening had taken place under lights and the Court One roof.

But the match resumed in open air with the first eight games all going with serve.

There was an anxious moment for the Australian when he slipped trying to change direction and fell awkwardly and briefly looked in pain, holding his hip.

But he picked himself up and it was Frenchman Humbert, winner of the grasscourt title in Halle this month, who blinked first when he played a poor service game at 7-7 to hand Kyrgios the chance he had been waiting for.

Kyrgios went 15-40 down on serve but showed his steel to claw back the deficit and claimed victory with a sliding serve down the middle.

Berrettini continues winning run on grass

Italy's Matteo Berrettini in action during his first round match against Argentina's Guido Pella

IMAGE: Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in action during his first round match against Argentina’s Guido Pella. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini continued his winning run on grass with a confident display against Guido Pella of Argentina to roll into the second round of Wimbledon with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory on Wednesday.

One of the many players yet to play their first round due to rain interruptions on the first two days, the 25-year-old Italian arrived at the grasscourt Grand Slam brimming with confidence having won the title at Queen’s.

But his first meeting against the 59th-ranked Pella was considered a tricky one as the Argentine had proved his mettle on grass by reaching the quarter-finals when the major was last held in 2019.

There were not many break points on offer early as the duo served strongly and Berrettini and Pella both converted their lone chances to share the first two sets.

Forehand unforced errors from Pella helped the Italian nose ahead in the third set when he got the break in the 10th game.

Berrettini, seen as a dark horse for the Wimbledon title in the absences of Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem and the first-round exit of Stefanos Tsitsipas, moved up a gear in the fourth set.

He won the last eight games and breezed through the set in just 23 minutes.

Berrettini, who served 20 aces and hit 46 winners overall against 21 from Pella, will next meet Dutch lucky loser Botic Van De Zandschulp who ousted French qualifier Gregoire Barrere 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 7-6 (3).

Svitolina battles past Van Uytvanck in opener

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates winning her first round match against Belgium's Alison Van Uytvanck

IMAGE: Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina celebrates winning her first round match against Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

World number five Elina Svitolina was made to work hard in her Wimbledon opener on Wednesday as the Ukrainian sealed a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory over unseeded Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.

The pair traded breaks at the start of their second career meeting before Svitolina gained the upper hand following a tight game to go up 4-2, and the third seed held off a late fightback to claim the first set.

The aggressive Van Uytvanck mixed up her shots, with rifled drives and delicate drops, and took every chance to approach the net to break Svitolina for a 3-1 lead in the second set before levelling the contest at one set apiece.

Both players wobbled on serve before 2019 semi-finalist Svitolina, who won the pair’s last clash in three sets at Indian Wells six years ago, rediscovered her rhythm in the decider on Court One to close out the victory.

In the second round, the 26-year-old faces Poland’s Magda Linette who rallied from a set down to defeat unseeded American teenager Amanda Anisimova 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Andreescu fails to break Wimbledon jinx after defeat by Cornet

France's Alize Cornet shakes hands with Canada's Bianca Andreescu after winning their first round match

IMAGE: France’s Alize Cornet shakes hands with Canada’s Bianca Andreescu after winning their first round match. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Bianca Andreescu has yet to find her grasscourt feet as the Canadian fifth seed once again lost in the first round at Wimbledon after being walloped 6-2 6-1 by French nemesis Alize Cornet on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old became the highest women’s seed to perish at this year’s grasscourt major after Cornet capitalised on 34 unforced errors from Andreescu to leave the 2019 U.S. Open champion still searching for her first win at the championships.

Andreescu, who was also beaten by the 58th-ranked Frenchwoman less than two weeks ago on grass in Berlin, struggled to hit anything on target and even luck deserted her on Court Two.

At match point, Cornet mis-hit a lob with her racket at full stretch while she charged across the back of the court and both players were left bemused as the ball clipped the corner of the baseline to end Andreescu’s ordeal.

Cornet will hope her win over the fifth seed gives her the springboard she needs to do well at Wimbledon because in 13 previous appearances, she has only made it as far as the fourth round once.



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