Top seed Novak Djokovic cruised through at Wimbledon as Laura Robson fought back reach the last sixteen to give Britain both a man and woman in the second week of the grass-court tennis major for the first time this century.
Robson had been a game away from defeat against Marina Erakovic of New Zealand before winning 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 on a packed Court No. 2 at the All England Club in southwest London. She joins Andy Murray in the final week of the tournament, matching the 1998 achievement of Sam Smith and Tim Henman, the last British pair to reach the fourth round.
“I was getting my butt kicked, basically,” former junior Wimbledon champion Robson said in a televised interview after a forehand winner on match point prompted the crowd to give her a standing ovation. “I was struggling to return her serve. I tried to do the best I can, tried to work as hard as I can. Just stick with it until she gets nervous, and she did.”
Serbia’s Djokovic moved into the fourth round with a one-sided 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over France’s Jeremy Chardy. Djokovic is the only Wimbledon winner left in the men’s draw after Rafael Nadal of Spain lost in the first round, followed by defending champion Roger Federer of Switzerland in the second round.
The 2011 champion has yet to drop a set, and today produced 38 winners and only three unforced errors. His opponent had 18 winners, and 14 mistakes.
“ I neutralized his serve,” Djokovic said in a televised interview. “Everything turned my way, I had a lot of fun.”
Against Robson, Erakovic was serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set when she hit two double faults and gave the Brit a break back. The 19-year-old took control after that, winning off eight straight games as she forced Erakovic on the defensive with her left-handed forehand.
Robson plays Kaia Kanepi in the next round after the Estonian brushed aside U.S. wild card Alison Riske 6-2, 6-3.
Defending women’s Serena Williams of the U.S. is playing 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan, the oldest woman into the third round of Wimbledon since tennis turned professional in 1968. That match is being played under the roof on Centre Court as darkness settled in.
Richard Gasquet, the No. 9 seed from France, was the highest-ranked player to fall today, losing to Australia’s Bernard Tomic, 7-6 (9-7), 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5). Tomic’s dad and coach, John Tomic, is banned from entering the grounds of the All England Club because he faces an assault charge later in the year.
“When I have my time off, when I leave the site, I’m with my dad,” Tomic said, when asked if he was playing better without parental support. “He’s helping me at this tournament. We’re doing the right things. This is why the results are showing off now. I’m not doing it on my own.”
Tomic plays former finalist Tomas Berdych next after the seventh seeded Czech defeated Kevin Anderson of South Africa 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.
Another Australian, former U.S. champion Sam Stosur, was unable to withstand serves of up to 122 miles-per-hour (196 kilometers-per-hour) by Germany’s Sabine Lisicki in losing in three sets.
Former champion Petra Kvitova came back from a break down in the final set to beat Ekaterina Makarova, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in a match halted last night by darkness in the final set.
Kvitova, the No. 8 from the Czech Republic, is the highest-ranked player in the bottom half of the draw after a record number of top-ten seeds exited in the first week either through defeats or injuries, including No. 2 Victoria Azarenka and No. 3 Maria Sharapova.
Sloane Stephens, the No. 17 seed from the U.S., beat Czech Petra Cetkovska, 7-6 (7-3), 0-6, 6-4 in another match suspended last night.
“It was a little tricky,” Stephens said in a news conference. “Just had to go out and play, play hard.”
Stephens, 20, broke through at the Australian Open at the start of the season, beating Serena Williams to reach her first major semifinal. She plays Monica Puig, an unseeded player from Puerto Rico, for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands retired with a fever as he trailed Croatia’s Ivan Dodig, 6-0, 6-1, 1-0. Dodig has now won two of his three matches by retirement, after Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber quit in the opening round, citing flu. Sijsling’s exit is the 13th retirement or walkover this week, which equals the Open-era Wimbledon record set in 2008.
Dodig’s next match may not be so easy as he faces French Open finalist and No. 4 seed David Ferrer of Spain, who struggled with a toe injury in his five-set defeat of Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.
France’s Kenny De Schepper upset 22nd-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina and will next play Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, who beat Latvian Ernests Gulbis. Poland’s Lukasz Kubot is into the last sixteen of Wimbledon for the second time in his career after beating France’s No. 25 seed Benoit Paire.
Kei Nishikori, the No. 12 seed from Japan, lost to 23rd-seeded Andreas Seppi in four sets. The Italian plays former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, the No. 8 from Argentina who beat Grega Zemlja of Slovenia in straight sets.
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