Serena Williams Advances at Wimbledon as Nadal Levels

Five-time winner Serena Williams advanced to the third round of Wimbledon in just 49 minutes as former champion Rafael Nadal leveled his second-round match against Lukas Rosol at one set all.

Williams defeated South African Chanelle Scheepers 6-1, 6-1. The American No. 1 seed had 26 winners compared with five for her opponent.

“I’m always favorite, that can be some pressure but I’d rather be looked at that way,” Williams said in a televised interview after the match.

Serena and her sister Venus, also a five-time singles champion here who moved into the third round, won their first doubles match of the tournament yesterday, defeating Oksana Kalashnikova and Olga Savchuk 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in a match that saw Serena tumble into a spectator’s lap as she chased down a ball.

After dropping the first set against the Czech 6-4 on Centre Court today, Nadal saved a set point before clinching the second set, 7-6 (8-6).

The 52nd-ranked Rosol beat Nadal two years ago at the same stage at Wimbledon. The Spaniard, the champion in 2008 and 2010, earlier this month won his ninth French Open title. He’s seeking to complete his third French Open-Wimbledon double.

Grass Courts

Nadal hasn’t had much success at the grass courts of the All England Club since Rosol handed him what was then his earliest exit at a major tournament in 2012. Last year, Nadal was upset in the first round by Belgian journeyman Steve Darcis.

After winning the French Open title earlier this month, Nadal went to Halle, Germany, to prepare on grass, only to lose his opening round to Germany’s Dustin Brown.

Just like in their five-set match in 2012, Rosol put Nadal under pressure with his serve and flat ground strokes from the start.

With Nadal serving at 4-all in the first set, Rosol got to his third break point with a blistering return aimed straight at his opponent’s feet. He took a 5-4 lead as Nadal mis-hit a forehand that landed at the bottom of the net. Serving for the first set, Rosol didn’t waver, as he set up triple set point with three winners and clinched the set with a service winner.

Unable to withstand Rosol’s deep returns, Nadal dropped his serve to love in the fifth game of the second set as the crowd gasped.

Momentum Shift

The momentum shifted after an hour, when Nadal won the longest point of the match with a hard forehand, setting up three break points. He jumped in the air when he leveled the score at 4-4 with a deep return that Rosol was unable to put back inside the court. After saving a set point in the tie-break with a forehand winner, Nadal took the second set as Rosol double-faulted.

Nadal, 28, had also struggled in his first round against another hard-hitter, Slovakia’s Martin Klizan, dropping the first set before going to win in four.

Later today, seven-time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland plays Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. Federer has won their three previous matchups and has gone on to win the tournament each time, most recently at the 2008 U.S. Open.

In the Royal Box today are Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark; Pippa and James Middleton, the siblings of the Duchess of Cambridge; and British Olympic athletes Sir Steve Redgrave, Jonathan Edwards and Denise Lewis.

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