Serena sets up clash with Venus
Pushed to the absolute limit, Serena Williams once again found a way to win.
Down 3-0 and 5-4 in the third set, twice within two points of defeat, Williams dug deep and overcame Britain's Heather Watson 6-2, 4-6,
7-5 on Centre Court at Wimbledon yesterday to keep alive her bid for a fourth-straight major title and the third leg of a calendar-year Grand Slam.
Next up for the five-time champion: a fourth-round match-up with sister Venus.
Top-ranked Serena looked on the ropes after losing six games in a row and going two breaks down in the third set. But just as she has done so many times before, she refused to lose.
Williams ran off four games in a row as she battled back and broke Watson in the 12th game to win on her third match point.
The 59th-ranked Watson, lifted throughout the match by a raucous partisan crowd, played the match of her life but fell short of becoming the first British woman to beat a No. 1 since Sue Barker defeated Chris Evert in Boston in 1979.
"I've had some tough losses, but that was probably my toughest match I've played (on Centre Court)," Williams said. "Heather playing in front of her home crowd ... I think she played unbelievable. She should have won the match at this point; she was up two breaks and she just really gave her all."
Venus Williams, also a five-time champion, made it to the fourth round for the first time since 2011 by beating Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 6-3, 6-2.
That sets up the 26th career meeting between the sisters - and the first at a Grand Slam since Serena won in the 2009 Wimbledon final. Overall, Serena leads 14-11.
"She's in better form than I am," Serena said of her older sister, "so I think she has a little bit of an advantage going into that match, but at least one of us will be in the quarter-finals, so that'll be good."
Meanwhile in men's action, defending champion Novak Djokovic kept up
his winning streak against Australian players by easily beating Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
Maria Sharapova also had things easy beating 29th-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 6-3.