Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Serena survives, Djokovic down

Published:Saturday | July 2, 2016 | 7:00 AM
American Serena Williams reacts as she misses a shot in her match against compatriot Christina McHale during their women's singles match on day five of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships yesterday.

LONDON (AP):

Dismayed at dropping the first set after being a single point from taking it, Serena Williams sat in her Centre Court sideline chair and cracked her racket against the turf once, twice, three times, four.

Then she casually flung the racket, hurling it so far behind her that it landed in the lap of a TV cameraman filming her second-round match against 65th-ranked American Christina McHale.

Williams recovered to force a third set, only to fall behind yet again yesterday, perilously close to what would have been the six-time champion's earliest exit in 17 Wimbledon appearances.

But as she herself declared afterwards: "Mentally, no one can break me."

Eventually, the top-ranked Williams did indeed come through, edging McHale 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-4 for a thrill-a-minute victory at a tournament so rain drenched this week that matches will be scheduled on the middle tomorrow for only the fourth time in 139 years.

The dramatics of Williams' match, which concluded with the main stadium's retractable roof closed, were equalled by those of her older sister Venus: She had to wait out three rain delays, including one of more than an hour that arrived, of all times, right as she held a match point. But Venus, owner of five titles at the All England Club, persevered, too, barely getting past 29th-seeded Daria Kasatkina 7-5, 4-6, 10-8 to become one of only two women already into the fourth round.

 

SHOCKER

 

The most shocking development yesterday was what was going on in Novak Djokovic's third-rounder against 28th-seeded Sam Querrey of the US before it was suspended because of showers in the evening. Djokovic, owner of a 30-match Grand Slam winning streak that includes the past four major titles, allowed Querrey to seize the first two sets 7-6 (6), 6-1 during their 72 minutes of action. Given the way things were going for the No. 1-seeded Djokovic, he had to be thrilled that the match was halted, giving him a night to rest and regroup.

Only one man managed to move his way into the fourth round: Roger Federer. He got to play in the main stadium, with the roof overhead, and easily beat Britain's Daniel Evans 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

Four other third-round men's matches were suspended in progress. Worst of all, from a scheduling standpoint, one second-round men's match is still not finished, with No. 24 Alexander Zverev locked in a fifth set against Mikhail Youzhny. And three second-round women's matches are also pending.

That is why officials decided to scrap the traditional rest day on the first Sunday, something that was done only in 1991, 1997 and 2004.

Among the other winners on Friday was 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, who has had three operations on his left wrist since he last participated at Wimbledon in 2013. He eliminated fourth-seeded Stan Wawrinka, a two-time major champion, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach the third round.