World No. 1 Serena Williams averted a disaster on Centre Court as she battled back from the brink to enter the fourth round at Wimbledon 2015 on Friday. In a thrilling third round encounter against British No. 1 Heather Watson, the top seed once again showed her incredible fighting spirit to pull through 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
Amongst the Indians, both Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna won their respective doubles matches. Bopanna notched up his second win of the day later on in mixed doubles. Meanwhile, Mahesh Bhupathi’s campaign came to an end.
Serena overcomes Watson in an enthralling display
Heather Watson, a 59th ranked player from Great Britain, came close, agonizingly close to giving Centre Court a stunning upset for the second day in a row. Just 24 hours after Dustin Brown had blasted Rafael Nadal off the 2015 Wimbledon Championships, Watson led 3-0 with a point for a 4-0 lead in the third set and was also two points away from victory against the world’s best player, Serena Williams. With her low shots and her wonderful court craft, Watson made it a hard time for the American.
But Serena, the quintessential fighter, never gave up. With her back against the wall, the 20-time Slam winner summoned her inner courage and successfully fought off the young British girl and an entire Centre Court cheering vociferously for the home hope.
The win set up an exciting fourth round clash against her elder sister Venus Williams. Five-time champion Venus beat Wimbledon debutante Aleksandra Krunic 6-3, 6-2 in the third round.
Djokovic, Wawrinka, Sharapova move on
The other big stars moved on safely into the Round of 16. While top seed and defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic eased through with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 triumph over Bernard Tomic, French Open winner Stan Wawrinka outclassed Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
2004 ladies singles winner Maria Sharapova put up a clinical performance to see off Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 6-4, 6-3.
Kyrgios beats Raonic in the men’s match of the day
In a rematch of last year’s quarter-final clash between two of the most promising young guns, Nick Kyrgios exacted revenge to beat seventh-seeded Milos Raonic 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-3. The 20-years-old Australian had been in the news for the last few days for his rows with the umpire and his unapologetic use of swear words. On Friday too, he was in his elements as he flung his racquet so hard that it bounced off into the crowd. The act got him a code violation.
But his game remained free-flowing on Day 5 as were his booming serves that gave him a fourth round place at Wimbledon for the second straight year. Last year, he had shocked Rafael Nadal in this very round while this year he faces 21st seed Richard Gasquet.
The Frenchman, meanwhile, registered his fifth consecutive victory over last year’s semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov with a score of 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Other winners of Day 5
On the women’s side, French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova continued her smooth transition on the grass of the All England Club. The Czech booked her place in the last 16 with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Sloane Stephens. Other winners of the day were Victoria Azarenka and Belinda Bencic while 14th seed Andrea Petkovic and 22nd seed Samantha Stosur fell.
Other men’s players who reached the Round of 16 are Kevin Anderson, David Goffin and Denis Kudla. Meanwhile, US Open winner Marin Cilic and 17th-seeded marathon man, John Isner were locked in a colossal battle at 10-10 in the fifth set when play got suspended.
Double delight for Bopanna, Sania wins
Top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis reached the women’s doubles pre-quarter-finals by thrashing Francesca Schiavone/Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-1. In men’s doubles, ninth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea defeated Thomaz Bellucci/Guillermo Duran 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 to enter the pre-quarter-finals.
Bopanna also won his opener in mixed doubles later in the day. The Indian ace who is partnering Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, won 7-6, 5-7, 7-5 over Eric Butorac/Katalin Marosi.
However, Mahesh Bhupathi crashed out in the first round of mixed doubles. Bhupathi and Alla Kudryavtseva went down 7-5, 3-6, 2-6 to the American pair of Nicholas Monroe/Madison Brengle.
Federer, Murray in action on Day 6 of Wimbledon 2015
Roger Federer, Andy Murray and defending women’s champion Petra Kvitova are the biggest stars in action on Day 6 as each of these top players seek a fourth round berth.