An invasion of flying ants, pissed off moms, and a comeback player’s fall marked Wednesday on the women’s side at Wimbledon, where six seeds were sent out of the singles draw.
The Brits had plenty to cheer about as No. 6 seed Johanna Konta outlasted Donna Vekic, a player she lost to earlier in the grasscourt season, 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-8, and wildcard Heather Watson ousted No. 18 seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-0, 6-4.
“I definitely have taken home a few both in my belly and in my bags,” said Konta of the ant invasion Wednesday. “I’m pretty sure I [swallowed a few].”
Watson recorded a bagel in the first set against the No. 18 Sevastova.
“The first set I just felt great, pretty flawless,” said the wildcard. “It’s always going to change. I’ve got to expect her to raise her level and to try something new, and she did. I was pleased with how I remained calm and just kept doing what I was doing.”
She will next meet former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.
“I look forward to playing her,” Watson said. “I know she has only just come back, but I expect her to be playing really well because I know she will have put in the hours and the work. You don’t get to where she’s got to in her career without, you know, being a really good player.”
In other Top 10-seeded action No. 2 Simona Halep handled Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-5, 6-3, No. 4 Elina Svitolina blew past former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-0 in the Italian’s likely last Wimbledon, No. 8 Dominika Cibulkova hit through American Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-4, and No. 10 Venus Williams fought past China’s Wang Qiang 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
“I’m not thinking about (being No. 1),” said Halep, who can take the No. 1 ranking for the first time during this Wimbledon fortnight. “I had some chances also in the final in French Open but I didn’t get it. Of course, it’s a nice goal for me to get the No. 1, but it’s not easy.”
Upset-makers joining Watson on the day were American Madison Brengle ending the comeback run of No. 11 seed Petra Kvitova 6-3, 1-6, 6-2, the unseeded former No. 1 Azarenka taking out No. 15 Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-3, Italy’s Camila Giorgi topping No. 17 Madison Keys who continues to struggle to return from wrist surgery 6-4, 6-7(10), 6-1, Japan’s Naomi Osaka who won an uneven match with No. 22 Barbora Strycova 6-1, 0-6, 6-4, and China’s Peng Shuai who eased by No. 25 Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-2.
“My body just didn’t really do the best, unfortunately,” Kvitova said. “But I was really trying. I fight, but I could just not breathe and I was feeling a bit sick. That sometimes happens. Unfortunately it happened at Wimbledon, which is not nice. It was just tough for me to still have the energy to play my aggressive game.”
Azarenka afterwards said she is pushing for WTA events, like the Slams, to provide child-care services for players who are mothers.
“I have been already talking about this point to some of the people in the WTA,” Azarenka said. “The guys do have that luxury of having the nurseries and stuff at every event, and I think it’s time for women to have the same benefit. For women, it’s more important and harder.”
Other lower-seeded winners were No. 13 seed and reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko who struggled past Canuck Francoise Abanda 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, No. 21 Caroline Garcia who beat Romanian Ana Bogdan 6-4, 6-3, and No. 27 Ana Konjuh who fought past Romanian veteran Irina Begu 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3.
“I wasn’t very happy with the way I played but I’m happy that I could fight and win,” said Ostapenko, who had 20 of her 39 unforced errors in the first set which she lost. “From 3-3 in the third set I played how I play normally…I’m happy I’m in the third round (for the first time) and it’s important to win when you don’t play your best tennis.”
Matches to watch for on Thursday at the All-England Club include (3) Karolina Pliskova vs. Magdalena Rybarikova in a first-time meeting, (1) Angie Kerber vs. the dangerous Kirsten Flipkens, (5) Carolina Wozniacki vs. the grasscourt upset specialist Tsvetana Pironkova, (7) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Ekaterina Makarova who has beaten the No. 7 seed on grass, (24) CoCo Vandeweghe vs. the German riser Tatjana Maria, and (29) Daria Kasatkina vs. the hot-handed Anett Kontaveit.
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