Serena Williams didn’t want to be the second member of her family to lose to a teen first week at Wimbledon. Thursday in the second round, Serena dropped the opening set to 18-year-old qualifier Kaja Juvan before course-correcting in the second then hanging on to win it 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
“It was definitely coming together as the match went on,” Serena said after. “I’m just low on matches basically. I could feel it. But I’m getting there. Just have to, like I said, take every match as five matches, really learn from every single point.”
The Slovenian Juvan was trying to follow in the footsteps of 15-year-old Coco Gauff who stunned Venus Williams Monday on Court 1 and early on, Juvan was in control. Serena broke early to coast to level then went up 5-2 in the third before the feisty, fearless Juvan mounted a late charge that fell just short.
Serena will now get Julia Goerges on Saturday in a rematch of their semifinal from last year.
Defending champion Angelique Kerber was a potential fourth round opponent for Serena, but after a miserable day against Lauren Davis, she is out of the event. Davis was blown out in the first but thanks to an array of errors from the German, she rolled to her biggest Slam in a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory.
“Definitely been incredible,” Davis said in her post-match press conference. “I was super disappointed having lost last round of qualies. I found out less than two hours later that I got into main. I was ecstatic about that. It’s honestly a dream being here. I played qualies last year, so I wasn’t able to come here. But, yeah, it feels amazing.”
No. 4 seed Kiki Bertens fought off a second set match point to deny Taylor Townsend 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2.
“I thought I was finished, to be honest,” Bertens said. “But sometimes I’m the lucky one, I guess. I think today that was it.
“But I think it was just a great fight. I think she was playing really well, and so there was not really much I could do. Just keep on fighting, keep on believing that I could do it, and in the end I did it.”
Top ranked Ash Barty continued to impress blowing past Alison Van Uytvanck 6-1, 6-3. The Australian takes a 14-match win streak into her encounter with Brit Harriet Dart who is enjoying her best Slam.
Two-time champion Petra Kvitova overcame a 4-2 hole to keep her mastery over Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-2. Kvitova has now won seven straight over the Frenchwoman.
Sloane Stephens and Johanna Konta advanced to a rematch of their French Open quarterfinal won by the Brit.
“She’s an incredibly good player. I think for me to have won our three encounters so far, there’s very little in that, because every time we step out onto the court, it’s 50/50,” said Konta who is 3-0 against Stephens.
“I think more than anything, I’m looking forward to playing her again. I like playing really great players. I like playing big matches like that. Just looking forward to sharing the court with her again. It is a nice change playing her on the grass this time. We’re kind of going through all the surfaces, which is fine.”
The start of the third round sees the return of the hot-handed Karolina Pliskova who has won her last 7 matches. Former Slam winners and No. 1s Simona Halep and Victoria AZarenka collide. And 15-year-old Gauff returns to face Polona Hercog on Centre Court.
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