Title favorites Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova moved closer to a potential quarterfinal meeting with wins on Thursday at Wimbledon.
The top-seeded Serena rolled over South African Chanelle Scheepers 6-1, 6-1, while the No. 5-seeded Sharapova in like fashion dispatched of Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 6-2 to move into the third round.
Sharapova will next meet the dangerous American Alison Riske.
“I feel like her game matches up with grass extremely well,” the Russian said. “She stays down really low, hits really flat from both sides, has had steady results on the surface. It’s going to be a challenge.”
The only other Top 10-seeded player in action on Thursday was No. 9 Angelique Kerber, who weathered Heather Watson and a partisan British crown to prevail 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.
“I actually expected a match like that,” Kerber said. “Heather is a great player. She’s playing at home here. She had a great results in the last few weeks. I was trying to stay in the moment and try to be aggressive at the end. So I’m happy that I won the tough battle against her.”
Other seeded winners into the third round were No. 11 Ana Ivanovic, No. 13 Eugenie Bouchard, No. 19 Sabine Lisicki, No. 20 Andrea Petkovic who needed three sets to subdue Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu, No. 24 Kirsten Flipkens, and No. 25 Alize Cornet who was a three-set winner over Czech Petra Cetkovska.
Upset-minded players on Thursday were Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas who upended No. 15 Carla Suarez Navarro in three sets, and American Madison Keys who outlasted No. 31 Klara Koukalova in three.
“Definitely the whole match I wasn’t playing my very best today, so there was definitely a lot of balls that came off my racket that were not great,” said Keys, who struggled with unforced errors and will next meet Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova. “[In the third set I thought] just stick to my game, calm down, don’t rush, just go back to the basics, don’t panic. It was really just staying with it and eventually feeling the ball a little bit better.”
On the men’s side No. 2-seeded Rafael Nadal overcame an old grasscourt adversary, defeating Czech Lukas Rosol, who held a previous win over him at Wimbledon, 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4.
“The difference maybe is one point,” Nadal said of being down a set and in the midst of a second-set tiebreak. “Maybe if I lose that set point in the second set, if that forehand down the line went out, maybe will be here with a loss. But that’s the sport.”
Other Top 10-seeded winners were No. 4 Roger Federer dismissing upset-minded Luxembourg-ian Gilles Muller 6-3, 7-5, 6-3; No. 5 Stan Wawrinka defeating Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun 7-6(6), 6-3, 3-6, 7-5; No. 8 Milos Raonic serving out Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4, 6-4; No. 9 John Isner edging Finn Jarkko Nieminen 7-6(17), 7-6(3), 7-5; and No. 10 Kei Nishikori eliminating American Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-2, 6-1.
“I’m very happy with the match today, because I knew it could have been difficult,” said Federer about the big-serving Muller, who all three times he has beaten him in his career he has gone on to win the tournament title. “Midway through the second set, I think, for four straight games I didn’t see much on his serve.”
Isner delivered a resounding 32 aces in defeating the veteran Nieminen in two tiebreaks and a 7-5 set.
“I usually hit my hardest serves at that time,” Isner said of tiebreaks. “I’m going up, going after the ball, keeping everything the same, but just have a little bit more adrenaline.”
Three unseeded players took seeded scalps when Aussie youngster Nick Kyrgios upset No. 13 Richard Gasquet 10-8 in the fifth, Italian veteran Simone Bolelli outlasted No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5 in the fifth, and Czech Jiri Vesely shocked No. 24 Gael Monfils 6-4 in the fifth.
In other seeded action No. 14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated American Sam Querrey 14-12 in the fifth in a darkness-resumed match, and No. 23 Tommy Robredo topped France’s Adrian Mannarino in straight sets.
Highlights for Friday at the All England Club include French youngster Caroline Garcia vs. (22) Ekaterina Makarova, a teen battle in Swiss Belinda Bencic vs. American Victoria Duval, (23) Lucie Safarova vs. (10) Dominika Cibulkova, (16) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Croat teen Ana Konjuh, (15) Jerzy Janowicz vs. Lleyton Hewitt, (26) Marin Cilic vs. (6) Tomas Berdych, (11) Grigor Dimitrov vs. (21) Alexandr Dolgopolov, (1) Novak Djokovic vs. the wily Gilles Simon, (6) Petra Kvitova vs. (30) Venus Williams, and (3) Andy Murray vs. (27) Roberto Bautista Agut.
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