American fortunes slimmed to one player, and the draw opened up even further on Friday at Wimbledon as No. 9 Venus Williams and No. 10 Madison Keys were upset at the All England Club, leaving Serena Williams standing alone.
Venus Williams was outlasted 6-2, 6-7(5), 8-6 by No. 20-seeded Kiki Bertens, and Keys was shocked by 29-year-old Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.
“I can still not really believe it,” Bertens said after closing it out 8-6. “It was such a tough match and such a big fight. It was tough because I played her in Miami and had a few match points and I lost. Of course that was going through my mind sometimes. But I was like, ‘OK, keep on going for it. This is Wimbledon, third round, you’ve never reached the fourth round before so you’ve nothing to lose so just keep going for your shots.’ It’s really tough for me to play on the grass, to play aggressive, but that was really the key today. I did it really well so I’m kind of proud of myself.”
Bertens in the fourth round will meet No. 7 Karolina Pliskova who escaped No. 29-seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-1.
Rodina after ousting Keys will meet another American, No. 25 Serena Williams who came back from down a break in the first to defeat Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 7-6(2).
It will be a battle of the last two mothers left in the draw.
“Serena is my idol,” said Rodina, in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her 14-year career. “She’s a great player, a great mother and plays unbelievable tennis.”
Williams says it doesn’t matter who lines up on the other side of the net, she expects their best.
“Every opponent is playing their ‘A’ game and as we see in this tournament so many top players have lost,” she said. “And technically I’m not a top player, but I do have the wins of one, so I just get ready for anyone that I play.”
Also lining-up fourth-round meetings were unseeded Camila Giorgi and Ekaterina Makarova, and Donna Vekic and No. 13 Julia Goerges. Goerges survived a 10-8 in the third-set encounter with No. 23 Barbora Strycova, and Giorgi came from a set down to defeat Katerina Siniakova.
Matches to look for Saturday at Wimbledon include (11) Angie Kerber vs. (18) Naomi Osaka, (1) Simona Halep vs. Su-Wei Hsieh, (15) Elise Mertens vs. Dominika Cibilkova, and the upset-minded Belinda Bencic vs. (27) Carla Suarez Navarro.
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