Swiatek Tested By Martic, Garcia Out While Sabalenka, Pegula Win; Rybakian v Boutler

by Sean Randall | July 7th, 2023, 7:05 pm
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After an easy opener, Iga Swiatek got her first test of the 2023 Wimbledon championships holding off Petra Martic 6-2, 7-5 to advance to the final 16.

Swiatek, who lost in this round a year ago, stormed ahead of the Croat before things got interesting in the second. Swiatek would break at love for 4-3 but when serving out the that match at 5-4 she got broken.

Martic then blew a 5-all, 40-0 lead on her serve as Swiatek took 10 of the last 12 points.

Swiatek will now face Belinda Bencic on Sunday for a spot in the quarters. The Swiss took out Swiatek’s countrywoman Magda Linette 6-3, 6-1.

“I’m really up for the challenge,” Bencic said. “I’m excited to play her. I think I’m a player that I play well against top players.”

Aryna Sabalenka also struggled. The Australian Open champion had to come from a set down to defeat the pesky Frenchwoman Varvara Gracheva 2-6, 7-5, 6-2. Gracheva, who is playing her first Slam under the French flag, was a game from the match with Sabalenka serving 4-5 in the second.

“It was a crazy match,” Sabalenka said to the crowd. “She played unbelievable tennis. I’m super happy I was able to win. I couldn’t find my rhythm. I just kept telling myself ‘keep fighting, keep trying and probably you’re going to win this one’.

“I couldn’t throw my racket on to the grass, so I felt like at least I needed to scream, lose it a little bit. After that I felt better – a little relief inside.

“I felt great before the match. It was just a little bit warm and I didn’t adjust my strings. I ask the stringers to redo my racket and after that I started feeling better on court. The ball didn’t fly that far and that fast after.”

No. 3 seed Jessica Pegula rolled past Elisabetta Cocciaretto of Italy 6-4, 6-0, winning the last seven games.

No. 5 Caroline Garcia hit the exits. The US Open semifinalist became the first women’s top 5 seed eliminated as 2022 quarterfinalis Marie Bouzkova did the honors 7-6(0), 4-6, 7-5. She’ll now meet countrywoman Marketa Vondrousova Sunday in the fourth round. The lefty Vondrousova held off Donna Vekic 6-1, 7-5.

Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko made history winning the longest tiebreak in women’s Grand Slam singles history taking out Ana Bogdan 4-6, 6-3, 7-6[20-18].

A cramping Tsurenko won the 38-minute breaker on her 7th match point. She’ll now face Pegula after a day off Saturday.

Ons Jabeur cruised past China’s qualifier Zhuoxuan Bai 6-1, 6-1. Two-time winner No. 9 Petra Kvitova cruised past Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-2, 6-2. The 19th-seeded Victoria Azarenka stunned upended No. 11 seed Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-4. Eastbourne winner Madison Keys dismissed Viktorija Golubic 7-5, 6-3. The 21st-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova survided 91 unforced errors to beat Madison Brengle 6-7(4-7), 7-6(7-5), 7-6(10-7) and the Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina got over on American qualifier Sofia Kenin 7-6(7-3), 6-2.

Tomorrow, the third round continues with Elena Rybakina resuming her title defense against Katie Boulter who is the last Brit in singles.

Anastasia Potapova will meet 16-year-old Russian countrywoman Mirra Andreeva and No. 25 Keys clashes with Marta Kostyuk.

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