Serena Williams boosted her chances of winning an eighth Wimbledon and 24th Grand Slam by making the fourth round at the All England Club on Friday as big sister Venus fell victim to the curse of the seeds.
Only two of the top 10 seeds remain in the women’s draw – number one Simona Halep, who plays her third round match on Saturday, and seventh seed Karolina Pliskova who came back from 1-4 down in the second set to defeat Mihaela Buzarnescu 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1.
While the women’s draw was being blown wide open, it was business as usual for defending men’s champion Roger Federer who enjoyed a 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 win over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.
The big stories
Venus beaten by Bertens
Venus Williams blamed bad luck for her shock Wimbledon exit as the five-time champion became the latest star to crash out in a 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 8-6 defeat against Kiki Bertens.
After reaching the final last year and the semi-finals in 2016, Venus was expected to mount another strong challenge for the Wimbledon title. But instead the 38-year-old was worn down by Dutch 20th seed Bertens in a dramatic third round clash lasting two hours and 40 minutes in sweltering heat on Court One.
Serena sweeps Mladenovic aside as draw opens up
Seven-time champion Serena Williams reached the Wimbledon fourth round with a 7-5, 7-6 (7/2) win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic.
Williams, seeded 25 and chasing a 24th Grand Slam title, will face Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina for a place in the quarter-finals. The match on Monday will also be a tussle between two of the tour’s mothers.
Qualifier downs Keys
Also exiting was 10th seed Madison Keys, who had made at least the quarter-finals of her last three majors. The American lost 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 to Rodina, ranked 120th in the world.
“I have played the quallies and three matches this week which were all three sets,” said 29-year-old Rodina. “She hits the ball so hard. I am a little surprised that I won, I was a little bit lucky.”
Federer breezes past German comeback specialist
Defending champion Roger Federer eased into the Wimbledon fourth round with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 win over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.
Federer took his consecutive sets won at Wimbledon to 29 in what was his 200th career grass court match. The eight-time champion will face French 22nd seed Adrian Mannarino on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.
Zverev beats Fritz in five
German fourth seed Alexander Zverev made the third round, seeing off Taylor Fritz of the United States 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (0/7), 6-1, 6-2 and faces Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis for a spot in the last 16.
Zverev had trailed two sets to one when his tie with Fritz was halted due to darkness on Thursday. But the 21-year-old raced away with the last two sets in Friday’s bright sunshine.
Shots of the day
From the sidelines
Nothing stops Brits queueing
Despite the attraction of England playing in the football World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, by 6 pm Friday there were already more people in the queue than there were tickets available for Centre and Court One for Saturday’s play.
El Salvador’s long wait over
El Salvador’s Marcelo Arevalo and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo of Chile won a five-hour marathon in the men’s doubles, beating British wildcards Cameron Norrie and Jay Clarke 22-20 in the final set. Arevalo is the first man from El Salvador to win a match at Wimbledon.
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson has brought his guitar to Wimbledon was off to see Jack Johnson at the Hammersmith Apollo on Friday night after getting through to the fourth round.
Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek man in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam last 16, by beating Thomas Fabbiano of Italy.
“I only love my bed and Roger. I’m sorry.”
– Fan sign on Centre Court.
“Today was a massive mishandle of nerves.”
– US 10th seed Madison Keys on her shock loss to Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina.
“I can only tell you why I lost today. I don’t know why other people are losing.”
– Keys on the exodus of top 10 players in first week of Wimbledon.
“I don’t know what a masochist is.”
– Alexander Zverev after coming back from two sets to one down.
“If he fills himself up on pigeon, I’m basically redundant for 24 hours.”
– Rufus the Hawk’s handler Imogen Davies on the downside of killing Centre Court pigeons.
“Oh, I hope that doesn’t happen. I like the 32 seeds. A lot of times I float around between 17 and 32. That’s the honest truth: that’s why I don’t want that changing.”
– Sam Querrey on the prospect of the Grand Slams returning to 16 seeds.
“I’ve won Wimbledon seven times. I don’t even remember all the times I’ve won. I can’t tell you what happened on match point. I don’t necessarily have to win another Wimbledon in my career, saying I won – was it six times?”
– Serena Williams on her slew of seven Wimbledon titles.
“Are there any thoughts of what next, whether you’ll be back here next year?”
“Do you think we will see you next year here, Venus?”
“Seems like the fire is still there. We could see on court the passion you have for the sport still.”
– Venus Williams takes defeat with good grace as she ends a less than chatty press conference.
1,469 – days since Serena Williams last lost a match at Wimbledon: her surprise 2014 defeat to Alize Cornet.
123 – fastest serve (miles per hour) in the women’s championship after the first two rounds, hit by Venus Williams.
4 – Russian women in the third round. At least one Russian woman has reached the third round at Wimbledon every year since 1996.
3 – highest number of qualifiers in men’s third round since 2011: Ernests Gulbis, Dennis Novak and Thomas Fabbiano.
3 – women outside the top 100 who made the third round: Yanina Wickmayer (101), Evgeniya Rodina (120), Vitalia Diatchenko (132).
1 – Caroline Wozniacki’s exit means Simona Halep is guaranteed to remain at number one in the world rankings after Wimbledon.
0 – confirmed kills so far by Rufus the Hawk.