Carnage at Wimbledon as Kerber, Sakkari fall

IT was a day of shock losses in the ladies singles at Wimbledon, with two of the contenders in the bottom half of the draw bowing out at the All-England club. The 2018 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber suffered a straight sets loss to 24th seed Belgian Elise Mertens, meaning just one past Wimbledon winner is left in the ladies singles draw, Simona Halep. Kerber was joined by fifth seed Maria Sakkari in the departures, with the Greek hope losing to another Maria, German Tatjana Maria in one hour and 31 minutes.

Mertens took an hour and 20 minutes to knock off Kerber, edging ahead 2-1 in all their matches they have played with a 6-4 7-5 victory in the third round. The German champion struggled on serve, only winning 43 per cent of her second serve points, which was particularly damning off a 53 per cent clip. She hit two less winners than Mertens (16-18), but also 14 more unforced errors (28-14), while the Belgian was far more consistent with a 71 and 50 per cent first and second serve success rate off a 69 per cent clip.

“It was a very difficult match [in the] second round, losing the first set, then down two match points,” Mertens said post-match. “Playing a third set yesterday, so I kind of feel like I’m on court nonstop.

“That’s also a good sign because I haven’t had those matches in the last couple weeks. I felt like, ‘OK, let’s get some energy, some rallies, some matches in.’ I think that really helped me for today, too, to know that even when you’re down that you can come back, mentally being tough.”

Meanwhile Maria booked her spot in the fourth round with a 6-3 7-5 victory over Sakkari in their first ever meeting. The Greek fifth seed dropped the first set 6-3, but then raced out to a 5-2 lead in the second set, with a chance to serve for the set in the ninth game, and then two set points in the 10th game, but instead Maria kept her cool and broke and served out the match to win two games later. The German only produced 12 unforced errors for 19 winners, while Sakkari had 30 and 28 respectively.

“The first time in the last 16, so that’s already amazing,” Maria said post-match. “To win against Sakkari today, it’s pretty awesome. I think I played a good match from the beginning to the end.”

Prime Penko battles past Begu

Latvian Grand Slam winner Jelena Ostapenko is one player who could benefit from the above upsets, reaching the fourth round at the All-England club with a come-from-behind win over Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu. Ostapenko dropped the first set 6-3, but then only lost two games from then on to come up trumps, 3-6 6-1 6-1 in an hour and 29 minutes to advance through to the Round of 16 and take on Maria for a spot in the last eight.

Begu won the only past meeting between the pair, and it looked like it might go that away again, up until Ostapenko steadied in the last two sets to cruise to victory. The Latvian hit 28 winners and 27 unforced errors to Begu’s 15 and 20, with the former’s serving an area to improve with seven double faults to only one ace. Begu had six aces, but also nine double faults, as Ostapenko ended up breaking her six times to three throughout the match.

Djoker dominates

There were no real major shocks in the gentlemen’s singles matches as the top seeds in action all booked their spots in the fourth round. World number one Novak Djokovic stormed into the Round of 16 with a strong win over 25th seed and compatriot, Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, 6-0 6-3 6-4. The top seed looks in damaging form, hitting 36 inners to only 19 unforced errors, compared to Kecmanovic’s 13 and 27 respectively. Djokovic also won 49 per cent of his receiving points and dropped just the four points off his first serve to storm into the fourth round.

Grasscourt Giant-killer ground Georgian

Extending his incredible winning streak to eight, Dutchman Tim van Rijthoven took out 22nd seed Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in three sets. Having not won an ATP Tour match three weeks ago, he stormed to the s’Hertogenbosch title, and now has won his first three match on grass at the All-England club. It took the world number 104 – who will advance into the Top 100 for the first time in his career post-Wimbledon – an hour and 42 minutes to win, serving 21 aces and hitting 30 winners, whilst only having 22 unforced errors. The biggest task of all awaits him in the fourth round though, with van Rijthoven set to face Djokovic.


Third seed and second favourite for the Wimbledon title, Ons Jabeur moved through to the fourth round with a win over Frenchwoman Diane Parry to now take on Mertens, while Czech Marie Bouzkova and another Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia both knocked out seeds to set up a match-up in the Round of 16. Bouzkova defeated 28th seed Alison Riske, while Garcia fought past China’s Shuai Zhang in two tiebreakers. In the other two matches, German Jule Niemeier fought past former Top 5 player Lesia Tsurenko, to now take on local hope Heather Watson who defeated Slovenian rising star Kaja Juvan.

In the gentlemen’s singles, fifth seed Carlos Alcaraz destroyed German 32nd seed Oscar Otte 6-3 6-1 6-2 to storm into the Round of 16, while local hope and ninth seed Cameron Norrie took no prisoners against American Steve Johnson, winning the last nine games of the match – and 14 of the last 15 – to run away with a straight sets 6-4 6-1 6-0 victory. Americans Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul also booked their spots in the fourth round, while it was not as fortunate for John Isner, who fell to Italian Jannik Sinner. In the other third round match, Belgian David Goffin defeated Ugo Humbert, whilst in completing Round of 64 clashes, Australian Jason Kubler came back from the rain delay to serve out the final game and win against fellow qualifier, Austrian Dennis Novak, while Jack Sock knocked off Maxime Cressy and win in four sets, 6-4 6-4 3-6 7-6.

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