AUSTRALIAN world number one Ash Barty booked her ticket to the third round of Wimbledon action on Thursday, proving too good for Russian Anna Blinkova with a 6-3 6-4 victory. Despite conceding breaks in both sets and committing an uncharacteristic 33 unforced errors, Barty remained composed and won 75 per cent of points at the net, broke Blinkova’s serve six times and hit 33 winners to her opponent’s 12.
After the match, Barty showed love for the Wimbledon surface and the Wimbledon crowd.
“This is a beautiful court; for me grass court tennis is where it is at, I wish we could play the whole year on this,” Barty said in her post-match on-court interview. “A traditional surface, I just love it and it felt like a long two years [since I last played at Wimbledon] but I certainly enjoyed being back out here today. “It’s been a great year so far, it’s certainly nice to have [all the fans] in the stands. I think Wimbledon wouldn’t be quite the same without [them].”
Polish world number 44 Magda Linette caused arguably the biggest upset in the women’s draw so far, taking down third seed Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-4. Linette had never previously defeated a Top 10 player in a completed match, although she did defeat Barty at Roland Garros when the Australian retired due to injury. She won an astonishing 72 per cent of points on Svitolina’s second serve and hit 28 winners to the Ukrainian’s eight in this contest. Svitolina’s exit means that just three women’s players ranked inside the world’s Top Ten remain in the tournament — Barty, Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek.
2020 US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka was also eliminated after a gripping three-set encounter against Romania’s Sorana Cirstea. It was a surprising victory for Cirstea, as she had lost all three of her previous matchups against Azarenka. Cirstea converted five of her 16 break point opportunities and won almost 70 per cent of points on her first serve.
“I had a very difficult opponent in front of me,” Cirstea said. “[Azarenka makes you] very uncomfortable because she plays very aggressive. She always tries to be in charge. She has a very, very good game. So that’s why I say I think it was a great match, because to beat Vika you always have to come and play your best tennis. She will not give it to you. The key was in the third set when I was down 3-1. I said, ‘Okay, Sorana, let’s just play every single point. Does not matter the score. Just play the point. Do not play the score, do not play the match, do not play the games.”’
Earlier in the day, 2021 Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova continued her strong form with a straight sets victory over Andrea Petkovic. Although she is ranked inside the world’s top 20, this marks Krejcikova’s first main draw at Wimbledon. She could not be more pleased with her start to the tournament.
“So far I feel extremely happy,” Krejcikova said. “It’s always hard to switch from clay to grass. You know, I had such a huge run in Paris, and then after I didn’t really have much time to actually prepare, so came here with no expectations. So far I’m really happy that I’m in the third round and I’m going to play another match. It’s amazing.”
Krejcikova’s runner-up at Roland Garros, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, also earned a straight sets victory on Thursday over Kristyna Pliskova. She will face Karolina Muchova in the third round, who overcame 36 winners from Italian Camila Giorgi to win 6-3 5-7 6-3 in over two hours.
Anastasija Sevastova and Katerina Siniakova both came from a set down to win their respective second-round matches, while Ajla Tomljanovic rebounded from a bagel in the second set to defeat Alize Cornet and make the Wimbledon’s third round for the first time in her career.
Angelique Kerber worked through an impressive onslaught from Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo to claim victory in three hours and 18 minutes. After falling in the first round at the 2021 Australian and French Opens, the 33-year-old appears to have hit some form and won her first title in three years at the Bad Homburg Open last week. Kerber won 72 per cent of points on her first serve in this match and broke Sorribes Tormo’s serve eight times. She will face Aliaksandra Sasnovich next, who defeated Japan’s Nao Hibino in straight sets.
 Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-3 6-4
Magda Linette (POL) defeated  Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-3 6-4
Sorana Cirstea (ROM) defeated  Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 7-6 3-6 6-4
 Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Andrea Petkovic (GER) 7-5 6-4
Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated (15) Maria Sakkari (GRE) 7-5 6-4
 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 6-3 6-3
 Karolina Muchova (CZE) defeated Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-3 5-7 6-3
 Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6-4 6-3
 Angelique Kerber (GER) defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 7-5 5-7 6-4
 Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-4 6-1
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated  defeated Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 6-1 3-6 8-6
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 1-6 6-4 6-3
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) defeated Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 4-6 6-2 6-2
Emma Raducanu (GBR) defeated Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-2 6-4
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-4 0-6 6-3
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) defeated Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-4 7-6
Kaja Juvan (SLO) defeated Clara Burel (FRA) 6-3 6-4
Picture credit: AP