WRAPUP 1-Tennis-Serena soars, Rosol falls back down to earth

Reuters

Sat, 30 Jun 19:26:00 2012

Serena Williams fired down a Wimbledon record 23 aces, Yaroslava Shvedova blitzed through a record 24 consecutive points and Lukas Rosol was heading back to a life of anonymity as the All England Club ushered in the AN - after Nadal - era on Saturday.

Two days after brazen Czech Rosol turned tennis's world order on its head by bludgeoning Rafa Nadal out of Wimbledon, four-times women's champion Williams was in danger of falling through the same trap door.

The American's serve was on fire and she was never broken but she was lucky to escape unscathed as she subdued Zheng Jie's charge with a 6-7 6-2 9-7 third-round win.

It was little wonder that Williams arched backwards to let out an almighty roar of relief after punching away a backhand volley on her third match point to complete a 6-7 6-2 9-7 win in just under 2-1/2 hours on a blustery and baking hot Centre Court.

It was the same arena that Rosol had found to his liking on Thursday as his ferocious forehands and atomic aces destroyed Nadal's title hopes.

But 48 hours later, Rosol will be hoping he does not end up being a one-hit wonder as he headed back into obscurity after a less than spectacular 6-2 6-3 7-6 Court 12 drubbing at the hands of Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber.

While Rosol will now have plenty of time to reply to the 150-odd text messages he received within minutes of jettisoning Nadal, Kohlschreiber was thanking his lucky stars for not having to face the Spanish world number two.

"I'm very happy that I'm not playing against Rafael Nadal, that's for sure. If I would have gone into the match against Nadal, there would have been a 90 percent chances I would lose. Today was more 50/50," the 27th seed said after reaching the last 16 here for the first time.

"If you play in the last 16 and you're not facing Federer, Nadal, Murray, the big guys, it's a great chance to reach the quarter-finals, for sure."

Kazakhstan's Shvedova will be looking to reach her second successive grand slam quarter-final when she takes on Williams on Monday but it is unlikely she will repeat the kind of run she enjoyed on day six of the grasscourt championships.

RED-FACED

The 24-year-old wildcard left French Open runner-up Sara Errani red-faced by becoming the first player to win a set in a grand slam tournament without conceding a point.

The first set disappeared in a 15-minute blur as Shvedova won 24 consecutive points - known as a golden set - on court three.

Tenth seed Errani fought back in the second but was powerless to stop Shvedova wrapping up a 6-0 6-4 victory.

Williams, for one, was bemused by Shvedova's achievement.

"Hopefully I'll be able to win a point in the set (on Monday)," she grinned.

"I never knew that (golden set) existed. I was like 'What does that mean'? I immediately thought, she won all four in a row and the Olympics? I thought that wasn't possible. That's the only golden thing I know of."

Williams will be shooting for two gold medals when Wimbledon hosts the Olympic tennis event next month, but on Saturday her immediate concern was how to see off 2008 semi-finalist Zheng.

She survived all six break points she faced, served three times to stay in the match, was stretched to deuce in the final game and as soon as she had hit the winning point, she leapt up in jubilation before deafening the fans with her mighty warcry.

Joining the 13-times grand slam champion in the second week were title holder Petra Kvitova, Australian Open victor Victoria Azarenka and former French Open champions Ana Ivanovic and Francesca Schiavone.

Kvitova walloped American Varvara Lepchenko 6-1 6-0, second seed Azarenka eased past Slovakian Jana Cepelova 6-3 6-3 and Schiavone thumped Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-0 6-4.

Andy Roddick's chances of winning that elusive Wimbledon crown faded further into the sunset when he was comprehensively outplayed in a 2-6 7-6 6-4 6-3 defeat by seventh seed David Ferrer.

Three times runner-up, Roddick has now failed to reach week two for the second year running and with his 30th birthday just a few weeks away, the resigned look on his face at the end of the match suggested that even he knew that his time was up.

In stark contrast, fellow American Brian Baker has been providing the feel-good factor in the men's game this week.

The 27-year-old qualifier showed that it is never too late to mount a career comeback as he fought his way into the last 16 with a 6-4 4-6 6-1 6-3 win over Benoit Paire.

Baker's tennis adventure seemed all but over in 2005 but after undergoing five reconstructive elbow operations he has slowly but surely been making his way back into the grand slam fold.

He began the year ranked 458th, arrived at Wimbledon as the world number 126 and is now expected to break into the top 80.

 

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