x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Contrasting wins for Serena and Djokovic at Wimbledon

Th world No 2 Djokovic quells Anderson's spirited challenge with ease, given his form, while the defending women's champ continues to scrape through.

Serena Williams continues to plod her way through, faltering step by step.
Serena Williams continues to plod her way through, faltering step by step.

LONDON // Serena Williams, the defending champion at Wimbledon, survived another scare before moving into the third round with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Romania's Simona Halep.

In contrast, man-of-the-moment Novak Djokovic continued his red-hot form with a straight sets victory over South Africa's Kevin Anderson in the second round of the men's singles.

The Serbian second seed did not take the match without a fight as Anderson showed plenty of determination but was too good for the world No 36 in a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win on Court 1 which took just under two hours.

Despite Anderson's efforts, Djokovic, who has only lost one match all year, outclassed his opponent at both the baseline and the net.

"I served well, I played well, I returned really well. That was the key," Djokovic said.

"Every tennis player is looking for perfection all the time, trying to play the best possible tennis.

"Even though I may be hard on myself sometimes I'm satisfied with my performance."

For Serena though, it has been scrapping around and finding her feet back after losing nearly a year to a foot injury and a resultant blood clot that nearly endangered her life.

The American seventh seed has played only three matches since she clinched her fourth Wimbledon title 12 months ago. That long lay-off has left some rust and for the second match here, Serena was pushed to three sets by a lower-ranked opponent before finding a way to grind out the victory.

A third round clash against Maria Kirilenko or Tamarine Tanasugarn is Serena's next challenge as she bids for a third successive title.

Halep has enjoyed a rapid rise to 58th in the world rankings in two years.

Aided by some erratic serving from Serena, it was Halep who landed the first blow on Court Two as she broke for a 3-1 lead and then served out the first set after treatment on a leg injury.

Serena admitted after her first round win that she needed to be "patched up all over" to get through matches at the moment.

But her fierce competitive instincts kicked in as she raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set before breaking again to level the match.

Serena had finally found her stride and Halep had no answer as the 13-time Grand Slam champion turned on the power to take the final set in emphatic fashion.