x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Ecstatic Shvedova lays 'a golden egg' in third round

Kazakh player wins the first set without losing a point against Sara Errani, the French Open runner-up, at Wimbledon and Serena Williams struggles in her win.

Serena Williams had to rely on her serve to see off the stiff challenge from Zheng Jie. Anja Niedringhaus / AP Photo
Serena Williams had to rely on her serve to see off the stiff challenge from Zheng Jie. Anja Niedringhaus / AP Photo

Yaroslava Shvedova made history today by becoming the first player to win a set at Wimbledon without conceding a point.

The unseeded Kazakh achieved the feat – known as a golden set – at the start of her third-round match, on Court 3, against the French Open runner-up Sara Errani.

She held serve three times and broke the No 10 seed Errani each time to take 24 consecutive points.

The second set was far closer, but Shvedova, 24, stepped up her game to wrap up a 6-0, 6-4 victory.

"Today I laid a golden egg!" she later tweeted.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams survived the biggest first-week test of her Wimbledon campaign as she came from a set down to fight off the gutsy challenge from the 25th seed Zheng Jie.

Williams held a 5-0 win-loss record over Zheng, but the Chinese produced some excellent tennis to make the American veteran look ordinary at times on Centre Court, where she has previously won four Wimbledon titles.

Zheng often matched Williams for skill and athleticism, but the American's powerful serving – she had a remarkable 23 aces to Zheng's one – enabled her to record a 6-7, 6-2, 9-7 victory.

Williams, who beat Zheng in the 2008 Wimbledon semi-finals, was impressed with the performance of her opponent.

"She played unbelievably well," said Williams, who next faces Shvedova. "I kept fighting in that third set. If I was going to go out I wanted to go out fighting.

"It was good to go through. I needed a tough match like that."

Petra Kvitova, the defending champion, is waiting for her first test. She sailed into the second week with a 6-1, 6-0 win over the Uzbekistan-born American Varvara Lepchenko, setting up a fourth-round meeting with Francesca Schiavone.

That match likely will present a harder task for Kvitova, but for now she can reflect on a hassle-free opening week that has seen her lose just 13 games in total.

The No 4 seed won 53 points to Lepchenko's 28 and now has a day to prepare for her meeting with Schiavone, the Italian who secured her passage with a similarly routine 6-0, 6-4 win over Klara Zakopalova.

Kvitova said: "I felt I played well. I have played her before, at Roland Garros, so I knew I would have to play my game and hold my serve.

"The score looks easy, but some of the rallies were really good."

Despite her impressive form, the 22-year-old Czech is refusing to draw comparisons with her run to the trophy 12 months ago.

"It's tough to look back and learn from last year, because it's now a different tournament. After a year there are a lot of changes."

Also, the No 2 seed Victoria Azarenka had no trouble with Jana Cepelova of Slovakia, winning 6-3, 6-3; Ana Ivanovic, a crowd favourite, advanced to the fourth round with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the 22nd-seeded German Julia Goerges; and the No 21 Roberta Vinci fended off the challenge of Mirjana Lucic of Germany 7-6, 7-6.

Andy Roddick, a three-time Wimbledon runner-up, lost in the third round today, beaten by No 7-seeded David Ferrer of Spain 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3.

The 30th-seeded Roddick blew a kiss to the crowd at Centre Court as he left. Roddick, whose 2003 US Open victory was the last grand slam title for an American man, was broken four times. He had been on a seven-match winning streak, including a title on grass as a wild card at Eastbourne a week ago.

Ferrer, a semi-finalist at the French Open, got to the round of 16 at the All England Club for the third consecutive year and fourth time overall. He has never made it to the quarter-finals, but he won his second grass-court title just ahead of Wimbledon, and he is in the half of the bracket that Rafael Nadal had been favoured to win.

Ferrer next faces the No 9 Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Kei Nishikori in straight sets.

The 2009 US Open champion beat the 19th seed 6-3, 7-6, 6-1 but complimented the Japanese star.

“Nishikori is a dangerous player on a grass court,” Del Potro said. “He’s very, very fast, so I tried to put the ball one more time in every point. I played aggressive. I served really well. I didn’t make too many mistakes with my forehand. So I feel confidence with my game. To beat Nishikori three sets in a row, it’s important.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached the fourth round for the third straight year by beating Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

The fifth-seeded Frenchman never lost his serve and broke Lacko four times to wrap up the victory in a 90-minute match on Court 1 and set up a meeting with Mardy Fish in the round of 16.

Tsonga reached the semi-finals at the All England Club last year after rallying from two sets down to beat the six-time champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals. He went on to lose against eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

Lacko was trying to reach the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time.

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