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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Wimbledon 2017: Muguruza, Dimitrov into last 16 as Murray makes surprise visit to Royal Box

Garbine Muguruza stepped up her bid to return to the Wimbledon final as the world number 15 raced into the fourth round with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Romania's Sorana Cirstea on Saturday.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France wipes his face as he prepares to resume his match with Sam Querrey of the United States.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France wipes his face as he prepares to resume his match with Sam Querrey of the United States.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga saw his Wimbledon hopes killed off inside five minutes on Saturday.

The popular Frenchman had trailed American Sam Querrey 6-5 on Friday in the deciding set of their third-round match, when fading light meant play was halted.

And when they returned to Court Two to complete the match, Tsonga instantly dropped serve to lose the contest 6-2, 3-6, 7-6, 1-6, 7-5.

Tsonga volleyed into the net on deuce and sent a forehand into the tramlines on match point as Querrey secured a big win, a year after beating Novak Djokovic at the same stage.

With his disappointment obvious, Tsonga smashed a ball out of the court before shaking hands at the net with his conqueror.

"I'm frustrated because I lost and I stayed two minutes on court today," said Tsonga.

He was actually in action for four minutes and 15 seconds, but regardless of the length of the opening game, Tsonga insisted he had no complaints about the outcome and praised Querrey's performance.

When he was asked if the match should have been halted on Friday night when the pair were tied on the same number of games, Tsonga said: "I was OK with that. It's not a problem. If I come and win my game, we continue. That's not a problem.

"It's just part of the game. I did what I had to do. Unfortunately it didn't work, but yeah, that's tennis."

Tsonga exited the French Open in near-identical circumstances in late May.

At Roland Garros he suffered a first-round defeat to unheralded Argentinian Renzo Olivo in another match that spanned two days, with that four-set contest finished off with another break of the Tsonga serve immediately on the second day.

Strict dress code doesn't apply to Andy Murray

Andy Murray made a surprise appearance in the Royal Box as a host of sporting stars were honoured at Wimbledon.

It has become tradition for medal winners from the Olympics and Paralympics to be invited to Centre Court on the middle Saturday of the championships.

The likes of boxer Nicola Adams, cyclists Laura and Jason Kenny, hockey stars Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh and rower Helen Glover all took their places in the Royal Box.

And they were joined by defending Wimbledon champion Murray, who was allowed to break the normal strict dress code as he had already begun his practice session.

Dressed in a white tracksuit, the Scot was given a prolonged standing ovation before heading back to Aorangi Park, where he prepared for his fourth-round clash against Benoit Paire on Monday.

Murray won tennis singles gold in Rio de Janeiro last summer, defending the title he landed in London four years previously.

Caroline Wozniaki admits 'I got a bit lucky'

Caroline Wozniacki dug herself out of trouble to get through the third round at Wimbledon on Saturday when she was pushed to the brink by Anett Kontaveit.

The Danish fifth seed beat the world No 38 from Estonia 3-6, 7-6, 6-2.

"She was playing really well and I wasn't playing my best tennis," Wozniacki said.

"It just wasn't going my way. I didn't feel myself out there. I just went for it, I had nothing to lose and I got a little lucky."

The former world No 1 faces US 24th seed Coco Vandeweghe in the fourth round on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.

Coco Vandeweghe celebrates.
Coco Vandeweghe celebrates.

Coco Vandeweghe overcomes brief wobble

Coco Vandeweghe continued her seamless progress at Wimbledon as she booked her spot in the fourth round with a 6-2, 6-4 win over fellow American Alison Riske on Saturday.

The 24th seed, who is coached by former men's winner Pat Cash, has yet to drop a set in her three opening matches and is looking a good bet to defy the odds as the women's draw becomes increasingly hard to predict.

While her form has swung between the extremes of a semi-final run to the Australian Open in January and a first round exit at the French Open in May, she has some pedigree on grass, having reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2015.

She has hired Cash hoping he can give her an extra edge, 30 years after the head-band wearing Australian lifted the trophy at the All England Club.

She broke twice to race through the opening set against Riske and twice more at the start of the second to take a 4-0 lead.

The wheels threatened to come off at that stage as her compatriot fought back to level at 4-4.

Vandeweghe, however, steadied her nerves to break again and set up three match points with an ace before checking out with a service winner.

Germany's Angelique Kerber celebrates.
Germany's Angelique Kerber celebrates.

Angelique Kerber digs deep to beat Shelby Rogers

Top seed Angelique Kerber lived dangerously for more than two hours before finally subduing the tenacious challenge of American outsider Shelby Rogers 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 to reach the Wimbledon fourth round.

The German, who was runner-up to Serena Williams last year, has struggled for form in recent months and at times was blasted off court by Rogers' heavy hitting from the baseline.

However, the world No 1 kept faith with her error-filled game plan to seal victory when Rogers, ranked 70th in the world, belted a service return long.

She will face 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.

Agnieszka Radwanska through to last 16

Poland's ninth-seed Agnieszka Radwanska came back from a set down to beat Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 and reach the last 16.

Radwanksa, beaten finalist in 2012, will face Russian eighth-seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round on Monday.

Bacsinszky, mixing up the pace of her shots well to take the first set, had to call a medical time-out at the end of the second set and received heavy strapping on her thigh.

The injury, picked up when sprinting to the net, clearly troubled the Swiss in the third set which Radwanska made short work of.

Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.
Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.

Former finalist Garbine Muguruza advances

Garbine Muguruza stepped up her bid to return to the Wimbledon final as the world No 15 raced into the fourth round with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Romania's Sorana Cirstea on Saturday.

Muguruza became the first Spanish woman to reach the Wimbledon title match in 19 years when she was beaten by Serena Williams in the 2015 final.

Muguruza, who won her first major title at the French Open last year, is through to the last 16 at Wimbledon for just the second time and has yet to drop a set this year.

She needed only 70 minutes to see off Cirstea and faces world No 1 Angelique Kerber for a place in the quarter-finals.

Cirstea, the world No 63, cut a subdued figure as she returned to singles action following the horrific knee injury suffered by her opponent Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the previous round on Thursday.

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov.
Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov.

Dudi Sela forced to retire against Grigor Dimitrov

Grigor Dimitrov had an easy ride into the last 16 at Wimbledon on Saturday when Dudi Sela was forced to pull out with an injury.

Israeli Sela, who had been struggling, quit after losing the second set, with the score at 6-1, 6-1 on Court Three.

Sela received treatment on his inner right thigh and battled on but eventually decided enough was enough.

It was the 11th retirement so far at Wimbledon - nine in the men's draw and two in the women's, notably that of Bethanie Mattek-Sands who suffered an horrific knee injury on court.

Dimitrov, 26, the Bulgarian 13th seed, is through to the fourth round for just the second time in his career.

The 2008 Wimbledon junior champion will meet either Roger Federer or Mischa Zverev on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.