Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 January 2020

Wimbledon: Serena Williams survives scare as Roger Federer cruises through

Seven-time champion recovers from slow start to beat teenage qualifier Kaja Juvan and set up third round clash with Julia Goerges

Serena Williams is aiming to win her eighth Wimbledon title. EPA
Serena Williams is aiming to win her eighth Wimbledon title. EPA

Seven-time champion Serena Williams survived a second round scare at Wimbledon on Thursday before progressing past teenage qualifier Kaja Juvan 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Competing in her first match against Williams, and on a stadium court at Wimbledon no less, Juvan displayed few nerves in an opening set that last just 26 minutes.

However, Williams came roaring back in the second set, twice breaking the 18-year-old Slovenian's serve to level the match. The former world No 1 then took a commanding 5-2 lead in the decider, only for Juvan to claim a break back.

Williams then served out the match at the second time of asking to set up a third round encounter with German 18th seed Julia Goerges in a rematch of last year's semi-final.

"She played well and then I started out a little slow," said Williams, who was watched by close friend, Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

"It brings the best out of me the pressure. I play best when I am down sometimes. I am a fighter I never give up."

Earlier on Thursday, defending champion Angelique Kerber was dumped out as she suffered a stunning 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 second-round defeat by American world No 95 Lauren Davis.

In the men's draw, Roger Federer dashed home hopes of an outlandish upset by easing into the third round with a 6-1, 7-6, 6-2 win over Britain's world No 169 Jay Clarke.

Federer had never lost a grand slam match to somebody as low as Clarke in the rankings and, despite the Briton putting up a brave fight in the second set, the huge gulf in class ensured the Swiss never had to get out of second gear.

Chasing a ninth Wimbledon title, Federer blasted out of the blocks, winning the opening set in double quick time, before Clarke got a foothold in the contest, holding serve throughout the second set to force a tiebreak.

The home crowd began to sense the beginnings of an upset when Clarke secured a mini-break on the Federer serve, but it was a fleeting advantage, with the Swiss taking the set and breaking early in the third.

The 20-year-old Clarke handed Federer matchpoint with a double fault and the 20-times grand slam champion wrapped up the contest when the Briton sent a backhand wide.

"I really enjoyed myself. The tank is full. I came here with a lot of confidence, the first few matches haven't been very taxing physically. You try to win your matches regardless of the score, if you win them in straights that's better," Federer said.

"This first week has been going well and I know the opponents in terms of ranking will now get better."

The Swiss will next face Frenchman Lucas Pouille, who defeated compatriot Gregoire Barrere 6-1, 7-6, 6-4.

Updated: July 4, 2019 10:25 PM