By: Reuters | Updated: July 7, 2018 1:02:59 am
Seven-times champion Serena Williams moved ominously into the last 16 at Wimbledon when she recovered from a sluggish start to beat France’s Kristina Mladenovic 7-5 7-6(1) on Friday.The American, seeded 25, looked sluggish initially and trailed 5-3 but the 36-year-old flicked the switch and reeled off six games in a row as Mladenovic wilted in the heat.
To her credit Mladenovic recovered her poise and had a chance to break the Williams serve at 4-4 in the second set.
Williams slammed the door shut though and piled on the pressure when Mladenovic served at 5-6.
Mladenovic saved one match point with a graceful forehand winner and forced a tiebreak but there was no stopping Williams as she steamed through it like an express train.
She brought up another match point with a 12th ace and finished it off with her 13th. Williams has now won 17 consecutive matches at Wimbledon including the 2015 and 2016 titles.
She missed last year’s tournament because she was pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia.
It’s lucky number seven for Pliskova
It proved to be seventh-time lucky for Karolina Pliskova as she avoided joining Wimbledon’s cull of seeds to reach the fourth round with a 3-6 7-6(3) 6-1 win over Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu on Friday.
The Czech appeared to be in danger of becoming the ninth top-10 seed to fall before the last 16 when Buzarnescu bagged the first set and kept Pliskova guessing in the second.
But once the seventh seed survived the second set tiebreak, she raced through the decider to make it through to the second week for the first time in seven attempts.
She will next take on Venus Williams’ conqueror Kiki Bertens for a place in the quarter-finals.
Pliskova and world number one Simona Halep are the only top-10 seeds still in the tournament. Since tennis turned professional in 1968, it is the worst showing at Wimbledon by the women’s seeds.
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