Wednesday , October 5 2022

Harmony Tan, Katie Boulter earn upset wins to reach third round at Wimbledon

Harmony Tan, ranked No. 115 in the world, and Katie Boulter, who is 118th, continue to make names for themselves with upset victories at Wimbledon, while top-ranked Iga Swiatek stayed the course by extending her winning streak to 37 matches Thursday.

France’s Tan, who ousted seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in a first-round match that lasted more than three hours on Tuesday, rolled into the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over 32nd-seeded Sara Sorribes Tormo on Thursday.

Boulter, a British wild-card entry, rallied to eliminate sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, who reached the Wimbledon final last year, with a 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory on Centre Court.

The road for Tan or Boulder will end in the fourth round, when they are scheduled to face each other.

Boulter, 25, who reached the third round at a Grand Slam event for the first time. She broke Pliskova for a 5-4 lead in the final set, then converted her first match point with a volley winner.

“I’m going to take one step at a time, of course,” said Boulter, who also beat Pliskova last week at a warm-up tournament in Eastbourne for her first win against a top-10 player. “I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. I knew I’ve put the work in to win some rounds here.

“… I just look forward to going out there and enjoying myself and having a smile on my face. I don’t think it gets any better than playing on Centre Court and getting my first win on there.”

Pliskova’s powerful serve looked far from its best throughout Thursday’s match, as she mixed 13 aces with eight double faults and was broken four times. She lost in last year’s final to Ashleigh Barty.

Swiatek, meanwhile, extended her winning streak by beating Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on No. 1 Court. It’s the longest winning streak since Martina Hingis also won 37 matches in a row in 1997.

This victory, though, was far from easy for the Polish player — despite facing a player ranked 138th.

Swiatek had to save two break points in the opening game of the third set, then secured the decisive breakthrough with a slice of luck. At 2-1, Swiatek earned a break point when her Dutch opponent deliberately let a shot fly past her at the net, thinking it would sail long. However, it landed inside the baseline, and Swiatek then hit a forehand winner on the next point to break for a 3-1 lead.

Swiatek, who won her second French Open title this month but has never been past the fourth round at Wimbledon, will next face Alize Cornet, who defeated American player Claire Liu 6-3, 6-3.

In other women’s matches, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova showed some nerves in her 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory over Ana Bogdan.

Kvitova was leading 5-1 in the second set when Bogdan started to reel off game after game. Then Kvitova had a match point while serving at 5-4, but failed to convert that chance and then the game itself, eventually leading to the tiebreaker.

“Especially a few games on my serve, it was really long games, and mentally very tough,” said the 25th-seeded Kvitova, who won titles at the All England Club in 2011 and 2014. “I think maybe even this took some energy from my serve and I just couldn’t make it.

“Somehow I made it,” Kvitova said on court. “I don’t know how, but I did it.”

Kvitova will next face Paula Badosa. The fourth-seeded Spaniard defeated Irina Bara 6-3, 6-2.

Former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, the No. 16 seed, came from a break down in both sets for a 7-5, 6-4 win to end the singles career of Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, who said this would be her final event.

Halep, who is playing at Wimbledon for the first time since winning the title in 2019, trailed 5-2 in the first set and 4-1 in the second before reeling off five straight games both times. She missed last year’s tournament with an injury and the 2020 edition was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Flipkens, 36, has exited in the second round in her last six appearances at Wimbledon. She laid down to kiss the grass after the match and then received an embrace from Halep at the net.

No. 4 Paula Badosa, No. 8 Jessica Pegula, No. 17 Elena Rybakina and No. 20 Amanda Anisimova were among other seeded players to advance to the third round.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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