Serena through after scare

Sat, Jun 30, 2012, 01:00

Tennis:Four-time Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams is through to the fourth round following an epic battle with China’s Jie Zheng, a three set tussle before the American squeezed home 6-7, 6-2, 9-7.

Her victory was underpinned by her serve, a fact illustrated in Williams’ setting a new tournament record of 23 aces. Her opponent managed one. Zheng, produced a superb performance but the handicap of not being able to break her opponent – the Chinese girl did have three break points in one game and six in total – proved too cumbersome a burden ultimately.

It was one though that Zheng bore remarkably well for so long, especially as it put her under ferocious pressure to hold her own serve. She was giving away almost 20 miles an hour in velocity terms to Williams – their respective average first serve speeds of 108 miles per hour and 88 respectively – and her American opponent also hit 54 winners to Zheng’s 21.

The Chinese player won a first set tie-break 7-5 before Williams levelled the match in claiming the second set 6-2, breaking twice. The final instalment was a tense affair before Williams managed the crucial break in the 16th game.

She admitted: “It [my serve] definitely helped me out today because I wasn’t doing my best on my return like I normally do. So it’s good to know that I can rely on that. The whole match I was able to hold serve.”

In her next match Williams will face Yaroslava Shvedova who made history today by becoming the first woman in WTA history to win what is know as a ‘golden set.’ The unseeded Kazakhstan player won 24 points in succession to take the first set of her match against French Open runner-up Sara Errani 6-0. The closest anyone had come prior to that was Shvedova herself, who won 23 points in succession

she went on to lose that match. This time she didn’t falter, winning the second set, 6-4. When told of the new record Williams smiled: “Hopefully I’ll be able to win a point in the set. That will be my first goal, and then I’ll go from there.”

Women’s Singles Round 3:Tamira Paszek (Aut) bt Yanina Wickmayer (Bel) 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5, (14) Ana Ivanovic (Ser) bt (22) Julia Goerges (Ger) 3-6 6-3 6-4, (4) Petra Kvitova (Cze) bt Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 6-1 6-0, (6) Serena Williams (USA) bt (25) Jie Zheng (Chn) 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 9-7, Yaroslava Shvedova (Kaz) bt (10) Sara Errani (Ita) 6-0 6-4, (2) Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Jana Cepelova (Svk) 6-3 6-3, (24) Francesca Schiavone (Ita) bt Klara Zakopalova (Cze) 6-0 6-4, (21) Roberta Vinci (Ita) bt Mirjana Lucic (Cro) 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-3).

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