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SportWimbledon: Smooth sailing for Aryna Sabalenka

Wimbledon: Smooth sailing for Aryna Sabalenka

Published: 2nd Jul 2021 11:57 pm

Wimbledon: No. 2-seeded Aryna Sabalenka is into the second week at Wimbledon and on the verge of a career breakthrough. The hard-hitting Belarusian beat qualifier María Camila Osorio Serrano 6-0, 6-3 Friday to reach the fourth round, and she might be overdue for a deep run in a Grand Slam.

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Novak Djokovic improved to 17-0 in Grand Slam matches this year by beating American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7). The top-ranked Djokovic has also won 17 consecutive matches at Wimbledon, where he is the two-time defending champion.

He double-faulted on his first two service points in the tiebreaker but then took advantage of several shaky Kudla forehands to close out the win. Djokovic had 28 unforced errors after committing only six in the second round. His opponent Monday will be No. 17-seeded Cristian Garín of Chile, who beat Pedro Martínez 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

Sabalenka is the only woman among the top 20 seeds who has yet to reach a major quarterfinal. The time seems right for that to change: Sabalenka leads the tour with 32 match wins this year, her seeding is a career high in a major, and she’s navigating a draw already without eight of the highest-ranked women.

Among those still in contention is No. 7-seeded Iga Świątek, the 2020 French Open champion, who breezed into the fourth round by beating Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1, 6-0. Świątek had one career victory on grass entering the tournament. No. 18 Elena Rybakina eliminated American Shelby Rogers 6-1, 6-4 and faces Sabalenka next. No. 8 Karolina Pliskova swept Tereza Martincová 6-3, 6-3.

Frances Tiafoe’s Wimbledon run is over after losing in the third round to 25th-seeded Karen Khachanov. Tiafoe produced a major upset by beating third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the first round but didn’t come anywhere close to that performance against Khachanov. The American never earned a break point and lost 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Tiafoe had beaten Vasek Pospisil in straight sets in the second round. He also reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2018.No. 5 Andrey Rublev hit 13 aces and beat No. 26 Fabio Fognini 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. No. 1 Novak Djokovic was scheduled to face American qualifier Denis Kudla.

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