Venus rallies past Dulgheru
LONDON, July 4, (AFP): Roger Federer extended his flawless winning streak at Wimbledon to 26 consecutive sets as the defending champion crushed Lukas Lacko, while Serena Williams powered to her 16th successive win in Wednesday’s second round action.
While Federer and Serena strolled, Caroline Wozniacki suffered fresh Wimbledon woe as the world number two suffered a shock 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 defeat against Ekaterina Makarova.
Federer delivered a Centre Court masterclass lasting 89 minutes as the Swiss star hit 48 winners and 16 aces in his 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 victory.
The 36-year-old is now on his joint second longest streak of sets won at Wimbledon — his best was 34 between the third round in 2005 to the 2006 final.
Next up for Federer is a third round tie against German world number 64 Jan-Lennard Struff who came back from two sets down to defeat 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic 13-11 in the final set.
In his 20th Wimbledon appearance, top seed Federer, a 20-time major winner, is bidding to become only the second player to claim nine singles titles at the All England Club after Martina Navratilova.
On the evidence of his ruthless demolition of Slovakian world number 73 Lacko, it will take something special to stop Federer making more Wimbledon history.
“I played very well. I felt good out there, less nerves than in the first round,” Federer said.
“I’m happy how I am hitting the ball, good concentration on my service games and able to mix it up with some slices.
“Of course, you sometimes play the percentages, but if you do that too much it becomes boring, so I like to mix it up.”
Federer wasn’t the only former champion in peak form on Centre Court as seven-time winner Serena routed Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova 6-1, 6-4.
Williams brushed aside Tomova in just 66 minutes with 24 winners and four aces to extend her streak of consecutive match wins at the All England Club.
“It was better than the first round. I’m happy I’m going in the right direction,” Serena said.
“I’m getting there. I expect to get there, not only for Wimbledon but for the tournaments in the future.”
The 36-year-old, whose winning run encompasses her Wimbledon titles in 2015 and 2016, missed the grass-court Grand Slam last year while she prepared to give birth to daughter Alexis Olympia in September.
Serena, seeded 25th after her return from maternity leave, faces France’s Kristina Mladenovic or Germany’s Tatjana Maria for a place in the last 16.
Wozniacki, plagued by an invasion of flying ants during the Court One clash, saved five match points but has now failed to get past the last 16 in 12 visits to the All England Club.
It was a bitter defeat for the 27-year-old Dane, who was expected to challenge for the Wimbledon title after winning her maiden Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open in January.
With flying ants stuck in Wozniacki’s hair and dive-bombing her throughout the match, the former world number one asked the umpire if there was something that could be sprayed to keep the bugs away.
“They’re in my mouth and in my hair and everywhere — we need to do something. Is there a spray?” she said.
“I want to be here to focus on tennis, not eating bugs.”
Five-time champion Venus Williams battled into the third round with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 win over Romanian qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru.
Venus reached her ninth Wimbledon final last year, but the American star was denied a sixth title by Garbine Muguruza. Making her 21st Wimbledon appearance, 38-year-old Venus is the oldest woman in this year’s tournament.
But she didn’t look her age in making it 89 career match wins at Wimbledon by demolishing Dulgheru in the final two sets.
Asked if her wealth of Wimbledon experience was a key factor, Venus said: “I’d love to have that extra advantage. If that’s working for me I’m all for it.
“It’s just about winning the match. If that’s your best or not doesn’t matter.”
Venus next faces Dutch 20th seed Kiki Bertens, who beat Russian world number 107 Anna Blinkova 6-4, 6-0.
Former world number one Karolina Pliskova finally made it to the third round on her seventh visit to Wimbledon after seeing off two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-3.
Former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska lost 7-5, 6-4 to Czech world number 66 Lucie Safarova.