Barty moves into third round as Federer seeks better show - GulfToday

Barty moves into third round as Federer seeks better show

Ashleigh Barty

Ashleigh Barty plays a return shot to Anna Blinkova during their Wimbledon match on Thursday. Agence France-Presse

Ashleigh Barty’s bid to win the Wimbledon singles title on the 50th anniversary of fellow indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s first victory stayed on course on Thursday.

However, Barty produced a far from perfect performance in her 6-4, 6-3 win over Russia’s Anna Blinkova as she progressed to a third round meeting with Czech Katerina Siniakova.

“She pushed me incredibly hard,” said Barty.

“A few points here and there it could have been a different story.” Barty is seeded to meet this year’s French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in the last 16.

Krejcikova brushed aside second round opponent German veteran Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 6-4.

Barty is popular on Centre Court but nothing compared to Coco Gauff due to her exploits aged 15 in 2019 reaching the Last 16 as a qualifier.

‘Coco Mania’ has not diminished on Centre Court despite a two-year hiatus and the 17-year-old did not let the crowd down with a 6-4, 6-3 win over former semi-finalist Elena Vesnina.

“It feels like I have changed and grown a lot,” said Gauff.

“Two years ago not many people knew my name at least before I beat Venus and now it (Wimbledon) feels more like home.” Two fewer seeds will be standing in Barty’s way as she looks to add the senior singles title to her 2011 junior Wimbledon win.

Third seed Elina Svitolina, a Wimbledon semi-finalist two years ago, said she needs a rest after losing 6-3, 6-4 to Poland’s Magda Linette.

“I think mentally today I was not really in a good place,” said Svitolina.

French Open sem-finalist Maria Sakkari, the 15th-seeded Greek, lost to Shelby Rogers of the United States 7-5, 6-4.

Roger Federer, like Barty, was far from his best in his first round match. The 39-year-old eight-time champion will play a familiar face, fellow veteran Richard Gasquet who the Swiss legend beat in the 2007 semi-finals.

Gasquet, 35, is not the force of old but Federer too has looked shaky since returning after two knee operations in the past year.

The 39-year-old had problems against Adrian Mannarino in the first round.

They were tied at two sets all when the Frenchman had to retire with a knee injury suffered in a fall towards the end of the fourth set.

Federer, who arrived on the back of a surprise second round exit at the tournament he has made his own Halle, which he has won 10 times, put a rusty performance down to it being the first round.

“I think it’s more just about first-round tennis, especially here at Wimbledon,” he said.

“If you see what happened to him (Mannarino fell) and you know how difficult and complicated it can be to move sometimes.

“I take it as a regular first round, which there’s always pressure there, in my opinion.” Cameron Norrie awaits the winner of the Federer and Gasquet clash after the fast-improving Briton swept aside Australian wildcard Alex Bolt 6-3, 6-1, 6-2.

Norrie joins fellow Britons Dan Evans and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in the third round.

It is the first time three British men have reached the third round since 1999, when Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and Danny Sapsford reached the last 32.

“Come on Gasquet,” joked Norrie.

“If there’s a time to play Roger, now’s the time I guess, but he’s still a decent player.” Norrie was followed onto Court One by men’s second seed Daniil Medvedev and the Russian made short work of 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, the youngest player in the men’s draw.

Medvedev showed the confidence he had gained in winning his first grass court tournament last Saturday in Mallorca.

The 25-year-old has never been beyond the third round and to break that mark he will have to beat the winner of the match between 2017 finalist Marin Cilic of Croatia and French qualifier Benjamin Bonzi.

Alexander Zverev, like Medvedev, has yet to flourish at Wimbledon but the German wasted little time in progressing to the third round dismissing Tennys Sandgren, 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 in a match played in good hearted hunmour.

“I think I’ve said it before, I’m not in a position right now where I’m satisfied with just a quarter-final or a semi-final,” said Zverev.

“I am here to compete and at least give myself the best chance to do so (of winning Wimbledon).”

The fourth seed could face a closer examination of his skills on grass if big serving American Taylor Fritz beats compatriot Steve Johnson.


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