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Rediff.com  » Sports » Serena will be top contender at Wimbledon: Chris Evert

Serena will be top contender at Wimbledon: Chris Evert

Last updated on: June 30, 2018 17:57 IST

Serena Williams

IMAGE: Serena Williams. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Legendary Chris Evert says since grass is the best surface for Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion will be a top contender for the title at the Wimbledon championships.

“Serena, listen it's her best surface. It's the surface that her game is suited for, with the power (and) the big serves. It's going to be easier for her on the grass than it was on the clay, where she had to really grind it out,” Evert, a ‘Commentator with ESPN' told reporters from the United States on Friday.

 

Serena, who had to retire in the pre-quarters of the French Open will be eyeing her eighth Wimbledon title when she opens her campaign on Monday.

Evert, who won 18 singles Grand Slams, including three Wimbledon titles, stressed that the American tennis star can never be counted out of the equation.

“She has embraced motherhood to the maximum. This is Serena and she does the unimaginable, the unpredictable. You can never count her out. If she's healthy, which she obviously wasn't at the French (Open), and if she's focused, she could play her way into this.

“I was looking at her first couple of rounds, they are okay. Then she gets (Elina) Svitolina in the third round. She needs matches, win a couple of rounds, get confident, get that serve going, get that movement going. Nothing is for sure,” Evert said.

Evert also believes that Czech Petra Kvitova will be dangerous on grass and has to be considered as the one of the top two-three favorites.

"She's always going to be dangerous on grass. She's won Wimbledon twice. She has the serve to get you off the court. She's fitter in her career than she has ever been. She has to be considered one of the top two-three favourites, if not the favourite to win,” said Evert.

Evert also admitted that playing on grass was a challenging task for her during her playing days.

"Oh Wimbledon, I feel everyone seems to think that my greatest achievement happened on clay a the French (Open), winning seven times. But I feel like grass is (was) such a challenge for my game, my style. Those three wins (at Wimbledon) meant me more than anything," she signed off.

Wozniacki battles past Kerber into Eastbourne final

World number two Caroline Wozniacki saved a match point before recovering to earn a 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 victory over German Angelique Kerber in a thrilling semi-final at the pre-Wimbledon Eastbourne championships on Friday.

The Danish top seed will face Aryna Sabalenka in the final on Saturday after the 20-year-old from Belarus continued her giant-slaying spree to beat former champion Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3 1-6 6-3 in the other semi.

Australian Open winner Wozniacki was pushed to her limits by twice grand slam champion Kerber, conceding the first set with little resistance.

Kerber continued her dominance in the second and almost sealed victory before Wozniacki regained her composure to force a tiebreak and clinch the set.

Wozniacki held her nerve in the third set and despite hitting 34 winners to Kerber's 42 in the match, the Dane came out on top to reach her second consecutive Eastbourne final. She lost to Karolina Pliskova last year.

"That was very tough," Wozniacki said.

"I always have tough matches against Angie, and I knew it wasn't going to be an easy one today."

Sabalenka, who stunned Pliskova in the quarter-finals, took control of her match from the opening set with her aggressive play and the Belarusian racked up 25 winners.

Radwanska won six games in a row in the second set as she mounted a comeback and Sabalenka made 17 unforced errors.

Sabalenka trailed 3-2 in the decider but worked her way back into the match, breaking Radwanska's serve twice to set up match point and finishing her opponent off with a forehand winner.

"I remember one situation with Wozniacki, she was running and put all the balls in, it was the longest point I've ever seen. It will be interesting," Sabalenka said.

In the men's draw, Mischa Zverev ended Mikhail Kukushkin's dream run, in which the Kazakhstani beat Kyle Edmund and David Ferrer, as the German sealed a 7-6(9), 6-4 win over the 30-year-old.

Zverev will face Lukas Lacko in the final after the Slovakian recorded a 6-3, 6-4 win over Marco Cecchinato, of Italy, in the other semi-final.

Both Lacko, who last reached an ATP Tour level final in 2012, and Zverev, a runner-up in Geneva last year, will be competing for their first tour-level title on Saturday.

Dolgopolov joins Wimbledon withdrawal list

Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov became the latest player to withdraw from Wimbledon on Saturday, citing a wrist injury.

Dolgopolov, who also retired during last year's tournament, joins a list that includes Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky, who also pulled out on Saturday, and Chung Hyeon, of South Korea and Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut, who did so on Friday.

Dolgopolov was at the centre of controversy last year when he lasted only nine games against Roger Federer in the first round before retiring hurt.

On the same day, also on Centre Court, Martin Klizan pulled out after eight games against Novak Djokovic.

The spate of retirements forced a rule change which means players who withdraw in the first round with a pre-existing injury risk losing all of their prize money, which for first-round losers this year is 39,000 pounds ($51,515.10).

However, a player who withdraws after the draw is made but before their match, can collect 50 percent of their first-round losers' fee.

Bacsinszky also withdrew from the women's singles on Saturday with a right lower-leg injury.

Dolgopolov was replaced by "lucky loser" Simone Bolelli, while Bacsinszky was replaced by Mariana Duque-Marino, of Colombia.

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