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Rediff.com  » Sports » Wimbledon PIX: Nadal, Djokovic advance; Cilic, Wawrinka, Konta exit

Wimbledon PIX: Nadal, Djokovic advance; Cilic, Wawrinka, Konta exit

Last updated on: July 05, 2018 22:18 IST

IMAGES from the matches played on Day 4 of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on Thursday

Nadal passes tricky test against Kukushkin

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the second round match against Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the second round match against Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin. Photograph: Tony O'Brien/Reuters

The scoreboard said 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 to Rafael Nadal but it was an uneasy two-and-a-half hours for the Spanish world number one as he laboured past Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin into the Wimbledon third round on Thursday.

 

Two-time champion Nadal, 32, never quite got to grips with the unorthodox Kazakh's low, skidding shots and faced 13 break points in an entertaining Centre Court contest.

Had Kukushkin converted a few more of them it could have got really complicated for Nadal, who is still finding his grasscourt game after claiming an 11th French Open title.

 Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin returns a shot against Spain's Rafael Nadal

IMAGE: Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin returns a shot against Spain's Rafael Nadal. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Nadal took 10 minutes to hold his opening service game and was still being asked questions by the world number 77 in the third when he slipped 3-1 behind in the face of some inspired shot-making by his opponent.

The 17-times Grand Slam champion dug in though and managed to avoid being dragged further into the afternoon, claiming victory when Kukushkin's forehand smacked into the net tape.

Nadal will face Australian teenager Alex De Minaur next.

Djokovic makes a big statement in small arena

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his second round match against Argentina's Horacio Zeballos

IMAGE: Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his second round match against Argentina's Horacio Zeballos. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Novak Djokovic might have needed to get his sat-nav out to find his way to Court Two at Wimbledon but once he arrived it was all one way traffic as he reached the third round with a 6-1 6-2 6-3 win over Horacio Zeballos.

The last time Djokovic had to venture on to an outside court at the All England Club was in 2009, when he played a fourth-round match against Dudi Sela on Court 3.

Since then he has become accustomed to playing in the biggest arenas the sport has to offer while amassing a Grand Slam trophy haul of 12 - including three at Wimbledon - and collecting more than $100 million in prize money.

While the audience numbers were more limited on Court Two compared with his usual playing fields of Centre and Court One, Djokovic still made it a day to remember for the 4,000 fans who had crammed into the more intimate arena.

He coasted towards his 60th win at Wimbledon by breaking his 126th-ranked Argentine opponent six times and fired down 15 aces.

The only cause for concern was when Djokovic suddenly started wincing while running along the baseline in the seventh game of the third set and called on the trainer to get his left thigh massaged.

That interruption only delayed the inevitable for Zeballos, who lost both games after the resumption to bow out.

Twelve months after his 2017 season came to an abrupt end at Wimbledon, when Djokovic retired in the quarter-finals with an elbow injury, the Serb served notice that he should be considered as one of the title contenders despite being ranked only 21st in the world.

He has dropped only 12 games in two matches and appeared in top form on Thursday - until the sight of a trainer massaging his thigh raised a few question marks.

The 12th seed will next take on either home hope Kyle Edmund or American Bradley Klahn.

Halep belatedly finds her range to overcome Zheng

Simona Halep showed all the marks of a champion when she emerged unscathed from a first-set fright to reach the third round of Wimbledon with a 7-5, 6-0 win over China's Zheng Saisai on Thursday.

Halep's hopes of completing a French Open-Wimbledon double appeared to be in trouble when she fell 5-3 behind in the first set.

But the newest member of the grand slam winners' circle showed her new-found maturity to win the next 10 games on the trot and completely locked out Zheng from the contest.

The Romanian world number one will next face Hsieh Su-wei from Taiwan.

Konta destroyed by Cibulkova on Centre Court

Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova celebrates winning the second round match against Britain's Johanna Konta

IMAGE: Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova celebrates winning the second round match against Britain's Johanna Konta. Photograph: Tony O'Brien/Reuters

Britain's Johanna Konta joined the exodus of women's seeds at Wimbledon on Thursday, beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Dominica Cibulkova, a player with a point to prove.

Konta became the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals since 1978 last year, losing to Venus Williams, but her hopes of repeating that thrilling run were crushed by an inspired Slovakian on a subdued Centre Court.

Cibulkova missed out on the 32nd seeding when Wimbledon's seedings committee bumped seven-times champion Serena Williams up the order and she played with a fierce intent throughout.

Konta, seeded 22, could do nothing to stem the tide of winners as Cibulkova stormed ahead.

She showed real guts to save four match points at 3-5 in the second set as the crowd rallied to the cause.

But Cibulkova showed no nerves as she served for victory, going 40-0 up and finishing off the Briton with a powerful first serve that Konta could only fend into the net.

"It feels great, it was a tough draw today and I could not be more happy with my performance," Cibulkova, twice a quarter-finalist, said. "I don't really think about the seeding now, I'll just focus on my tennis."

Cibulkova will play Elise Mertens for a last 16 spot.

Third seed Cilic knocked out

Croatia's Marin Cilic in action during his second round match against Argentina's Guido Pella

IMAGE: Croatia's Marin Cilic in action during his second round match against Argentina's Guido Pella. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Wimbledon 2017 runner-up Marin Cilic, a favourite to go far in the tournament again this year, suffered a shock 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-5 defeat by Argentine Guido Pella in the second round on Thursday.

The Croatian third seed began the day two sets up but 4-3 down on Pella's serve in the third, following Wednesday evening's halt for rain and found his opponent very much up for the fight.

Pella wrapped up the third set comfortably, then shaded an exciting fourth set that included two breaks of serve for each player with Pella taking command in the tiebreak to clinch it 7-3.

The deciding set went with serve until Pella clinched it on his fourth match point after Cilic had already saved two in the 10th game and another when 30-40 down.

Isner saves match points to reach third round

USA's John Isner in action during the second round match against Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans

IMAGE: USA's John Isner in action during the second round match against Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

John Isner almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory but survived to beat Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelman in a delayed second-round match at Wimbledon on Thursday.

The American ninth seed eventually won 6-1, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-7(6), 7-5 but he came desperately close to another Wimbledon failure.

On Wednesday, he led two sets to love and held a match point in the third set but the 105th-ranked Bemelmans stormed back to win two tiebreaks and level the match before rain intervened.

On the resumption Bemelmans came close to a big shock when Isner served at 4-5 and trailed 15-40 but he saved both match points with booming aces, two of the 64 he sent down -- the fourth highest total ever at Wimbledon.

Bemelmans tightened up at 4-5 and double-faulted on the way to being broken and Isner wrapped up victory, despite facing a break point, in the following game as he forced an error.

Isner now has the chance to record his best Wimbledon performance, having never been past the third round.

To achieve that he will have to get past Moldovan Radu Albot who beat Slovenian Aljaz Bedene in five sets.

Gavrilova knocks out Stosur

Daria Gavrilova eased past Australian compatriot Samantha Stosur 6-4, 6-1 in 81 minutes to reach the third round at a major for just the fourth time in her career.

Victory also meant that 26th seed Gavrilova improved her career head-to-head record against 34-year-old Stosur to 3-3 after their fourth meeting of the season.

In another match, Japan's Naomi Osaka, seeded 18th, hit 24 winners and converted three out of four break points to power past local hope Katie Boulter 6-3, 6-4 and reach the third round.

Wawrinka bows out in second round to Fabbiano

Thomas Fabbiano

IMAGE: 29-year-old qualifier Thomas Fabbiano completed the biggest victory of his career. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Stan Wawrinka's poor run at recent Grand Slams continued on Thursday when the Swiss lost 7-6(7), 6-3, 7-6(6) in the Wimbledon second round against Italian journeyman Thomas Fabbiano.

Wawrinka, winner of three Grand Slam tournaments, trailed by two sets overnight but was 6-5 ahead in the third when play resumed in muggy conditions.

He then had two set points in the tiebreak but could not convert either, spraying one backhand well wide, and the 29-year-old qualifier Fabbiano completed the biggest victory of his career.

Stan Wawrinka

IMAGE: Stan Wawrinka has tumbled down the rankings from three to his current 224. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Since reaching least year's French Open final Wawrinka has tumbled down the rankings from three to his current 224, mainly as a consequence of the knee surgery he required last year.

He lost in the first round of the French Open this year, the second round in Australia and at last year's Wimbledon he was knocked out in round one. He did not play the US Open.

Fabbiano, ranked 133rd, goes on to play either American Jared Donaldson or Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round -- the furthest he has ever been in a Grand Slam.

Ex-cricketer Barty knocks out Bouchard

Ashleigh Barty

IMAGE: Australian Ashleigh Barty took a two-year break from tennis in 2014 for a stint in professional cricket. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Eugenie Bouchard's hopes of emulating her 2014 run to the final were hit for six by former professional cricket player Ashleigh Barty in the second round of Wimbledon on Thursday.

The Canadian, whose ranking has fallen to 188th from a career-high five in 2014, had to contest three qualifying matches just to make into the main draw at the All England Club.

The effort of winning four matches over the past week to get into round two appeared to have taken its toll on Bouchard as she could do little to stop 17th seed Barty storming back from 5-2 down in the second set to seal a 6-4, 7-5 victory.

Bouchard even had a set point at 5-3 up on Barty's serve but the Australian, who took a two-year break from tennis in 2014 for a stint in professional cricket, wriggled out of that corner and won five games in a row to finish off her 24-year-old opponent.

The win carried Barty into the third round here for the first time. She will next face either 14th seed Daria Kasatkina or Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva.

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