Indyplus updates: Wimbledon 2013 - Day 3

 

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Today's top players include Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Agnieszka Radwanska, David Ferrer and Laura Robson.

Read below latest updates and match reports...

Novak Djokovic eases into third round with 7-6 6-3 6-1 victory over Bobby Reynolds.

World No 1 continues his good form with victory over American as he avoids the same fate that met rival Roger Federer

Bobby Reynolds plays most of his tennis on the twilight world of the Challenger circuit but like the rest of the journeymen competitors at Wimbledon this year he will have looked at the giantklling heroics of Steve Darcis and Sergiy Stakhovsky, the slayers of Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer, and thought, 'if they can do that, I can.'

So Reynolds, the 30-year-old American with the name, look and demeanour of a 1950s B movie actor, went into last night's second round match against Novak Djokovic on Centre Court bristling with ambition. He may never have passed the third round of a Grand Slam but this would be his night. For 12 games, initially under a moody sky, then under the floodlit roof, he matched the defending champion shot for shot. Then the world No.1 upped his game, took the tie-break, and, after a brief wobble early in the second set, romped away to a 7-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory.

In that opening set Reynolds survived an 10-minute third service game despite double-faulting at a crucial stage, and deuces when serving to stay in the set at 5-6, but the tie-break was brutal. Djokovic stormed to a 5-0 lead before taking it 7-2. Djokovic sought to drive home the advantage pressuring the opening service game of the second set but several break points went begging as Reynolds hung in and finally held serve. He even threatened to break the world No.1 but put over-hit a smash into open court at 0-30. Djokovic held, broke, and held to love. Suddenly the prospect of joining Darcis and Stakhovsky in lights looked a distant one. When Djokovic took the second of three set points to break again it was near-inconceivable, even in this week of shocks.

Reynolds continue to play some fine shots, but his inconsistency betrayed a ranking of 156. Djokovic wrapped up the match in just under two hours with a neat stop volley.

“It is strange so many top players have lost this week, but it is a Grand Slam and all the lower-ranked players have extra motivation to come out and play on the big stage so I needed to be extra careful. With the roof closed the conditions were slower and I needed to adjust, but it was a nice match and I'm looking forward to the next one.” That will be against Jeremy Chardy, of France, or Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff, whose match was suspended due to rain with the score one-set all.

Agnieszka Radwanska through with crushing victory

Polish fourth seed dropped just four games as she defeated Mathilde Johansson on Centre Court

Agnieszka Radwanska earned her second crushing win of the week to reach the third round at Wimbledon as she impressed on Centre Court.

The Polish fourth seed reached her first grand slam final in London last year and looks in the mood to get through to another, however to do so she may have to beat Serena Williams, her conqueror 12 months ago, in the semi-finals.

Radwanska dropped just two games in her opener against Yvonne Meusburger and was almost as frugal today in giving away little to France's Mathilde Johansson before wrapping up a 6-1 6-3 win.

With victory for Radwanska in sight, the players had to leave the court when rain began to fall.

The Centre Court roof was closed to allow for a swift resumption and Radwanska remained focused to close out a solid early-round victory.

Next for her is a stiff test against the American 18-year-old Madison Keys, a player strongly tipped to join her in the top 10 before long.

Keys saw off 30th seed Mona Barthel today, after beating Britain's Heather Watson in her opener, and represents a threat to Radwanska.

Asked about Keys, Radwanska said: "I've never played her before so I think it's going to be another good challenge and we'll see."

Another straight-sets win was satisfying for the 24-year-old, who said: "It was a very good match with a lot of long, tight games.

"She fought to the end and I had to play my best tennis until the end of the match.

"It was always going to be difficult to go on and off the court but at Wimbledon you get used to it so I was prepared for that."

Defending champion Serena Williams through to third round

No1 seed defeats Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-2 to ensure she doesn't join the list of second round slip-ups

Rafa and The Fed may have fallen but Serena Williams' march towards another Wimbledon title continued imperiously yesterday as he brushed aside Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round. There the No.1 seed will face Kimiko Date-Krumm, the 42-year-old Japanese who beat Romania's Alexandra Cadantu earlier in the day.

“Kimiko is incredibly inspiring,” said Williams after her win. “She is so fit and does so well. I don't know how she does it. I've never played her but I watched her when I was super young and growing up.”

The 100-ranked Garcia failed to qualify for Edgbaston earlier this month, leaving Birmingham with $500 prize money to set against her expenses, but reached Wimbledon through that route. If she was overawed it did not show as she matched the world No.1 for the opening four games. She was then broken, however, and with Williams serving accurately and powerfully a break-back always looked beyond the French teenager. Garcia saved a trio of set points at 3-5 down, but hit a forehand smash into the net on the fourth with the court open. That gave the defending champion the first set in 30 minutes.

The break in the second set again came on Garcia's third service match, Williams seizing upon a weak second serve to lash a drive past her opponent. Prior to that Garcia had frequently gone overlong as she sought to pin Williams back for fear a short return would be pounced upon and bludgeoned past her. Williams followed up her break with a near-perfect service game. One return at the net had Garcia holding her arms aloft as if to say 'what can I do?'. The next two points were won with two shots that showcased Williams' range: a 123mph ace, then a delicate drop shot. Williams broke again to close out the set and the match in 67 minutes.

“Caroline is a really good player, incredibly promising, so it was good to get through,” said Williams. “I live and die for every match at Wimbledon, I have so much fun here.”

Meanwhile, Bernard Tomic progressed to the third round with a straight sets win over James Blake, despite the continued absence of his father and coach John.

Australian Tomic beat James Blake 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 on Court 18.

The 20-year-old has urged Wimbledon and the ATP to lift the ban on his father, who faces an assault charge for allegedly headbutting his son's former training partner.

John Tomic has denied attacking Thomas Drouet but Tomic senior has been banned from attending tournaments as his son's coach, while Wimbledon have prevented him from buying a ticket to watch.

Tomic will play ninth seed Richard Gasquet or Go Soeda in the next round.

Juan Martin del Potro going quietly about his business as he progresses to third round

Former US Open champion records his second straight-sets victory of the week defeating Jesse Levine 6-2, 7-6, 6-3

Juan Martin del Potro was not on the list of most pundits’ favourites to win the title here on Sunday week, but the 24-year-old Argentinian is progressing just nicely. A 6-2, 7-6, 6-3 second-round victory over Canada’s Jesse Levine on Centre Court was his second successive straight-sets win and provided a reminder that he is enjoying his grass-court tennis more and more with each visit to the All England Club.

Four years ago Del Potro came here as the world No 5 only to be brushed aside in straight sets by Lleyton Hewitt, a master of the surface. Since then the 2009 US Open champion has learned much about playing on grass. He reached the fourth round here in his two subsequent visits, losing to Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, and played better than ever at last summer’s Olympics.

Del Potro’s defeat in the semi-finals to Roger Federer was the longest match in Olympic history – the Swiss won the final set 19-17 after four hours and 26 minutes – yet the Argentinian still managed to summon up the energy to beat Novak Djokovic in the subsequent bronze medal match.

Having disposed of Albert Ramos in the first round here on Tuesday, Del Potro made short work of Levine, who is the world No 112 but no novice on grass. The 25-year-old Canadian left-hander recorded the best win of his career on these courts four years ago when he beat Marat Safin in the first round and went on to reach the last 32, which remains his best performance at a Grand Slam event.

Del Potro won the first set with something to spare, but Levine, going for his shots, pushed him hard in the second before the Argentinian won the tie-break 9-7. Levine, who at 5ft 9in is 9in shorter than the strapping Del Potro, worked hard to stay in contention in the third set, but a single break of serve was enough to see the world No 8 home. Del Potro rounded off the victory in appropriate style after an hour and 59 minutes with an ace.

“Jesse’s a good fighter,” Del Potro said afterwards. “I thought I was lucky to survive in the second set, but at the end of the match I had more confidence in my forehand and served well.”

All-England Tennis Club fights backs over dangerous court claims

Head groundsman Neil Stubley has claimed the courts are '100%' after leading names criticise the grass surfaces

Wimbledon's head groundsman today hit back at Maria Sharapova’s claim that the courts are ‘dangerous’ by claiming that they are the best in the world and “100 per cent safe”.

Players will pay particular attention today to the surface after a dramatic day yesterday in which seven players either retired hurt or gave walkovers to their opponents.

Although Sharapova refused to use the three occasions on which she slipped over as an excuse for her defeat to Michelle Larcher De Brito in her post-match press conference, she was heard on Court Two saying “this court is dangerous” to the umpire.

But groundsman Neil Stubley, who prepared the courts for use in last year’s London Olympics but is in charge of the grounds at the Championships for the first time, said: “The courts are 100 per cent safe.

“We know the surfaces we are producing are 100 per cent. They were fine on Monday. Lleyton Hewitt played on Court Two on Monday and said it was fine which is the same court Maria was on.

“And [Murray] was in the press yesterday saying he had played on Centre and Court One and that they both felt really well. We will take the positives from the players as well. We are still fully confident coming in that we are producing the best tennis courts in the world and we will continue to do that for the rest of the Championships.

“We have prepared our grass courts the same as we have in past Championships. The grass is the same, the height of cut is the same and the firmness is the same.”

Stubley rejected the idea suggested by Larcher De Brito that there is more loose grass on the surface causing players to fall and insisted his team will not alter their methods for the rest of the tournament.

He added: “During the course of the day, the grass will wear out and there will be loose grass on the surface but it is no different to any other year.

“To say there are more loose grass cuttings on the surface [isn’t true] as we haven’t noticed that. There is nothing untoward. There is no extra wearing out of the courts and the firmness is where it should be.

“We did the prep work on the court this morning and we have not seen anything different. We expect the courts to play to their full potential as they have every other year.”

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