Rafael Nadal was again pushed to four sets on Thursday, but maintained his quest for a calendar slam by beating Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-4 4-6 6-3 in the Wimbledon second round.
Novak Djokovic v Miomir Kecmanovic
Cameron Norrie v Steve Johnson
Heather Watson v Kaja Juvan
Irina-Camelia Begu v Jelena Ostapenko
The Spaniard has had it far from all his own way this year at Wimbledon, having also dropped a set against Francisco Cerundolo. However, despite Berankis’ determination and a 50-minute weather delay, Nadal came through and is 4/1 to win the title.
Stefanos Tsitsipas breezed past Jordan Thompson to set up a blockbuster third-round tie with another Australian, Nick Kyrgios (Match Result – Kyrgios 8/11, Tsitsipas 11/10).
Meanwhile, despite defeats for Jack Draper and Alastair Gray, the Brit challenge continues, with Liam Broady up next for Draper’s conqueror, Alex de Minaur (Match Result – De Minaur 1/7, Broady 9/2) following his victory over Diego Schwartzman.
Arguably the story of Thursday came from the Ladies’ draw where Katie Boulter came from a set down to beat Karolina Pliskova, before revealing in an emotional post-match on-court interview that her grandmother had died earlier this week.
She will next face Serena Williams’ nemesis Harmony Tan (Match Result – Tan 15/8, Boulter 2/5), who eased past Sara Sorribes Tormo on Thursday, while world number one Iga Swiatek extended her winning run to 37 matches.
The Pole was pushed hard by Lesley Pattinama-Kerkhove, but made it through in three sets and is 11/8 to win the tournament.
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After Nadal’s gutsy victory, Novak Djokovic will be hoping for a smoother afternoon, with him due on Centre Court around 15:30 on Friday.
The top seed and defending champion suffered a scare as he needed four sets to see off South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo first time out but had no such issues as he swept past Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round.
Fellow Serb Miormir Kecmanovic is Friday’s opponent and he’ll hope to draw on the pair’s most recent meeting. That came on clay in Belgrade, where Kecmanovic won the opening set, only to fall in three (Djokovic 10/3 to win 3-1).
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Cameron Norrie is back on court to face big-serving American Steve Johnson.
Johnson is into the third round courtesy of a win over Grigor Dimitrov, who was forced to retire, and a three-set victory over another Brit, Ryan Peniston.
This will be his first meeting with Norrie, but the home player is 81 places above Johnson in the rankings and is 13/5 to win in four sets.
In the Ladies’ draw, Heather Watson continues her push to reach the fourth round for the first time at SW19 against Slovenian Kaja Juvan (Match Result – Watson 13/8, Juvan 1/2).
They are expected on Court One at 13:00, but before that last week’s Eastbourne runner-up and SW19 2018 semi-finalist, Jelena Ostapenko, faces Irina-Camelia Begu on Court Three.
Both players are still to drop a set at this year’s tournament and despite being the unseeded of the pair, Begu leads their career head-to-head 2-0 (Match Result – Begu 11/4, Ostapenko 1/4).
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