In a big momentum shift, the formidable Serena Williams withered out in her third-round match against world no. 24 Alize Cornet of France, after easily winning the first set on Saturday at Wimbledon. Then all of a sudden, the top seed began committing one unforced error after another, and the Frenchwoman took full advantage to turn the tables on her. In other matches, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep won against their opponents to enter the second week at the All England Club.
Serena Williams’s form now raises a question mark after her more than decade-long tennis dominance. She faltered at Melbourne in the fourth round and followed it up a second round loss at year’s second grand slam at Paris. Her third round loss at Wimbledon indicates a clear pattern. But Serena is not getting any younger and she abstained from tennis for long after her foot surgery. Regardless, the American is still heads and shoulders above the current breed of women stars in the circuit. Her predicament is comparable to the wretched time that Roger Federer had in 2013. The critics almost wrote off the legendary Swiss but since the beginning of 2014, Federer has played creditably to prove his detractors wrong. Similarly Serena could also bounce back to emphasize that she might be down now, but not out of action, just yet. Yesterday, however, she fell prey to Alize Cornet, who had already beaten Serena, earlier this year at Dubai. Serena and Cornet traded breaks of serve in the first two games of the first set, when it began raining. After a 4-hour long break, when the players came out, Serena reeled out five straight point to take the first set 6-1. Cornet was undeterred and raced away to a 5-0 lead in the second set to tilt the match on an even keel. Serena, then managed a break of serve to delay the Frenchwoman but Cornet went through at 6-3. In the third set, Serena began struggling straightaway, saving three break points in the game that had six deuces. Having read Serena’s loss of hold in the match, Cornet dictated the former champion in the final set with delectable drop shots and accurately placed volleys. Serena’s unforced errors mounted to 29, allowing Cornet to clinch service breaks in the fifth and seventh games as the set drew to close. Though Serena affected a break-back in the eighth game, Cornet was unstoppable as she finished the match 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and send the 32-year old American out of Wimbledon.
Roger Federer continued with his superior grass court show in the tournament with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 walk-through in his third round match against Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo. Federer’s fourth round opponent will be Spaniard Tommy Robredo, who had a fully stretched out match with Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz. It was a big match in which Janowicz pulled off a big recovery after a two-set deficit. Robredo, however, showed his tenacity to finish the match 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(5), 4-6, 6-3.
No.2 seed Rafael Nadal began with dropping the opening set in his third consecutive match at Wimbledon this year. But the second seed brushed aside the blemish and came back strongly to overpower Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. Nadal’s fourth round encounter will be against a wild-card entrant, Nick Kyrgios of Australia. The 19-year old Kyrgios came through in his third round match against Czech Republic’s Jiri Vesely. The Australian dropped the first set but improved his game to win the match 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-2. In his second round match with Richard Gasquet, Kyrgios had saved an amazing 9 match points against, before final beating the Frenchman.
Maria Sharapova also continued with her strong showing in the tournament this year with her third-round 6-3, 6-0 victory over USA’s Alison Riske. The 27-year-old Russian will next take on Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in the fourth round. Sharapova allowed the Belgian to break her serve in the beginning of the first set and after the score reached 3-3, Sharapova reeled out 9 straight games to finish the match in style. Also through to the fourth round is women’s highest remaining seed, Simona Halep of Romania. Halep brushed aside the challenge from Switzerland’s 17-year old world no.71 Belinda Bencic with an easy 6-4, 6-1 victory.