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19th of July 2018

Sport



Wimbledon PIX: Wozniacki out; Pliskova, Venus advance to Round 3

IMAGES from the matches played on Day 3 of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on Wednesday

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki leaves the court after losing to Russia's Ekaterina Makarova

IMAGE: Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki leaves the court after losing to Russia's Ekaterina Makarova. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Caroline Wozniacki's honeymoon on grass was short-lived as she became the 11th women's seed to fall on the first three days at Wimbledon in a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 second-round defeat by Ekaterina Makarova on Wednesday.

The Danish second seed, who won the Eastbourne tournament last week, fought to the bitter end against the tenacious Russian, succumbing on the sixth match point after an absorbing match lasting two hours and nine minutes on Court One.

Makarova, three days short of her 30th birthday, broke early to take command of the first set. 

Wozniacki complained about a swarm of insects on court and asked for repellent spray which seemed to sting her into action as she won five games in a row before claiming the second set.

Makarova came back strongly, however, and looked poised for an easy victory when she led 5-1 in the third.

Ekaterina Makarova celebrates a point against Caroline Wozniacki

IMAGE: Ekaterina Makarova celebrates a point against Caroline Wozniacki. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Wozniacki produced her best tennis, though, to save three match points when 5-3 and 40-0 behind and saved another before breaking to level the set.

With both women playing fine tennis and moving each other all round the court, Makarova earned three more match points and converted the second.

"I am so happy I played my game. It doesn't matter what the score was, I couldn't win with a lot of match points, but I kept fighting and playing an aggressive game and finally it worked," Makarova said after her second victory in nine meetings with Wozniacki.

"I was really nervous... I was a little bit 'hurry up' because I thought I needed to be more aggressive, but I am so happy I got calm at 5-5 and did my work again.

"When it was 5-5 I started thinking about those match points on my serve at 40-0, but I told myself 'no, you are not going to lose this match'. I forgot it and started over."

Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova returns against Belarus' Victoria Azarenka during their second round match

IMAGE: Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova returns against Belarus' Victoria Azarenka during their second round match. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Seventh seed Karolina Pliskova won a battle of former world number ones as she beat Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round at Wimbledon for the first time on Wednesday. 

Big-serving Czech Pliskova reached the top of the rankings a year ago at Wimbledon despite losing in the second round -- the fifth year in succession she had lasted only two matches.

From the moment Azarenka dropped serve with a loose error in the third game, Pliskova always looked likely to break that sequence against the Belarussian who is still trying to rediscover her past form after returning from having a baby.

Azarenka tried to fire herself up when she resisted some pressure to hold serve at the start of the second set.

But Pliskova broke for a 5-3 lead and was then helped by two Azarenka double faults that brought groans from the sedate crowd who had been hoping for something more exciting.

"I think I was pretty solid today, I think I was really strong on my serve which was really important," the 26-year-old Pliskova said after walking off court.

"Very happy with my victory as it is the first time I am in the third round here. The last few years I was waiting for a good result and it still didn't come, maybe this year is the time; I am feeling great."

She will play Romanian 28th seed Mihaela Buzarnescu next.

Venus rolls over qualifier after slow start

American Venus Williams plays a shot during her second round match against Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru

IMAGE: American Venus Williams plays a shot during her second round match against Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Five-times Wimbledon champion Venus Williams dropped her opening service game and lost the first set before finding her rhythm to beat qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru 4-6 6-0 6-1 in the second round on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old American brought her experience to bear from the second set to seal a comfortable win in her first meeting with the Romanian.

"It's just credit to her, she played very well and took advantage, you have to at these championships," Venus said of Dulgheru's first-set performance.

"It's not easy to play someone you haven’t played, and I’m sure she’s seen me play a lot, so she was extremely competitive," she added.

Dulgheru, world number 141, came out fighting in the deciding set, won her serve and had two break points for the second game, only for Venus to save both and hold.

Asked about her improved performance from the second set and whether it confirmed her form as she seeks a second consecutive final and sixth title, she said: "It's just about winning a match, whether it's your best (tennis) or not doesn't matter."

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