Tennis

British babes battle on at Wimbledon

Konta reaches third round of Wimbledon women's singles tournament for the first time

Johanna Konta and Heather Watson continued to fly the British flag high in the Wimbledon women's singles competition yesterday by reaching the third round.

Konta, the sixth seed, overcame Croatia's Donna Vekic 7-6(7/4), 4-6, 10-8 in a match which stretched over three hours, while wild card Watson made a strong statement of intent by beating 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-0, 6-4.

This will be Konta's first appearance in the Wimbledon women's singles third round, where she will meet Greece's Maria Sakkari.

Watson, who had reached the third round twice, will face two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Victoria Azarenka, who is bidding to become the first mother to win Wimbledon in 37 years.

Azarenka defeated Russian 15th seed Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-3 yesterday in her first Grand Slam since taking a year off to have her first child in December.

In just her second tournament following son Leo's birth, the 27-year-old Belarusian hopes to become the first mother to lift the Wimbledon women's singles trophy since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.

Only Goolagong, Margaret Court and Kim Clijsters have won a Grand Slam singles title after giving birth.

Having been made to wait all day to play her first-round match against CiCi Bellis on Monday, Azarenka had complained that the scheduling wasn't helpful for a new mum.

All England Club officials heeded her advice and Azarenka was given the opening match on Court Three.

The guys do have that luxury of having nurseries... at every event and it’s time for women to have the same benefit. Victoria Azarenka, asking the women’s tour to support players with kids

Vesnina reached the Wimbledon semi-finals last year, but Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, extended her winning streak against the Russian to eight matches with a powerful performance.

In the men's competition, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga eased into the third round by beating Italy's Simone Bolelli 6-1, 7-5, 6-2.

Kei Nishikori also advanced after defeating Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-7(7/9), 6-1, 7-6(8/6). - WIRE SERVICES


WHAT'S GONE

Men's singles 2nd rd

  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (x12) bt Simone Bolelli 6-1, 7-5, 6-2
  • Kei Nishikori (x9) bt Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-7(7/9), 6-1, 7-6(8/6)

Women's singles 2nd rd

  • Dominika Cibulkova (x8) bt Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-4
  • Victoria Azarenka bt Elena Vesnina (x15) 6-3, 6-3
  • Heather Watson bt Anastasija Sevastova (x18) 6-0, 6-4
  • Johanna Konta (x6) bt Donna Vekic 7-6(7/4), 4-6, 10-8
  • Naomi Osaka bt Barbora Strycova (x22) 6-1, 0-6, 6-4.
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