World No.1 Ash Barty has overcome a below-par display to advance to the third round at Wimbledon after a tough straight-sets win over Russian Anna Blinkova on Thursday.
Barty endured “double trouble” with her serves and struggled with her rhythm but still manage to prevail in the 6-4 6-3 victory on Centre Court.
Anything but convincing, Barty still ultimately had far too much game for her 22-year-old opponent, beating the world No.89 in an hour and a half.
Barty, 25, served nine double faults en route to set up a third-round match against Czech Katerina Siniakova.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 1, 2021
Barty had finished her emotional opening-round match against cancer survivor Carla Suarez Navarro with a flourish on a covered Centre Court, and was expected to shine in the open air.
But the Queenslander, who is aiming to emulate the feat of her hero Evonne Goolagong Cawley on the 50th anniversary of her win, struggled to find any rhythm with her groundstrokes in the opening set and delivered three double faults in her opening service game.
There were moments of familiar brilliance, including a couple of exquisite drop shot winners. But her slice was hit and miss and contributed to her serve being broken twice.
She eventually earned a key third break in the ninth game before serving out to love, clenching her fist when she sealed the stanza.
Barty then raced into a 2-0 lead in the second set but again started double-faulting, allowing Blinkova to fight back.
Even when Barty broke crucially for a 4-3 lead in the second set, she then had to repel four break points in the next game from an opponent who never looked overawed.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 1, 2021
In another day of upsets, third seed Elina Svitolina was toppled in straight sets by Magda Linette – further opening up the draw for the Australian.
Six of the top 10 seeds have already departed in the women’s draw, meaning eight of the top 11 women in the WTA rankings are out as Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka did not enter.
Sofia Kenin (No.4) and Bianca Andreescu (No.5) were knocked out on Wednesday while sixth seed Serena Williams – a seven-time Wimbledon champion – had to retire from her first round match after slipping and injuring her leg the previous day.
Ninth seed Belinda Bencic and No.10 Petra Kvitova – a two-time Wimbledon champion – lost in round one.
James Duckworth eyes big payday
Battling James Duckworth is set for the biggest payday of his 12-year professional tennis career after winning through to the third round.
The Australian, 29, showed superb form to beat former All England Club semi-finalist Sam Querrey 7-5 6-7 (7-4) 6-3 6-2.
It’s the first time the world No.91 has been past the second round at a grand slam tournament, and he’ll collect at least $212,000 in prize money.
Duckworth adopted a clever strategy against the big-serving American, keeping him on his toes with plenty of well-placed slice and drop shots.
It resulted in five breaks of serve for Duckworth.
The loss of a second set tiebreak did little to quash his momentum as he raced through the third and then logged two breaks in the fourth to seal the result.
He’ll play the winner of the Lorenzo Sonego-Daniel Galan match for a spot in the last 16.
Garin ends Marc Polmans’ streak, Bolt exits
Australian Marc Polmans’ four-match Wimbledon run has come to an end at the hands of rising Chilean Cristian Garin.
Relative inexperience on grass failed to prove a big enough obstacle for world No.20 Garin, who took out their second-round encounter 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7-5).
Compatriot Alex Bolt couldn’t manage quite as tight a contest, going down to local hope Cameron Norrie in straight sets 6-3 6-1 6-2.
Polmans, who’d battled through three rounds of qualifying including a five-setter that went to 11-9 in the fifth, had been aiming for a first tilt at a grand slam third round.
But the world No.154 couldn’t quite match it with the former French Open junior champion and five-time title winner on the ATP Tour.
Bolt found it much tougher going against the in-form 29th seed Norrie, going down to the Briton in just an hour and 35 minutes.