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Serena continues her easy run

Defending champion continues her march towards a sixth Wimbledon title as Li Na and Sam Stosur also advance.

Last Modified: 27 Jun 2013 15:56
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The 31-year-old American beat the world number 100 to extend her unbeaten run to 33 matches [AFP]

Five-time champion Serena Williams avoided the kind of early upset that has sent many top players tumbling out of Wimbledon, beating Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2 on Thursday to reach the third round.

A day after Roger Federer headed the list of big names to go out in the second round, the top-ranked Williams never looked in danger against the 100th-ranked French qualifier.

Williams broke twice in each set to set up a match with Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm, who at 42 became the oldest woman to reach the third round at Wimbledon in the Open era.

Date-Krumm beat Alexandra Cadantu of Romania 6-4, 7-5 to reach the third round for the first time since 1996, when she went to the semi-finals.

Inspiration

"She's incredibly inspiring,'' the 31-year-old Williams said about Date-Krumm.

"She's so fit, she's done so well. I've never played her before. I watched her play when I was super young, growing up.''

Date-Krumm is the second-oldest woman to have won a match at Wimbledon after Martina Navratilova, who was 47 when she reached the second round in 2004. She took a 12-year break from tennis before returning in 2008.

"I don't know how she's able to do so well,'' Williams said.

Whether Williams can keep playing for another decade remains to be seen, but she certainly doesn't show any sign of slowing down in her 30s. The defending champion is looking for a sixth Wimbledon title, and saw her two main rivals - Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka - both eliminated on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old Garcia is seen as a potential future star in women's tennis, with a game especially suited for grass, but couldn't force a single break point against the American's strong serve on Court 1.

"She's incredibly promising, she does everything well,'' Williams said.

"Her serve is amazing, so I knew it would be a good match on the grass.''

After that wild Wednesday, which also saw seven players retiring or withdrawing with injuries, a feeling of normality returned to the All England Club.

Sixth-seeded Li Na of China did look in trouble for a while before overcoming a poor second set to beat Simona Halep of Romania 6-2, 1-6, 6-0.

Halep needed treatment on her lower back after the first set but still dominated the second, before Li, the former French Open champ, found her stride again in the third.

"Welcome to the crazy women's tennis tour,'' Li said.

Del Potro through

Juan Martin Del Potro celebrates his win [AFP]

Juan Martin del Potro moved into the third round with a 6-2, 7-6 (7), 6-3 victory over Jesse Levine of Canada.

Eighth-seeded Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, overcame a 3-0 deficit in the second-set tiebreaker to win, then took the third set in 31 minutes.

Del Potro, who didn't play the French Open because of a respiratory illness, is the only man left in the Wimbledon draw other than Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray with a Grand Slam tournament title to his name. He also won the Olympic bronze medal at the All England Club last summer.

Other seeds to win included No. 14 Samantha Stosur and No. 18 Dominika Cibulkova. Bernard Tomic of Australia, whose father and coach John Tomic has been barred from tournaments after allegedly assaulting his son's hitting partner, also advanced by beating American James Blake 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

There was one injury retirement; Michael Llodra of France had to quit after losing the first set 7-5 against 23rd-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy.

That was the eighth retirement or walkover of the second round in singles play, equalling the record for a single round at Wimbledon in the Open era.

The International Tennis Federation said eight players also quit in the first round in 2008.

The record for a Grand Slam tournament is nine players withdrawing or retiring from the first round at the 2011 US Open.

727

Source:
AP
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