Ons Jabeur was kept on court for more than hour - but only just - as the speedy Tunisian dispatched former junior number one Diane Parry 6-2, 6-3 on Friday to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.

The world number two has shown little mercy during her progress to the third round, spending less than two hours on court. Had she not been broken by Parry when serving for the first set at 5-0 up, she would have made it into the last 16 in less than three hours on court during the first five days of the grasscourt major.

That break not only earned 19-year-old Parry, one of four Frenchwomen to reach the third round, a rousing ovation from the Centre Court crowd but boosted her confidence as she raised her game to hit some sublime one-handed backhand winners.

 

Although the teenager could not rescue the first set, which Jabeur sealed with an ace, she stayed toe-to-toe with the third seed in the second set until 3-3.

It was at this point Jabeur moved in to deliver the knockout punch as she broke Parry to love and moments later she was celebrating her passage into the fourth round -- having been kept on court for 68 minutes.

She will next meet either 2018 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber or Belgian 24th seed Elise Mertens.

Briton Watson makes fourth round of a Grand Slam at 43rd attempt

Britain's Heather Watson reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in 43 attempts over 12 years as she beat Slovenia's Kaja Juvan 7-6(6), 6-2 in front of a barely believing crowd on Wimbledon Court one.

Wimbledon 2022: Van Rijthoven, Tiafoe reach fourth round  

Watson, 30, has slipped to 121st in the world rankings and fourth in Britain and although she has tasted notable success in doubles, she has never been able to sustain a challenge in singles at the top level, her best Wimbledon performances being reaching the third round three times.

Heather-Watson

Great Britain's Heather Watson celebrates winning against Slovenia's Kaja Juvan during their third-round match at Wimbledon in London on Friday.

 

She came through an awkward first set full of slices and drop shots against 21-year-old Juvan and did not let her head drop after blowing three set points in the tiebreak before taking it 8-6 on a double fault by the 60th-ranked Slovenian.

Energised, Watson blasted to a 5-0 lead in the second set, adding power and confidence to her groundstrokes, and though Juvan launched a late rally, Watson prevailed to cap a week to remember in which she has been on court five days in a row after her first two matches ran into second days.

Maria stuns fifth seed Sakkari to reach first major fourth round

Germany's Tatjana Maria, at 34 the oldest player left in the women's draw, knocked fifth seed Maria Sakkari out of Wimbledon 6-3 7-5 on Friday to make the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.

Ranked 103rd, the mother of two returned from maternity leave just under a year ago and rallied from 3-0 down in the deciding set to defeat Sorana Cirstea in her previous round for a first win over a top-50 player in more than two years.

READ: Gauff unleashes power serve to down second-round foe Buzarnescu  

Maria will next face 12th-seeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, for a place in the quarter-finals of the grasscourt major.

Greek Sakkari, who reached the French and U.S. Open semifinals last year, made 30 unforced errors and could only convert one of her seven breakpoint opportunities.

Mertens beats former Wimbledon champion Kerber to reach last 16

Belgian Elise Mertens stayed solid against an error-prone Angelique Kerber of Germany to defeat the former Wimbledon champion 6-4 7-5 on Friday and reach the fourth round.

Mertens achieved her best showing at the grasscourt Grand Slam in 2019 when she reached the round of 16 and came into Friday's contest having defeated the three-times major winner in their only previous meeting three years ago.

The 26-year-old Belgian, who reached a career-high ranking of 12th in 2018, had to save two match points against Panna Udvardy in a second-round match that lasted three hours and 15 minutes and stretched over two days.

Her third-round clash was much more comfortable.

Mertens broke the left-handed Kerber's delivery in the fourth game and served for the opening set at 5-3, only for Kerber to break back.

But the Belgian did not lose her composure and broke the 2018 Wimbledon champion to love.

Appearing in her 51st consecutive major, the 34-year-old Kerber seemed to have got the momentum back when she cracked Mertens' delivery and took a 5-3 lead in the second set.

But with the former world number one serving to level the match, Mertens broke Kerber and sealed the contest when the German committed her 28th unforced error by sending a return into the net.

Mertens, who won the doubles in 2021, will next meet third seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia for a place in the quarter-finals.