Wimbledon 2021: Kerber passes Sasnovich test to enter fourth round

Former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber sailed over a stern challenge from the unseeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich to reach the last 16 on Saturday.

In the fourth round, 25th seed Kerber will face the winner of the match between American teenager Coco Gauff and unseeded Slovenian Kaja Juvan.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber was put through the wringer early in her third-round clash with unseeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Saturday but the German rallied from a set down to win 2-6, 6-0, 6-1 after a rain interruption.

Kerber faced a tough test against Sara Sorribes Tormo in the previous round before overcoming the Spaniard in the longest women's match at Wimbledon since 2011 and made a sluggish start on Saturday by twice dropping serve in the opening set to give Sasnovich a 4-0 lead.

World number 100 Sasnovich, taking on a second former All England champion this week after watching Serena Williams limp off injured in their opener, wrapped up the first set in style after rain temporarily halted the action on Court Two.

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Kerber had warmed up for Wimbledon with her first title in three years at the inaugural Bad Homburg tournament last week and the 33-year-old showed why she cannot be written off on grass with a blistering response in the second set.

The 2018 champion shot out of the blocks, playing inspired tennis to hand her 27-year-old opponent a bagel and level the contest at one set apiece.

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A wayward forehand by Sasnovich gifted Kerber the advantage at 3-1 in the decider and the only remaining Wimbledon champion in the women's singles draw further tightened her grip on the match before finishing with an ace to reach the last 16.

"I really had a late start... Of course, it was good that it was raining a bit," Kerber, who was trailing 1-5 in the first set when rain stopped play for 90 minutes, told reporters.

"The key was at the end that I came back on court and I was pushing myself, trying to being aggressive. She played well in the first few games but I started going out there starting from zero, not thinking about the score."

Kerber, who was on court for three hours and 19 minutes against Sorribes Tormo before playing Sasnovich, faces another tricky test when the 25th seed faces Coco Gauff next.

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The American teenager eased past unseeded Slovenian Kaja Juvan 6-3 6-3 to set up the fourth-round clash.

"I think it will be really an interesting match. I've never played against her before. She's a newcomer. She's played so many good matches, beaten top players. She's really dangerous, especially on grass courts," Kerber said.

"I see the fire in her. She's really putting all the effort she has in every match. So I know it'll be a tough match."

Unstoppable Krejcikova goes into last 16 at Wimbledon

Barbora Krejcikova continued her extraordinary transformation from doubles specialist to world-class singles player as she reached the last 16 at Wimbledon on Saturday.

The Czech, who came from nowhere to win the French Open last month, outlasted Latvian Anastasija Sevastova 7-6(1) 3-6 7-5 in a two-and-a-half battle on Court Three.

Including her title run on clay in Strasbourg before the French Open she has now won 15 successive singles matches and, for good measure, also won the French Open doubles.

Amazingly, this is the 25-year-old's first main-draw singles appearance at Wimbledon, although she already has a women's doubles title at the All England Club from 2018 with partner Katerina Siniakova, with whom she also won the French.

Before arriving at Wimbledon she had never played a Tour-level singles match on grass, having decided against any warm-up events, but she has looked totally at home on the surface.

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She was made to work hard by Sevastova though, with the Latvian twice serving for the opening set, and failing.

Krejcikova dominated the tiebreak but Sevastova hit back to win the second set.

The first 11 games of the decider all went with serve but Krejcikova found a glorious forehand return winner to get to within two points of victory before Sevastova dumped a backhand into the bottom of the net.

Krejcikova could not take her first match point but converted the second when her opponent missed a backhand.

She was joined in the last 16 by fellow Czech Karolina Muchova who beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5 6-3 to set up a clash with Spaniard Paula Badosa.

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