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Williams survives almighty scare
03 Jul 2015 20:08
World number one Serena Williams survived an almighty scare at Wimbledon, battling back to beat Britain's Heather Watson in three sets and stay on course for a 21st grand slam title.
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Williams, who has lifted this year's Australian and French Open titles, was forced to dig deep in front of a raucous home crowd after an error-strewn showing against the superb Watson, recovering from 3-0 down in the final set to win 6-2 4-6 7-5.
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The 33-year-old, who said it was one of her toughest matches, will face her sister Venus in the last 16 -- their 26th career meeting - as she continues her bid for a sixth Wimbledon title.
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The signs looked ominous for Watson early on after being swept aside in the first set but the 23-year-old bounced back in the second, forcing Williams into a string of wayward shots as she matched up to her more powerful opponent.
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Watson reeled off six games in a row with three straight service breaks to level the match and race into a 3-0 lead in the decider.
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Even after a Williams rally she was twice just two points away from an unlikely win, only for the American to show the grit and guile behind many of her successes to prevail.
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Maria Sharapova crushed Irina-Camelia Begu with a routine straight-sets victory to reach the last 16 for the 10th time in 13 years.
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The 2004 champion bombed out in the second round in 2008, 2009 and 2013, but reached the fourth round for the second year running today.
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All eyes were trained on Serena Williams' continued quest for the career Grand Slam, the top seed taking on Britain's Heather Watson last on Centre Court on Friday.
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That did not stop Sharapova slipping quietly through to Wimbledon's second week, where she will meet either Zarina Diyas or 14th seed Andrea Petkovic.
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The five-time grand slam champion and fourth seed was in the mood to start her weekend early, completing an all-but fuss-free 6-4 6-3 victory.
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Sharapova led the second set 5-0 before Begu launched a mini recovery, but the commanding Russian soon quashed the last of the Romanian's resistance.
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Sharapova's victory followed a sizeable upset in the shape of the USA's Coco Vandeweghe dumping out 22nd seed Sam Stosur.
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Australian hope Stosur could not contain her pumped-up American opponent, who triumphed 6-2 6-0.
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Fashionista American star Bethanie Mattek-Sands might be frustrated by Wimbledon's strict dress code after suggesting it should be relaxed earlier in the week, but will no longer have to worry about how to be creative with her on-court attire after losing out in straight sets to Belinda Bencic.
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Eastbourne winner Bencic continued her fine form by swatting aside Mattek-Sands 7-5 7-5.
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