The women’s side of things at Wimbledon was in for a treat and lots of dramatics with Petra Kvitova’s attempt at a third title on the grass courts failing as she lost to America’s Madison Brengle. Meanwhile, Venus Williams and Johanna Konta both were pushed to three sets in the scorching heat in London. There was no trouble for ‘mom’ Victoria Azarenka in moving into the third round.
Kvitova lost 3-6, 6-1, 2-6 to 95th-ranked Brengle from the United States as the 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion couldn’t make the most of her title win at Eastbourne to take the momentum into the third Grand Slam of the year and her third tournament since returning to tour following surgery to her hand after being attacked during an attempted burglary at her residence in Prague, Czech Republic last year. The surgery and recovery kept her out of action for a lengthy period with her first tournament being the French Open last month.
Kvitova made 38 unforced errors and had nine double-faults to capitulate and hand Brengle, a 27-year-old from Dover, Delaware, a third round passage. She had lost in the first round at Wimbledon in each of her two previous appearances.
Williams came back from dropping the first set against Wang Qiang of China to reach the third round. The five-time Wimbledon winner powered her way through the final set to pull out the 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory. The owner of seven Grand Slams is playing her first tournament since a two-car crash police say she caused in Florida on June 9. A 78-year-old passenger in the other vehicle died about two weeks later. Asked about the incident after her first round win, the older of the Williams sister was left to tears in the press conference room.
Williams also beat Wang at the French Open in May. The 55th-ranked Wang has never been to the third round at a Grand Slam tournament.
Arguably the match of the day at Wimbledon was between British hope Johanna Konta and Croatia’s Donna Vekic on Center Court to get things underway on the famed court. The sixth seed showed her psychological courage and willpower to come out victorious from a contest that stretched to three hours and ten minutes with the final scoreline reading 7-6, 4-6, 10-8 and a warm embrace at the net left Vekic with hint of tears.
“You guys keep talking about this pressure, and I guess I keep sounding like a broken record, but for me, pressure is a very self-imposed thing,” she told reporters. “I’m approaching this event like I am every other event. I’m coming here to do the best that I can, to compete the best I can. I think I showed that today.”
There is no denying that the expectations from her have risen owing to her rise into the top-10 of the rankings and raised expectations from a partisan crowd at the All England Club is nothing new for British players.
“Quite honestly, I really just tried to see the constructive and the positive things that I was doing and also accept the good things that she was doing, because she was doing very, very many good things. “I feel I competed well. I feel that even when the momentum shifted slightly to her side of the court, I still was competitive, and I still felt I kept my mind quite light and just really tried to, yeah, keep going,” she said.
She talked about keeping a “light mind” – a phrase used quite popularly in self-help classes and Konta explained her understanding of it. “”Personally, I look to just keep a good perspective. Appreciate the level that my opponent was playing. Acknowledge that some of the things weren’t completely under my control. I think that also reinforced for me the good things I was doing and trusting in those things. That just keeps my mindset quite clear, and in turn light, or that’s kind of how I describe it.”
Unlike the ladies above, Victoria Azarenka who is on the comeback trail following the birth of her son Leo and playing just her second tournament since, didn’t have any trouble getting past last year’s semifinalist Elena Vesnina.
Playing just her fourth competitive match, Azarenka won 6-3, 6-3 against Czech Republic’s Vesnina and moved into the third round to keep her quest of becoming just the third player to win a Grand Slam after becoming a mother. The last mother to win the singles title at Wimbledon was Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who won her third title at the All England Club when she defeated Chris Evert in 1980.
Vesnina who hadn’t beaten Azarenka in seven previous meetings, didn’t come close on the eighth either. ‘Vika’ broke her opponent late in the first set and early again in the second. Vesnina took an extended medical timeout for the trainer to look after a lingering back injury, during which Azarenka hit the ball back and forth from the baseline as the ball boys and ball girls threw the balls to her. After returning, Vesnina tried to keep the contest going but in an extended ninth game, she double faulted twice – including on match point – to help Azarenka through.
“It was not easy,” Vesnina said. “I cannot say she is playing now as she was playing when she was No. 1 in the world. She needs some time to adjust, some time to feel her game and where she is right now. It’s not easy, but a couple more matches and I’m sure she’ll be back.” “It was not easy,” Vesnina said. “I cannot say she is playing now as she was playing when she was No. 1 in the world. She needs some time to adjust, some time to feel her game and where she is right now. It’s not easy, but a couple more matches and I’m sure she’ll be back.” Azarenka will face Heather Watson of Britain in the third round.