London, Jun 30, 2022, IANS
London, June 30 (IANS) Former champion Angelique Kerber of Germany reached third round at Wimbledon after registering a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win against Magda Linette of Poland here on Wednesday.
In another match, Greet Minnen of Belgium shocked former Wimbledon champion and No.9 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain 6-4, 6-0 over two days on No.2 Court. Minnen earned her first top-10 win in the process.
Former World No 1 Kerber, who defeated Serena Williams in the 2018 Wimbledon final for her third career Grand Slam title, needed 1 hour and 25 minutes on Court No.2 to oust 65th-ranked Linette.
Kerber and Linette had faced off just once before, with Kerber squeaking out a three-set win in the Strasbourg quarterfinals just last month. Kerber went on to win that title.
Kerber is playing her 51st consecutive Grand Slam event this fortnight, and she has now won 84 matches on grass at tour-level. Only two active players have more grass-court match wins than Kerber, her fellow Wimbledon champions Serena Williams (107) and Venus Williams (97).
Kerber and Linette combined to save the first eight break points of the match, but Kerber fired a backhand crosscourt winner to earn a chance for a 5-3 lead. Kerber converted that opportunity with an error-forcing forehand, and she served out the first set from there.
A similar scenario occurred in the second set, where Kerber deployed another crosscourt backhand to grab a pivotal break and lead 4-3. Kerber broke again for good measure in the final game to wrap up the win.
Linette won three-quarters of her points at the net and she fired 34 winners in the match, but Kerber was steadier on the day at key moments. The German converted four of her 13 break points while successfully erasing four of the five break points she faced.
Earlier on Wednesday, a pair of Top 10 players residing in the top quarter of the Wimbledon draw finished their delayed first-round matches, with mixed results for the seeds.
But No.8 seed Jessica Pegula of the United States booked safe passage into the second round, defeating former Top 20 player Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-3, 7-6(2).
Minnen had lost all three of her previous matches against Top 10 opposition, but the World No.88 finally grabbed a win over a member of that echelon, topping former World No.1 Muguruza after just over an hour in total.
Minnen notched the first set on Tuesday night when lateness postponed the remainder of the match into Wednesday. 2017 Wimbledon champion Muguruza was unable to turn things around despite the overnight pause, and Minnen needed only 18 minutes to sweep through the second set.
Minnen finished the match with 15 winners to 14 unforced errors, while Muguruza's nine winners were negated by 33 unforced errors. The Belgian now moves into a second-round clash with rising Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen.
It took an hour and a half on Wednesday for Pegula to stop Vekic and win their first-round affair. Pegula and Vekic were originally scheduled for late Tuesday but never got their match started that evening.
Vekic has been a tough customer on grass in her career, with one Hologic WTA Tour title, two additional WTA finals, and a Round of 16 showing at 2019 Wimbledon on this surface.
But Pegula, who made the quarterfinals at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year, triumphed to reach the Wimbledon second round for the second straight season. Vekic twice came back from a break down in the second set before Pegula raced through the tie-break.
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