Federer flawless as Venus rallies

AFP
Roger Federer extended his flawless winning streak at Wimbledon to 26 consecutive sets as the defending champion crushed Lukas Lacko,.
AFP
Reuters

Karolina Pliskova returns to Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka during their Wimbledon second-round match at the All England Club in London yesterday. The Czech seventh seed romped to a 6-3, 6-3 victory on Centre Court. 

Roger Federer extended his flawless winning streak at Wimbledon to 26 consecutive sets as the defending champion crushed Lukas Lacko, while Venus Williams battled back to beat Alexandra Dulgheru in yesterday’s second round action.

Federer delivered a Centre Court masterclass lasting 89 minutes as the Swiss star hit 48 winners and 16 aces in his 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 victory in London.

The 36-year-old is now on his joint second longest streak of sets won at Wimbledon — his best was 34 between the third round in 2005 to the 2006 final.

Next up for Federer is a clash against 39-year-old Croat Ivo Karlovic or German world No. 64 Jan-Lennard Struff.

In his 20th Wimbledon appearance, top seed Federer, a 20-time major winner, is bidding to become only the second player to claim nine singles titles at the All England Club after Martina Navratilova.

On the evidence of his ruthless demolition of Slovakian world No. 73 Lacko, it will take something special to stop Federer making more Wimbledon history.

“I played very well. I felt good out there, less nerves than in the first round,” Federer said.

“I’m happy how I am hitting the ball, good concentration on my service games and able to mix it up with some slices.”

Five-time champion Venus Williams battled into the third round with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 win over Romanian qualifier Dulgheru.

Venus reached her ninth Wimbledon final last year, but the American was denied a sixth title by Garbine Muguruza.

She returned to the All England Club stuck in a rut after losing in the first round of both the Australian and French Opens this year.

Making her 21st Wimbledon appearance, 38-year-old Venus is the oldest woman in this year’s tournament.

But she didn’t look her age in making it 89 career match wins at Wimbledon by demolishing Dulgheru in the final two sets.

Asked if her wealth of Wimbledon experience was a key factor, Venus said: “I’d love to have that extra advantage. If that’s working for me I’m all for it.

“It’s just about winning the match. If that’s your best or not doesn’t matter.”

Venus next faces Dutch 20th seed Kiki Bertens, who beat Russian world No. 107 Anna Blinkova 6-4, 6-0.

Milos Raonic slammed 34 aces as the 2016 Wimbledon finalist won 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) against Australia’s John Millman.

The Canadian 13th seed will play Austrian qualifier Dennis Novak, who upset French 17th seed Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (8), 3-6, 6-2.

Sam Querrey, the 11th seed, stepped up his bid to emulate last year’s run to the semifinals with a 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-3 win against Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky.

Querrey’s fellow American Madison Keys, seeded 10th, celebrated US Independence Day with a 6-4, 6-3 win against Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum.

Croatian world No. 55 Donna Vekic followed up her shock success against fourth seed Sloane Stephens with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Swede Rebecca Peterson.

Romanian 29th seed Mihaela Buzarnescu thrashed British teenager Katie Swan, 6-0, 6-3 to extend her remarkable renaissance. A year ago, Buzarnescu was ranked 213 and lost in Wimbledon qualifying — yet now she will face Czech seventh seed Karolina Pliskova for a place in the last 16.

Former world No. 1 Pliskova has finally made it to the third round on her seventh visit to Wimbledon after seeing off two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-3.

Former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska lost 5-7, 4-6 to Czech world No. 66 Lucie Safarova.

Bidding to win her first Grand Slam title since becoming a mother in September, seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams was facing Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova later.

The former world No.1’s serve wasn’t working at full capacity in her first-round win over Arantxa Rus after a pectoral injury forced her out of the French Open.

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