Serena Williams overcame a dropped first set to rally past Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday at the All-England Club, advancing to the third round during an eventful day at Wimbledon in London.
Williams, seeded 11th, failed to save any of the three break points she faced, including two in the first set, but she took control in the second. She then appeared to be cruising in the third with consecutive breaks to lead 5-2, but Juvan fought back with a break and a hold to trail 5-4, before Williams closed out the match.
“I like the pressure,” Williams said in her on-court interview afterward. “I would rather be in this position than any other, and sometimes I play best when I’m down. I’m just a fighter and never give up.”
Williams will next face 18th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany, who handled Russia’s Varvara Flink 6-1, 6-4.
Ninth-seeded Sloane Stephens also advanced, cruising by Yafan Wang 6-0, 6-2. But the American star of the day was lucky loser Lauren Davis, who rallied to stun defending champion Angelique Kerber of Germany 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Davis, who is ranked 95th in the world and got a spot in the field only after Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina withdrew, created 18 break-point opportunities and converted eight of them, including three in each of the final two sets. Davis finished with 45 winners and 50 unforced errors, compared to 13 and 31, respectively, for Kerber, who was seeded fifth.
“Definitely been incredible,” Davis told reporters afterward of her experience. “I was super disappointed having lost last round of (qualifying). I found out less than two hours later that I got into main (draw). I was ecstatic about that. It’s honestly a dream being here. ... Yeah, it feels amazing.”
It was the 25-year-old’s third career win over a top-10 opponent.
Federer rolls into third round
Second-seeded Roger Federer had little trouble advancing to the third round at Wimbledon on Thursday, downing British wild-card Jay Clarke 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-2 in 97 minutes.
The Swiss star faced just two break points and saved both, while converting four of five opportunities to break Clarke’s serve. He finished with 10 aces and 46 winners, against just two double faults and 25 unforced errors.
Federer equaled Jimmy Connors’ Open Era record with his 17th career appearance in the third round at Wimbledon and extended his own record with his 70th appearance in the third round of any major.
He’ll next face 27th-seeded Lucas Pouille of France, who downed countryman Gregoire Barrere 6-1, 7-6 (0), 6-4.
Eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan also cruised, downing Brit Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4, 6-0, but that was hardly the norm on a day in which seeded players fell left and right.
Ninth-seeded American John Isner blew a 2-1 set advantage to Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin, falling 6-4, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in a 3-hour, 6-minute battle. Portugal’s Joao Sousa dispatched 13th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, and 18th-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia also lost in straight sets (6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (2) to Brit Daniel Evans.
American Steve Johnson upset 25th-seeded Australian Alex de Minaur 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in 3 hours, 21 minutes, and Australia’s John Millman ousted 31st-seeded Laslo Djere of Serbia 6-3, 6-2, 6-1.
No. 33 Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany advanced over American Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (2).
Unseeded American Sam Querrey continued his run after upsetting Austrian Dominic Thiem in the first round, handling Russia’s Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. He’ll face Millman next.