World No 1 Iga Swiatek overcame a late start and the lack of a Centre Court crowd to progress into the fourth round of Wimbledon with a straight-sets win over Petra Martic.
Swiatek had been scheduled to play second on the biggest venue at the All England Club on Friday, but Andy Murray’s unfinished match with Stefanos Tsitsipas from the day before had to be squeezed in before she did battle with the 30th seed.
By the time Swiatek walked out just before 6.30pm, the majority of the crowd had exited following Murray’s five-set defeat, but the world No 1 showed why she is a four-time Grand Slam champion with a professional display in a 6-2 7-5 victory that equals her best showing at the All England Club.
“I’m happy I could close it out at the end of the second set,” the 22-year-old Swiatek, who faces Swiss Olympic champion Belinda Bencic next, said on court.
“There is always something to improve. I am still 22 so I feel I have a lot to learn. I hope I will get better and better every year. That is my ambition.
“Belinda is playing a great game, we all know she can play great tennis but fourth round of a Slam, really looking forward to that match.”
Tunisian Ons Jabeur made quick work of Chinese qualifier Bai Zhuoxuan with a 6-1 6-1 victory in 45 minutes to move into the third round.
Jabeur is looking to go one step further at Wimbledon this year after losing the final in 2022 and the sixth seed was flawless with attacking shots that sent her opponent, who is ranked 185 places below her, spiralling out of the tournament.
“It was a good game, she (Bai) played the qualifying here and she qualified. I believe she had a great tournament, so I wish her all the best. But I tried to play like a top 10 player,” Jabeur said.
“Here I try to work a lot on my serve. I believe the stats will say it’s better. We’ll see with my coach later if he gives me a hard time or not.
“Overall I tried to play clean and, for once, what my coach says!”
Lesia Tsurenko dropped to the ground in exhaustion following her win over Ana Bogdan in which she saved five match points and won the longest tie-break in women’s singles Grand Slam history.
The Ukrainian and her fellow unseeded opponent from Romania split the opening two sets but an incredible battle for the ages unfolded at 6-6 as Tsurenko dug deep into her reserves to win 4-6 6-3 7-6 (20-18) in a match lasting three hours and 40 minutes.
Aryna Sabalenka said she was “super happy” to fight through a tough match against Varvara Gracheva with the Belarusian fighting back after going a set down over two hours to beat her opponent 2-6 7-5 6-2
Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Elina Svitolina earned a 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 win over American Sofia Kenin to continue her dream run.
Badosa endures awkward press conference
Paula Badosa had to awkwardly inform a reporter she had lost her second-round match after a back injury ended her Wimbledon campaign.
The Spaniard was forced to retire when trailing 6-2 1-0 to Marta Kostyuk after her troublesome stress fracture flared up and she revealed she will not be able to play the mixed doubles with her boyfriend Stefanos Tsitsipas.
To add insult to injury, news of her fitness struggles on Court 18 had clearly not reached an international reporter, who opened her post-match press conference by congratulating her on her victory, prompting a toe-curling exchange.
Responding to the opening comment, Badosa simply replied: “I lost.”
The reporter did not acknowledge her answer and asked her to talk about her fitness and confidence level, to which she replied: “For your information, I just lost. I didn’t win. So, yeah.”
The moderator then again informed the journalist Badosa had lost, which was received by surprise.
Once the result had been established in the room, Badosa went on to say that she will be withdrawing from the mixed doubles due to the problem, robbing fans of a on-court love story.
Asked whether she would be able to compete: “No, no, I won’t be able. The injury is the same as I have been struggling the past weeks.
“It’s the stress fracture. I tried my best to try to play here, but yesterday when I woke up I already, after my first-round match, felt it again. It’s a little bit worse.
“So I will need a few days off and talk to my team and see what I do in the next days and the next weeks.
“The first match I was pretty happy because I felt OK. After the match I spoke with my team, and I was, like, it wasn’t very bad.
“But yesterday, as I said when I woke up, I was worse. Today was worse. I wanted to give it a try in the match, but I think the smartest thing was to stop.”
Kostyuk will play 25th seed Maddison Keys after the American beat Viktorija Golubic 7-5 6-3 while two-time champion Petra Kvitova beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-2 to reach the third round.