Venus Williams was tested today by 26th seed, Alisa Kleybanova of Russia, and needed 1 hour and 37 minutes, before escaping with a 6-4, 6-2 victory which was a lot closer than the scoreline indicated. Lady V, who had only met Kleybanova twice previously, splitting those meetings, but one of those meeting came in the round of 16 here at Wimbledon in 2008, which Venus won 6-3, 6-4, on her way to her 5th Wimbledon title. Venus was aggressive all match, looking to move forward and finish off points at net, which she is still the best at in the women’s game.
If Williams, widely regarded the best grass court player in the game, is to advance to her 9th Wimbledon final in 11 years this year, she will have to go through the very hot Australian, Jarmila Groth, who upset German Angelique Kerber, 6-3, 7-5 and who has now made the round of 16 at successive majors–a significant breakthrough for the young Australian, whose play should get her a spot in singles on Australia’s Fed Cup team next to French Open finalist Sam Stosur.
Once again, Groth brought her big game to a defense first player, out-winnering the young German 35 to 14, and winning close to 65 % of the points on her serve, opposed to Kerber, who won exactly 50 % of the points on her own serve. Groth eliminated American Melanie Oudin in the 2nd round earlier in the week by serving big and dictating play with her big forehand.
Andy Roddick defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber, who he had not met since Kohlschreiber’s impressive upset of Roddick in epic fashion in Melbourne in 2008, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9), 6-7 (3), 8-6. Today was a day for Roddick’s revenge, and though the match was close, Roddick really played excellent tennis in notching the 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3 in 2 hours and 56 minutes. Roddick made only 14 unforced errors, struck 60 winners, 28 aces, and hit 138 MPH on the serve gun.
Dandy Andy will face Yen-Hsun Lu in the round of 16–an absolute gift matchup for Roddick, who could face Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals and possibly Roger Federer in the semi-finals. Lu is making his first appearance in the round of 16 of a major, on the verge of his 27th birthday this summer.
Both Venus and Andy should play their round of 16 matches early next week. Venus and Serena marched on in doubles today, but were tested by the team of Bacsinszky/Garbin, 6-1, 7-6 (2). They will face Cibulkova/Pavlyuchenkova in the 3rd round.
Should the Williams sisters win the doubles title here, it mark their fifth consecutive major championship.