Nadal, Barty, Kvitova and Serena cruise into Wimbledon last 16

1 / 2
Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova returns against Poland's Magda Linette during their women's singles third round match on the sixth day of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships on July 6, 2019. (AFP / Daniel Leal-Olivas)
2 / 2
Two-time champion Petra Kvitova defeated Poland’s Magda Linette and will face either Britain’s Johanna Konta or Sloane Stephens of the US for a place in the quarter-finals. (AFP)
Updated 06 July 2019

Nadal, Barty, Kvitova and Serena cruise into Wimbledon last 16

  • Two-time champion Petra Kvitova also reached the last 16, the first time in five years
  • Barty overwhelmed British wild card Harriet Dart, while Williams easily dispensed with German Julia Goerges

WIMBLEDON, England: Two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal had a much more enjoyable experience on Saturday than his previous match as he eased into the last 16 with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 romp over French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The ease with which Nadal made the fourth round for the ninth time was replicated on the women’s side by Ashleigh Barty — who will be breaking new ground in appearing in the last 16 for the first time — and Serena Williams.

Nadal, who embraced Tsonga fondly at the end in stark contrast to the chilly handshake he had with fiery Australian Nick Kyrgios in the previous round, said he was delighted with the manner of his victory describing every match as a battle.

“I was very happy,” said Nadal. “I played a great match from the beginning to the end. “Jo is one of those players you don’t want to face early but today was my day.”

His great rival eight-time champion Roger Federer followed him onto Center Court to play another Frenchman, Australian Open semifinalist Lucas Pouille.

Federer and Nadal’s one-time fellow member of the big four Andy Murray’s hopes of men’s doubles glory ended early as he and French partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert went out in the second round.

 

Blockbuster quarter-final

On the women’s side Barty and Williams could meet in a blockbuster quarter-final if they win their last 16 matches on ‘Manic Monday’.

Two of the top 10 seeds did bow out, Dutch fourth seed Kiki Bertens and American ninth seed Sloane Stephens losing to Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova and Britain’s French Open semifinalist Johanna Konta respectively.

Two-time champion Petra Kvitova also reached the last 16, the first time in five years, on Saturday.

Czech sixth seed Kvitova defeated Poland’s Magda Linette 6-3, 6-2 and will face either Britain’s Johanna Konta or Sloane Stephens of the United States for a place in the quarter-finals.

Kvitova last made the last 16 in 2014 when she won her second title having also been champion in 2011.

While Barty will be in new territory playing singles in the second week for the first time, for Williams it is the 16th time.

Barty overwhelmed British wild card Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-1 while 37-year-old, seven-time champion Williams produced her most convincing display in dispensing with German Julia Goerges 6-3, 6-4.

Barty, bidding to become the first Australian Wimbledon women’s champion since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won her second title in 1980, will play unseeded American Alison Riske for a place in the last eight.

She is also the first Australian woman to make the second week since 2010. “That was really good,” said Barty. “I served really well and getting out of the love 40 game was massive.

“Incredible it is a first for me (to be in the last 16), new territory for me.” Williams goes on to face Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the quarter-finals. Eleventh seed Williams, who defeated Goerges in last year’s semifinals, is bidding to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles. “It’s been an arduous year for me, so every match I’m hoping to improve tons,” said Williams, who had a knee problem which affected her season.

“Every time I get out there, I try. I’m getting a really late start but all that matters is that I’m still here.”

Mixed doubles rarely gets center stage but British fans will wait till the bitter end as former world number one Murray will partner Williams against Andreas Mies of Germany and Chile’s Alexa Guarachi.

“I wanted to play mixed because I’ve only played just about 15 matches so far this year,” said Serena.

“It’s such a buzz going around about me and Andy now, that I’ve got nervous. “I’m ready and excited but I’m definitely nervous.”


Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

Updated 17 November 2019

Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

  • World Cup semifinalists ‘still have room for improvement as they chase first major title since 1966’

PRISTINA:  Gareth Southgate is set to bring Raheem Sterling back from his brief England exile in Sunday’s qualifier against Kosovo as he seeks to end the controversy over the Manchester City star’s row with Joe Gomez.

Sterling was dropped for Thursday’s 7-0 rout of Montenegro after clashing with England team-mate Gomez in the Three Lions’ training base canteen.

It is believed Sterling was unhappy with Gomez following an altercation with the Liverpool defender during City’s Premier League defeat at Anfield last weekend.

Although Sterling was left out of the Montenegro game as punishment for his attack on Gomez, Southgate has confirmed the winger will return for England’s final Group A fixture.

Sterling and Gomez, left with a scratch under his eye after the incident, are said to have patched up their relationship, but the center-back was jeered by England fans at Wembley when he came on as a substitute against Montenegro.

Both Southgate and Sterling expressed their support for Gomez and criticized the booing supporters, with the England manager reportedly comforting the shocked 22-year-old and his family after the match.

Now Southgate could include Gomez against Kosovo in a show of support for the Liverpool player.

With England already guaranteed to qualify for Euro 2020 in first place in their group, Southgate already planned to make changes, although he is keen to ensure England finish with a win as they eye a top-six seeding in next year’s tournament.

“We will make some changes, for sure, but the seeding in the group could be critical and we know it’s a big night for the Kosovans,” Southgate said.

“It’s a shame for them that they’re now out of this part of the qualification, although they’ve still got the playoffs in which I think they’ll be a huge threat in that format. “So, it will be a good test for us because it will still be a lively environment.

“The enthusiasm for the game is high and we want to finish the group with as many points as we can.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson could return following a one-match ban, while Southgate has to decide whether to keep faith with Ben Chilwell ahead of Danny Rose at left-back.

Harry Kane may have scored a hat-trick against Montenegro but it was Leicester’s Chilwell who was named England’s man of the match following a fine display in which he provided three assists in the opening 24 minutes.

“Ben, I liked the hunger in his game, the enthusiasm to get forward,” Southgate said.

“The whole team pressed well but he also pressed well from that full-back position, got into overlaps, his quality of delivery was excellent.”

Although England have cruised through their qualifying group, Southgate believes the 2018 World Cup semifinalists still have room for improvement as they chase a first major title since 1966.

“There were a couple of chances we conceded that just shouldn’t happen, so that’s still part of our game that we’ve got to improve upon,” he said.

“If we are to be a team that are going to challenge seriously, although we’re young, we’ve got to manage games well.

“We’ve got to make sure that, although we’re such a fantastic attacking threat, the rest of the team is right as well. There are things we’ve got to be better at.”