There was more serve-and-volley goodness on Centre Court, this time from Radek Stepanek on Friday, but it earned no more than a set from Novak Djokovic.
With rain interrupting a stretch of four sunlit starts in the first week, the roof was closed, bringing to mind the drama of Thursday night.
But although Stepanek, who’s partnering Leander Paes in the doubles, gave it his all, he hadn’t a weapon, like Lukas Rosol does, to threaten Djokovic with.
The result was one competitive set, but a relatively uncomplicated match thereafter.
With the 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 victory, the top seed became the first men’s contender to enter the round of 16.
Djokovic, who said he’ll play a spot of golf over the weekend, will on Monday face fellow Serb Victor Troicki, who upset Juan Monaco, the 15th seed, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.
The other world No.1, Maria Sharapova, advanced to the pre-quarterfinals as well, but not without a struggle.
No.1 Court hasn’t the luxury of a roof, and the wind made conditions difficult for both Sharapova and her opponent, Taipei’s Su-Wei Hsieh, an old foe from the junior days.
Hsieh, who hits flat two-handed strokes from both flanks, bothered the 6ft 2in Russian, particularly in the second set. But Sharapova has that most admirable trait of not being concerned with what she looks like on court; she gets the win by any means necessary.
Although she was made to look foolish during certain points (she contributed to it as well, whiffing a second serve, that bounced on her side of the court), Sharapova had too much power for Hsieh.“She’s very tricky, she changes the pace very well, with a lot of slices. Tough conditions as well, I had to be patient but aggressive as well, and I’m glad to get through,” said Sharapova after her 6-1, 6-4 win.
She’ll play Sabine Lisicki next. Lisicki, the 15th seed, had a tough match against the talented American, Sloane Stephens, but prevailed 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-2.Another of Friday’s winners was 6ft 6in Sam Querrey, who took out 6ft 5in Milos Raonic in a big-serving battle continued from Thursday.
Raonic, the 21st seed, won the contest of aces, 25 to 21, but lost 7-6(3), 6-7(7), 6-7(8), 4-6 in a second-round match. Querrey plays Marin Cilic in the third round.
Kim Clijsters continued her run in her last Wimbledon, progressing when the 12th seed, Russian Vera Zvonareva, trailing 3-6, 3-4, retired with what looked like a respiratory problem.
Keywords: Wimbledon 2012