Halep and Kvitova advance as Boulter dedicates win to granny


Simona Halep returns the ball to Kirsten Flipkens during their women’s singles match in Wimbledon, southwest London, on Thursday. AFP

Former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep beat Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 6-4 on Thursday to advance to the third round at the All England Club.

Both players struggled to hold serve throughout their match on Court Two, with former world number one Halep breaking her Belgian opponent six times.

The Romanian, who won the title in 2019, has slipped to 18th in the world rankings. Defeat marks the end of 36-year-old Flipkens’s singles career.

The players embraced at the net and Flipkens, a semi-finalist in 2013, kissed the court. Halep will play Poland’s Magdalena Frech in the last 32.

British wildcard Katie Boulter dedicated Thursday’s shock second-round win at Wimbledon against 2021 finalist Karolina Pliskova to her late grandmother, who died this week.

Boulter, 25, came from a set down to beat the Czech sixth seed 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 on Centre Court, to the delight of the home fans. “I have absolutely no words right now,” said the emotional world number 118, whose grandfather watched her win.

“I am literally shaking. The crowd was unbelievable, so thank you for getting me through that. “I’m probably going to getting emotional. My grandmother died two days ago so I’d like to dedicate that to her today.

Meanwhile, Petra Kvitova showed some of the nerves on Thursday when she beat Ana Bogdan 6-1, 7-6 (5). It was a straight-set victory, but the second set wasn’t straightforward.

Kvitova was leading 5-1 when Bogdan started to reel off game after game. Then Kvitova had a match point while serving at 5-4, but failed to convert that chance and then the game itself, eventually leading to the tiebreaker.

She still pulled it out in the end, like she has done so many times in the past at Wimbledon. She won her first title in 2011, and added the second in 2014. But she was attacked in her home in 2016 and suffered knife injuries to her playing left hand. She later had surgery and needed more than five months to recover.

Last week, she won the fifth grass-court title of her career at a tournament in Eastbourne, England.

That should have given her plenty of confidence heading into this tournament, and this match. Kvitova will next face Paula Badosa. The fourth-seeded Spaniard defeated Irina Bara 6-3, 6-2.

Tan eliminated seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in the first round and then beat 32nd-seeded Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-3, 6-4.

Top-ranked Iga Swiatek also advanced — and won her 37th straight match. Swiatek defeated Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on No.1 Court to improve her winning streak, the longest since Martina Hingis also won 37 matches in a row in 1997. She will next face Alizé Cornet, who defeated American player Claire Liu 6-3, 6-3.

In the men’s draw, Nick Kyrgios advanced to the third round for the sixth time in eight Wimbledon appearances. The unseeded Australian, who reached the quarterfinals at the All England Club in his debut in 2014, beat 26th-seeded Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

It was a much easier match than the first round, when Kyrgios was taken to five sets by British wild-card entry Paul Jubb.

“Getting over the line in that first round was massive,” Kyrgios said. “Today I was kind of in my zone. I just wanted to remind everyone that I’m pretty good.”

Kyrgios will next face Stefanos Tsitsipas. The fourth-seeded Greek beat Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 on No. 1 Court.

Tsitsipas will be playing in the third round at the All England Club for the first time since 2018. He lost in the first round last year and 2019. His best Wimbledon result was reaching the fourth round in 2018.

No. 11 Taylor Fitz of the United States also advanced, along with No. 21 Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands and Richard Gasquet of France.

No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain withdrew from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19. He had been scheduled to play Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia.

No. 12 Diego Schwartzman and No. 13 Denis Shapovalov both lost. Brandon Nakashima, an American who beat Shapovalov 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (6), will next face Galan.





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