Top-ranked, top-seeded Serena Williams staged an extraordinary final set fightback to beat Britain's Heather Watson 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in the third round of women's singles at Wimbledon on Friday to set up a blockbuster fourth-round showdown with sister Venus.

    Williams, bidding for a sixth Wimbledon title and a calendar Grand Slam, was on the brink of a dramatic third-round exit when Watson served for the match at 5-4 in the final set. But Serena, who had trailed 3-0 in the decider, showed why she has won 20 Grand Slam titles as she broke back before finally sealing an epic escape in two hours and 14 minutes in front of an enthralled 15,000-strong crowd on Centre Court.

    Serena's 53 winners and 13 aces were just enough overcome her 33 unforced errors in the match of the tournament to date.

    "I've had some tough losses but that was probably my toughest match, playing Heather in front of her home crowd," Williams said. "She played unbelievable and really I think she should have won the match.

    "She was up two breaks and she just really gave her all and showed us what a great player she is."

    The 33-year-old American will face 16th seed Venus on Monday for the first time in a Grand Slam since beating her in the 2009 Wimbledon final. The sisters' last meeting came in 2014 when Venus won in Montreal, but Serena holds a 14-11 advantage over the 35-year-old in their career head to head.

    They have clashed five times previously at Wimbledon, with Serena winning three times and Venus twice.

    "Venus is in better form than I am, so I think she has a little bit of an advantage going into that match. But at least one of us will be in the quarter-finals, so that will be good," Serena added.

    Gritty recovery

    Faced with the prospect of a third successive early departure from Wimbledon, Serena had to dig deep to keep alive her hopes of becoming the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win all four Grand Slams in the calendar year.

    The gritty recovery extended her winning streak in the majors at 24 matches -- a blistering run that started after her third round loss to Alize Cornet at Wimbledon 12 months ago and has brought her the 2014 US Open crown and titles at the Australian and French Opens this year.

    While Serena breathed a sigh of relief, world number 59 Watson departed to a standing ovation after narrowly failing to become the first British woman to beat a reigning world number one since Sue Barker defeated Chris Evert in 1979.

    Watson had a poster of Serena on her bedroom wall as a tennis-mad child growing up in the Channel Island of Guernsey. But the dream of facing her idol initially turned sour as Watson was overpowered in the first set, with the American breaking in the fourth game and again in the eighth to take the lead in just 25 minutes.

    But Williams, facing a Briton at Wimbledon for the first time, appeared rattled by Watson's tenacity and the fervour of the crowd's support for their compatriot in the second set. A series of miscues from the increasingly anxious Serena allowed Watson to break at 4-4 and she couldn't stop the Briton levelling the match.

    It was the first set Serena had dropped in the tournament and another stream of errors gave Watson two breaks for a scarcely believable 3-0 lead in the final set.

    Crucially, Serena stopped the bleeding with a break in a marathon 10-minute fourth game and she broke again to level at 3-3.

    Remarkably, Williams stumbled again at 4-4 as Watson battled her way to another break. But Serena refused to surrender and she broke back at the fourth attempt when Watson served for the match.

    That set the stage for a sensational finale as Watson staved off two match points at 6-5 before Serena finally completed her great escape.

Gang-rape incident recreated for reel

  • IANS, Chennai
  • |
  • Updated: Jan 02, 2013 18:40 IST
  • Mumbai's entertainment fraternity

    Mumbai's entertainment fraternity joined hands as they came together to mourn the loss of the 23-year-old gangrape victim. From Bollywood bigwigs like Shabana Azmi, Mahesh ...

  • Shabana Azmi and Sonali Bendre

    Shabana Azmi and Sonali Bendre at the candlelight vigil in Mumbai on December 29, 2012.

  • Genelia D'souza

    Genelia D'souza makes a statement with a placard calling for equality for women at the candlelight vigil in Mumbai.

  • Lyricist Javed Akhtar, singer Sonu Nigam and composer Lalit Pandit

    Musical veterans (L-R): Lyricist Javed Akhtar, singer Sonu Nigam and composer Lalit Pandit.

  • Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt

    Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt looks resolute as he holds placard in solidarity for the gangrape victim.

  • Goldie Behl and actress Sonali Bendre

    Filmmaker Goldie Behl and actress-wife Sonali Bendre were seen at the solemn event.

  • Javed Akhtar

    Javed Akhtar lights candles at the vigil march in Mumbai in support for action against the Delhi gangrape.

  • Om Puri

    Actor Om Puri wearing a black band in protest against the Delhi gangrape.

  • Sophie Chowdhry

    Actress Sophie Chowdhry lights a candle at the candlelight vigil in Mumbai.

  • Genelia D'souza and Mandira Bedi

    Genelia D'souza and Mandira Bedi protest with placards.

The idea, he says, is to send out a strong message to the government and public.

"I'm not trying to cash in on the sensitivity of this issue but bring to light a barbaric act that shook our nation. I want to send a strong message through my film that such acts can't be taken lightly and the perpetrators should be punished severely," Gaddam told IANS.

The film, though not based solely on the Delhi incident in which a 23-year-old was brutally gang-raped and who died, has other commercial elements to make it an interesting watch.

"Even though a small portion of the film will revolve around the incident, it is not entirely about it. We have added all elements to make it a typical commercial entertainer," Gaddam said.

Nisha is produced by J. Dhanraj. Goldee, Sunny and Pranay Kumar have composed music.

The film, currently in post-production phase, stars Kiran Kumar, Ananya, Kalyan and Narsing in lead roles.

 

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