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.

Picking a royal name that can define an era

  • AP, London
  • |
  • Updated: Jul 24, 2013 03:20 IST

The Victorians. The Edwardians. The Elizabethans.

Royal names can define a generation. So imagine the pressure on the new parents to pick the right one!

Now that Prince William and his wife Kate have a baby boy - the third in line for the throne - they must choose the name for a royal who may take Britain into the 22nd century. They'll start by considering British monarchs from the past.

Elizabeth I offered her name to the golden era in which Britannia ruled the waves and the Elizabethans consolidated a renaissance of national prosperity. Victoria's reign was defined by rapid industrialization with straight-backed Victorian morality. Her son, Edward VII, lent his name to the champagne and cigar period before World War I in which the rigid class system came under attack.

"Names do define an era," said Robert Lacey, a royal historian, who has written books on Prince William's mother and grandmother. "Who knows as we look into the future what will happen."

With so many people to please - inside and outside the palace walls - the House of Windsor is likely to pick more than one name for the boy who was born in London on Monday. After all, his father Prince William, aka William Arthur Philip Louis, has four. There may be a nod to great grandfather Prince Philip, or grandfathers Prince Charles and Michael Middleton, Kate's father. Or King Arthur. Or a host of other dead kings.

But the first name, that has to hit the right note. It is likely to hang around a bit.

The royals will be thinking not just what the name means to them - but also what it means to the country. And you can't just pick any name either. It has to have gravitas. Commoner names - even classic British ones like Nigel or Rodney - won't do.

"Names always matter," said Albert Mehrabian, a professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA and an expert on baby names. "The public's image of this child could quite possibly be influenced by the baby's name."

Noble names are steeped in history, which explains why thousands of bets have rolled in to British bookmakers for the names George and James. George evokes the steadfastness of the queen's father, George VI, who rallied the nation during World War II. James VI united England and Scotland - and shares his name with Kate's brother.

The impression attached to a name is important, Mehrabian said. When you think of "Alexander," you think of Alexander the Great; "Elizabeth" and you think of Queen Elizabeth II.

And this child, whatever his name, is likely to mark a watershed in the relationship between the royals and their subjects. Prince William chose to eschew a royal match and married a commoner from the village of Bucklebury - continuing the process of making monarchy more accessible - an idea championed by his mother, Princess Diana.

The heir may give a name to a new century, to a country that has changed so much socially and philosophically that the daughter of a flight attendant and an air traffic controller is now in line to be queen.

"This is the historical element of this," Lacey said. "Let us see how that is reflected in the names."

The royal couple may well take their time in deciding. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh took a month before settling on the name Charles for the Prince of Wales. Princess Diana and Prince Charles took a week before settling on William's four names.

"Who knows what the future will hold," said Timothy Long, a curator at the Museum of London, which is celebrating the royal birth with a special exhibition showcasing royal baby items. "But I'm sure with that comes a little bit of pressure."

The bookies are hoping for everyone to take their time. The bets just keep rolling on in while everyone ponders the future.

"We're taking in money by the pramload," said Rory Scott, a spokesman for Paddy Power, a bookmaker.

It's also taking wagers on the royal baby's first word and where he will be christened.


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