Wimbledon: Federer beats big-serving Groth; Kvitova knocked out
2014 runner-up Roger Federer overcame a third-set loss and battled past the big serves of Australia's Sam Groth to enter the fourth round of Wimbledon on Saturday, while women's singles defending champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic was knocked out of The Championships by Serbia's Jelena Jankovic.tennis Updated: Jul 05, 2015 00:44 IST
2014 runner-up Roger Federer overcame a third-set loss and battled past the big serves of Australia's Sam Groth to enter the fourth round of Wimbledon on Saturday, while women's singles defending champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic was knocked out of The Championships by Serbia's Jelena Jankovic.
Federer showed that more than a bullet serve is required in one's arsenal in order to seriously trouble the grass-court masters these days as he snuffed out the threat of Groth in four sets.
Federer's Australian opponent holds the record for the fastest ever delivery in tennis and regularly launched 140mph missiles but only briefly threatened the Swiss's progress to the fourth round.
Groth briefly slowed Federer's bid for a record eighth Wimbledon title by holding serve throughout the third set and forcing a tiebreak that he clinched when the second seed misjudged a forehand at set point.
Yet Federer was in no mood to let his stranglehold slip and broke for a 2-0 lead in the fourth and then broke again to close out the match.
The imposing figure of Groth rekindles memories of the dominant figures at Wimbledon in the 1990s when a sledgehammer serve could propel you into the latter stages at the All England Club.
Nowadays, however, the pinnacle of the men's game is populated with more refined talents and none more so than Federer, whose bid for an 18th grand slam title looks compelling on the evidence of Wimbledon's opening week.
He scythed through the first two sets against Groth, breaking once in both and even out-aced the Australian 6-3 in the second.
Groth, whose fastest delivery of 147 mph fell just short of Taylor Dent's 2010 Wimbledon record of 148, held his nerve throughout the third, but his inability to lay a glove on the Federer serve proved his ultimate downfall in the match. He could not engineer a single break point throughout the two hour, 16 minute contest and was put to the sword when Federer fired a rasping return on match point that dipped into Groth's shoelaces as he charged to the net.
"I am very happy. It has been a hot week the first week but thankfully I have had easy matches going through without too many long four or five setters," said Federer, who now faces 20th-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.
"Now we are looking ahead and there are only big matches."
Serbia's Jelena Jankovic celebrates beating Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova in their women's singles third-round match of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, on July 4, 2015. Jankovic won 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. (AFP Photo)
Kvitova's title defence comes to an end
Former top-ranked player Jankovic beat Kvitova 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 on Centre Court, coming back from a set and a break down to reach the fourth round at the All England Club for the first time since 2010.
Kvitova, who also won the title in 2011 and was seeded second this year, had an easy time in her first two rounds, losing only three games. And it looked like more of the same while leading 6-3, 4-2 until Jankovic started her comeback.
Jankovic, who finished 2008 at No 1 in the rankings after playing in her only Grand Slam final at that year's US Open, broke Kvitova to get back on serve at 4-4 in the second set, and then broke again to force a deciding set.
"Playing on grass is very difficult for me. It does not come natural," said Jankovic, seeded 28th at this year's tournament. "I just tried to stay one point at a time, just hang in there, stay positive and fight, and I made it."
Since reaching the fourth round in 2010, Jankovic had lost in the first round three times and made the second round in 2013.
For Kvitova, it was her earliest exit at Wimbledon since losing in the first round in 2009. Besides her two titles, she has also reached the semifinals and twice made the quarterfinals.
Kvitova's earliest loss at the All England Club since 2009 leaves just four of the top 10 women's seeds left in the tournament, namely Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Lucie Safarova.
Croatia's Ivo Karlovic celebrates beating France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in their men's singles third-round match of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, on July 4, 2015. Karlovic won 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (9). (AFP Photo)
Oldest man in fourth round
Croatia's Ivo Karlovic rode his hard serve into the second week, beating Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga despite not earning a single break of serve.
The 23rd-seeded Karlovic won 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (9) to reach the fourth round for the third time.
There was controversy in the match when Karlovic appeared to perform a 'double-hit' on Tsonga's set point in the fourth set.
"I just looked at the umpire. He said no. I said okay, next point," said 2011 semi-finalist Tsonga. "I don't care, to be honest, because it's too late."
The 36-year-old Karlovic is the oldest man to make it that far at Wimbledon since fellow Croatian Niki Pilic in 1976. He's the oldest player to reach the round of 16 at a major since Jimmy Connors did so at the 1991 US Open at the age of 39.
Vasek Pospisil of Canada celebrates after winning his third-round men's singles match of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships against James Ward of Britain at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, on July 4, 2015. Pospisil won 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 8-6. (Reuters Photo)
Pospisil causes more British heartbreak
A day after Heather Watson couldn't protect a two-break lead in the final set against Serena Williams, James Ward couldn't close out his match against Vasek Pospisil.
Ward, who was playing in the third round for the first time at Wimbledon, lost 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 8-6 to the Canadian on Court 1. Pospisil, who won the doubles title last year, will next play Viktor Troicki.
In other results, sixth seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic beat Pablo Andujar of Spain 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-6(3), while 20th seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 7-6 (4), 6-0, 6-1.
In the women's draw, 13th seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland beat Casey Dellacqua of Australia 6-1, 6-4, while 15th seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland defeated 2013 runner-up Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-3, 6-2.
The United States' Madison Keys, the 21st seed, edged Tatjana Maria of Germany 6-4, 6-4, while Olga Govortsova of Belarus beat Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 7-6 (4), 6-3. Monica Niculescu of Romania defeated Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5.
(With inputs from AFP, AP and Reuters)