Wimbledon | Kerber rediscovers winning touch, enters second week

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The 2018 champion beats Sasnovich from a set down, sets up Manic Monday clash against Gauff; Zverev advances

Former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber was put through the wringer early in her third-round clash against unseeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Saturday, but rallied from a set down to win 2-6, 6-0, 6-1.

Kerber, who had overcome Sara Sorribes Tormo in the previous round in the longest women’s match at Wimbledon since 2011 (3 hours 18 minutes), made a sluggish start against Sasnovich by twice dropping serve in the opening set to go 0-4 down.

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World No. 100 Sasnovich, taking on a second former Wimbledon champion this week after watching Serena Williams limp off injured in their opener, wrapped up the first set in style after rain temporarily halted action on Court No.2.

But Kerber’s response was blistering, handing her 27-year-old opponent a bagel to level the contest. A wayward forehand by Sasnovich gifted Kerber the advantage at 3-1 in the decider and the only remaining Wimbledon winner in the women’s singles draw finished off the match with an ace.

The German will next meet 17-year-old American Coco Gauff, who matched her dream Wimbledon debut run in 2019 with a 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Kaja Juvan.

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Gauff, the 20rd seed, stormed through the opening games with a barrage of power serves on Centre Court. She raced into a 5-1 lead in 18 minutes, but went off the boil briefly to lose two games, before recovering to take the set.

She established a lead in the second too, and fended off the Slovenian to enter the second week without dropping a set in this tournament.

On Friday, two-time winner Andy Murray’s run ended with a crushing 4-6, 2-6, 2-6 loss to 10th seed Denis Shapovalov in the third round. After falling behind 1-5 in the first set, Murray, roared on by a raucous crowd, clawed back three games and was close to making it 5-5. But Shapovalov held his nerve to close out the set before dominating the second and the third to hand Murray his most lopsided defeat at Wimbledon.

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The tournament, overall, was a positive for the Brit, but the result left him with mixed feelings. “There is a part of me that feels a bit like I have put in so much work the last three months and, you know, ultimately didn’t play how I would want and expect, and it’s, like, is it worth it?”, he said.

“Is all of that training and everything that you’re doing in the gym, you know, unless you’re able to practice and improve your game and get matches and continue, get a run of tournaments. Is it worth all of the work that you’re doing?”, Murray pondered.

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