Match by match Serena Williams is getting better. With the first week of Wimbledon safely negotiated, she can heave a sigh of relief.
Yesterday she reached the fourth round with a swift and clinical demolition of Julia Goerges, the German No 18 seed who had been in fine form. No matter how Goerges tried to attack, Williams slapped her down and after 72 minutes, she had won 6-3, 6-4.
For most of the past three months, Williams had been struggling with a knee injury which limited her match play to just a dozen outings before Wimbledon started. Now she just needs to get more time on court and she thinks she will be fine.
“I just need to keep it up,” she said. “Each match for me really counts. I haven’t had a tremendous amount. Literally each match counts for me. It’s just keep going, doing what I’m doing in practice hopefully.”
Her next chance to do that will be against Carla Suarez Navarro tomorrow.
Petra Kvitova, right, has been the sentimental favourite everywhere she has gone since she recovered from a knife attack two years ago. Her injuries were career-threatening but she has made a remarkable comeback and, this year, reached the Australian Open final.
That warm, fuzzy feeling she gets from the crowd may end tomorrow, though. She reached the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Magda Linette of Poland and now plays Johanna Konta, Britain’s favourite daughter.
“Of course, the crowd will be on her side,” Kvitova said. “I little bit know what she’s playing, what she’s able to do. Will be difficult match, for sure.”
Harriet Dart’s Wimbledon came to its expected end at the hands of Ash Barty, the French Open champion. It was mercifully swift – just 53 minutes – and the stat sheet told the story of the 6-1, 6-1 pasting. Winners for Barty: 23; winners for Dart: five.
Not that there was any disgrace in the defeat for the British woman by the Australian. Ranking for Barty: No 1. Ranking for Dart: No 182.
And the 22-year-old underdog had made it all the way through to the third round, so there were plenty of good memories from her stay in SW19.
“I’m super happy with my performances this week,” she said. “I think today is such a good learning curve for me. She played great.
“She didn’t let me in the match at all. I think it’s obviously a tough lesson to learn. But again, it’s been a great tournament for me. I should take a lot of positives from it.”