Serena survives, Djokovic, Sharapova ease through

Fri Jul 3, 2015 4:29pm EDT
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By Toby Davis

LONDON (Reuters) - The needle on the Wimbledon Richter scale sat poised and ready but Serena Williams dug deep into her battle-hardened playbook to ensure there was no earth-shuddering shock at the hands of scurrying Briton Heather Watson on Friday.

With the shockwaves of Rafa Nadal's exit at the hands of maverick journeyman Dustin Brown 24 hours earlier still rippling around the All England Club, Williams stood on the brink of an even more astonishing reverse.

The five times champion was two breaks down in the third set to her 59th-ranked foe and at one stage stood two points from defeat before normal order was restored and Williams clinched a 6-2 4-6 7-5 win.

"The older I get, I think the tougher I get upstairs," Williams told reporters after disappointing the frenzied British crowd to tee up a fourth round clash with sister Venus.

"I think every year, maybe this time next year I'll be probably even stronger."

The astonishing finale to the Centre Court action had shaken up an otherwise routine day at SW19 where Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova had imposed their own brutal authority on their battered opponents.

Djokovic dispatched a beleaguered Bernard Tomic 6-3 6-3 6-3 and Sharapova polished off Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu also in straight sets in their third-round matches.

Neither of the defeated duo, however, showed a fraction of the fight on display from 23-year-old Watson.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S.A. reacts during her match against Heather Watson of Britain at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015.                 REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth