Former world number one Victoria Azarenka continued her return back to the tour in impressive style on Wednesday, upending 15th seed Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-3, 6-3 to reach the Wimbledon third round.
Azarenka played her best tennis in what was her fourth match back since she gave birth to her first child last year. She saved a break point in the match’s third game, and never looked back. It was the only break point she faced throughout the whole match, and the Belarusian broke once in the first set and twice more in the second set to win the straight-sets match in one hour and 39 minutes.
Up next for Azarenka is the hometown-favorite Heather Watson who routed 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-0, 6-4 in her second-round match on Wednesday.
“I felt that I had a really good start to the match. I felt really solid out there,” said Watson. “I felt good the last week, in particular, and just really continued that. I served well, and hardly made any unforced errors in that first set.”
Watson needed just a little over an hour to complete the win and committed just 13 unforced errors while hitting 19 winners.
Two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist and eighth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova moved past American Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-4.
“Today was really, really good match from both sides,” said Cibulkova. “I would say she was playing really well. She was going for her shots and playing really fast. The serve was really hard to return. I had to find rhythm, and, you know, I never played her before. I was prepared a little bit but it’s always different when you stand against opponent for the first time.”
Cibulkova moves on to play 27th seed Ana Konjuh, who hung on to beat Irina Begu 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3.
The match of the day, and the best match of the tournament up to this point, saw Great Britain’s Johanna Konta battle Donna Vekic of Croatia. Konta would outlast Vekic 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-8 to reach the third round.
As the match went deep into the third set, both players dialed up their serves, providing a sequence of three straight games were they came back from 0-30 down on serve. The second time Konta did it established a 9-8 lead for her, and forced Vekic to try and serve to stay in the match.
But she was unable to as a blistering return winner from Konta wrapped up the match on her second match point to push her into the third round.
“Both of us deserved to win,” said Konta. “I think it was one of those matches where it was going to just be decided at the very last minute.”
Konta moves into a matchup with Maria Sakkari, who was a 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 winner of Krystina Pliskova on Wednesday.
Venus Williams launched a spirited comeback after dropping the first set in her second round clash, as the 10th seed and five-time champion came back to beat Wang Qiang 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. She moves on to play Japan’s Naomi Osaka who moved past 22nd seed Barbora Strycova 6-1, 0-6, 6-4.
American Madison Brengle upset 11th seed Petra Kvitova, ousting the two-time champion with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 victory on Wednesday.
Brengle will move on to play 21st seed Caroline Garcia of France. Garcia knocked off Romania’s Ana Bogdan 6-4, 6-3.
Second-seed and recent French Open runner-up Simona Halep needed one hour and 30 minutes to get past Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-5, 6-3 and book her spot in the third-round. She will play Peng Shuai, who routed 25th seed Carla Suarez-Navarro 6-2, 6-2.
Italy’s Camila Giorgi upset 17th seeded American Madison Keys 6-4, 6-7(10), 6-1. She will take on recent French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who came back from a set down to beat Canadian Francoise Abanda 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3.