By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon

  • Angelique Kerber [11] def. Belinda Bencic 6-3 7-6(5)
  • Daria Kasatkina [14] def. Alison Van Uytvanck 6-7(6) 6-3 6-2
  • H2H tied at 3-3
WIMBLEDON, UK – Former Wimbledon finalist Angelique Kerber scored her first win against Belinda Bencic as she sets up another clash with Daria Kasatkina.

 

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Angelique Kerber [11] def. Belinda Bencic 6-3 7-6(5)

As the Top 10 seeds tumbled out of the tournament, Angelique Kerber would well emerge from this half of the draw as the main contender for another crack at the Venus Rosewater dish.

Belinda Bencic has played just six tournaments ahead of Wimbledon, and came into the tournament with just four wins, so this run has been made all the more remarkable, but a driven Kerber just proved to be a step too far.

That being said, it was not all plain sailing for the German, who fell behind a break early on before breaking the Swiss three times in a row to take the first set. The second set was a little more see-saw as the pair traded breaks a couple of times with Kerber having to save four set points and squandering a match-point before Bencic forced a tie-break. Kerber made no mistake on the second one.

She admitted after her match it had been a battle: “It was not so easy, especially because I know she’s playing very well on grass. She beat me always in the top matches. Today I was just trying to being aggressive. She played well, especially, yeah, when she was down. She came back in the second set. She had set points. I’m coming back, so it was a little bit of up and downs in the second set. Actually, I’m happy that I’m through in two sets.”

With the demise of Karolina Pliskova earlier in the day, Kerber is now the highest seed standing, and outside of Serena Williams, the only other player to have ever made it to the finals at SW19. At times pressure can tell on the German, but she felt she was handling the increasing focus well.

“I am not feeling the pressure because I am not looking on the seeded or who is left or not. I’m just looking forward for my next match. For every single day that I’m here trying to do my best. This is all I’m focusing on.”

 

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Daria Kasatkina [14] def. Alison Van Uytvanck 6-7(6) 6-3 6-2

Daria Kasatkina in the third round of Wimbledon 2018

Daria Kasatkina in the third round of Wimbledon 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Having backed up her win over defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza, the road ended for Alison Van UytvanckDaria Kasatkina, in her best performance at Wimbledon in three appearances, ended the Dutchwoman’s run but had to come the long way round to do it.

She said: ”I was losing all set long. Then I had the opportunity to close the set with my serve, but I didn’t do it. Then I had set points on the tiebreak. But she went really good on the net, yeah. She was fearless on the tiebreak. She really deserved to win it. But at the end I am happy that I closed the match and I was able to correct in the second set.

“After you’re losing set like this, you’re sitting on the chair, and all you are thinking about, especially when you have holidays after the Wimbledon. You’re like, Okay, I will try.

It’s really tough to push yourself in these situations when you are losing sets like that. But at the end the big champions, that’s how they’re winning. They’re pushing themselves in any situation. That’s what I’m trying to do, too.”

Kasatkina certainly managed to have the measure of Kerber in 2017, while the German was struggling to deal with all the pressures that being World No. 1 was giving her, but she finally steadied the ship at the end of the year in Tokyo and since then they have split wins down the middle. More tellingly – Kerber won their last encounter to level things up on the grass at Eastbourne.

Kerber said, of the match-up: “I think it will be another tricky match. She played very well in the last months. We played so many battles also this year against each other.

“I know what to expect. I know she know how to play on grass, as well. She [knows] where the ball has to go. I think I will just trying to, yeah, playing like I played the last days. It’s a new day, it’s a new match, and everything starts from zero tomorrow again.”

Kasatkina has also been keeping a watchful eye on Kerber, on a surface she knows she can excel at:

“It’s tough to say because she’s playing quite unusual. She’s hitting really low on her legs, playing flat. It’s really tough to play against her on grass.

“But I have this experience already from last week from Eastbourne, yeah. It’s going to be fun, for sure, because I will go on one of the big courts in the world to play against one of the best players in the quarter- final of Wimbledon. This is what I’m playing for.”

The Ladies’ Singles Quarter-finals will take place on Tuesday.

 

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