Wimbledon: Venus, Nadal, Roddick win
WIMBLEDON, England ó Time and again after losing a point, Venus Williams rolled her eyes, slumped her shoulders and let out a shriek of dismay that echoed through Centre Court, reverberating off its roof.
Facing the most, uh, experienced woman in the Wimbledon field ó 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan ó Williams was mired in a three-set struggle that lasted nearly three hours Wednesday, a tight, high-quality contest brimming with the sort of at-the-net, classic grass-court play seen so rarely nowadays.
ěShe doesnít play anywhere near her age,î Williams said.
In the end, Williams, a five-time champion at the All England Club, mustered every bit of her competitive drive and considerable talent to pull out a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 8-6 comeback victory over Date-Krumm and reach the third round.
After Williams managed to sneak through, fans with Centre Court tickets had a chance to see easy wins for two-time champion Rafael Nadal, then three-time runner-up Andy Roddick.
The top-ranked Nadal beat Ryan Sweeting of the United States 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, compiling 38 winners and only seven unforced errors. In the third round, Nadal will face Gilles Muller of Luxembourg ó the only man other than Roger Federer to beat him at Wimbledon in the past six years. Since losing to Muller in the second round in 2005, Nadal is 28-2 at the All England Club.
ěWill be a big, big test for me,î Nadal said.
Roddickís strong serve was clicking again in a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Victor Hanescu of Romania. The No. 8-seeded American hit 15 aces, saved the only break point he faced and limited his unforced errors to six ó all with a special pair of fans sitting at Centre Court: his parents.
ěThis is the first time theyíve seen me play here. … I think today was the first time they ever sat in a box in my entire career,î said Roddick, who won the 2003 U.S. Open. ěThey picked a good court to debut that on. I think theyíre having fun.î
Other winners included No. 4 Andy Murray, No. 9 Gael Monfils and 72nd-ranked Alex Bogomolov Jr. of the United States, who reached the third round in his first trip to Wimbledon.