Two former Wimbledon champions took to the court for third-round action on Saturday, with mixed results.
2019 champion Simona Halep advanced to the Wimbledon round of 16 on Saturday. The No.16 seed from Romania edged Poland’s Magdalena Frech 6-4, 6-1 on Court No.2.
But in a fight on center court, No.4 seed Paula Badosa of Spain edged two-time champion and No.25 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 7-6(4).
Halep and Badosa will now meet on Monday in a blockbuster showdown for a place in the quarterfinals. In their only previous meeting, Halep defeated Badosa 6-3, 6-1 on clay in Madrid two months ago.
Simona emerging: Former World No.1 Halep, who defeated Serena Williams in the 2019 Wimbledon final for her second Grand Slam title, needed just 66 minutes to defeat World No.92 Frech.
“I’m happy about that,” Halep said afterwards. “I’m trying to play more offense and I’m working hard to do that. So it was a good game.”
“This tournament in 2019, has been the best tournament of my career. The matches I played here were perfect. So I always have those memories and I always trust that my game is pretty good on grass.”
Fast facts: Frech had already achieved a career-best result in his sixth Grand Slam main draw appearance and first Wimbledon main draw. The 24-year-old Polish player defeated 21st seed Camila Giorgi and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova to reach a Grand Slam third round for the first time.
But Halep would not be denied her fifth trip to the second week of Wimbledon, in her 10th main draw performance at SW19. Halep now holds a 3-0 lead in her rivalry with Frech, and has knocked the Pole out of two majors this season, including the 2022 Australian Open.
“It wasn’t an easy match in Australia,” Halep said of Frech. “He’s a good opponent. She’s a good player. She’s never easy to play with. He’s changing his pace. He’s doing well. It was a good game.”
By the numbers: Halep dictated Saturday’s game, with 24 winners to just five from Frech’s racket. Halep, 30, converted six of his 10 break points to improve his win-loss record at Wimbledon to 27-8.
Frech dropped to 0-9 against Top 20 opposition in his career with the loss. Frech broke Halep two of her three chances, but the unseeded player only won seven of her 20 second serve points in the match.
Key moments: Halep took an early 4-0 lead and served for the first set at 5-2, but a double fault on break point allowed Frech to recover a break and tighten the opening set. However, the second time he asked, Halep served the set to love, stopping Frech’s comeback.
After an exchange of breaks in the first two games of the second set, Halep hit another tough break for a 2-1 lead, ending the game with a backhand winner after an exhausting play on her third break point. Halep took over from there, racking up the last five games.
Badosa stops Kvitova
Later on Saturday, it took Badosa just over two hours to get past Kvitova, who won the Wimbledon title in both 2011 (beating Maria Sharapova in the final) and 2014 (beating Eugenie Bouchard for the championship).
Badosa came to Wimbledon having lost her only grass-court match of the season to world number 169 Jodie Burrage at Eastbourne. But the Spaniard got back into form with wins over Louisa Chirico and Irina Bara in the first two rounds this week.
Now, Badosa has scored her biggest grass-court win to date over last week’s Eastbourne champion Kvitova, and the World No.4 finds herself in the Wimbledon round of 16 for the second year in a row.
Badosa withstood 34 fiery winners from the powerful Kvitova to make it through two tight sets. Badosa was able to convert two breaks of serve from nine chances, while Kvitova’s 11 break points resulted in just one break of serve on the day.
Kvitova served for the first set at 5-4, but Badosa was able to get a crucial break there and ultimately won the final four games of that set.
The Spaniard then fended off five break points at 1-1 in the second set, erasing four more at 3-3 to stay in front, ultimately prevailing in the tiebreak.
More to come…