WTA Wimbledon: Halep, Pliskova, Azarenka and Svitolina stay on title course



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WTA Wimbledon: Halep, Pliskova, Azarenka and Svitolina stay on title course

For the second time in three years, the 31st seed Maria Sakkari will play in the third round at Wimbledon, ousting Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-1 in swift 66 minutes. The Greek had 26 winners and 18 unforced errors, fending off two out of three break points to mount the pressure on the other side and seizing all four opportunities on the return to seal the deal in straight sets.

Players traded breaks in games five and six in the opener and it was Sakkari who grabbed another one at 5-4 to put the set into the pocket. It was all about Maria in set number two, taking 20 of the last 25 points and delivering two breaks to move into the third round safely.

The 8th seed Elina Svitolina was a point away from the defeat against Margarita Gasparyan at 5-7, 4-5 before saving it to level the score at 5-5. The Russian then injured her knee and was forced to retire, sending the Ukrainian into the third round in a heartbreaking moment for the player who had the match in her hands just ten minutes earlier.

The 7th seed Simona Halep is o.k after that scary injury from the first match, ousting Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in an hour and 51 minutes to hit the third round for the fourth straight year. Buzarnescu had more winners but also more errors, stealing Simona's serve six times and giving serve away nine times to push the better-ranked compatriot into the last 32.

Halep took the opener with four breaks of serve under her belt and tables turned in the second when Buzarnescu played with more efficiency in the return games, delivering the crucial break at 4-4 to set up a decider and build the momentum.

There, Simona proved to be too strong, earning three breaks to secure the place in the next round. In one of her best performances at Grand Slams, Victoria Azarenka demolished Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2, 6-0 in 63 minutes, getting broken once and taking 65% of the return points for complete control.

The Belarusian hit 15 winners and 12 unforced errors, outplaying the Aussie in every segment to rattle off the last 12 games of the encounter and march through. The seeds Su-Wei Hsieh and Anett Kontaveit are still in contention, together with the 3rd seed Karolina Pliskova who took down Monica Puig 6-0, 6-4, serving well and doing more than enough on the return to advance, firing 23 winners and only six unforced errors.

The Czech did lose serve once but that was nothing in comparison to five break chances she seized, storming over Monica in the opener and moving over the top with a break in game ten in the second, losing serve in the previous game while serving for the triumph.