Harmony Tan, world No. 115, and Katie Boulter, who is 118th, continue to make their names with surprise wins at Wimbledon, while leaders Iga Swiatek stayed the course by extending her winning streak to 37 games on Thursday.
France’s Tan, who edged out seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in a more than three-hour first-round match on Tuesday, rolled into the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 win over 32-seeded Sara Sorribes Tormo Thursday.
Boulter, a British wildcard entrant, rallied to eliminate sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, who reached last year’s Wimbledon final in a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 win on center court.
The path to Tan or Boulder ends in the fourth round when they are supposed to compete.
“There might be some publicity [support] for them, but I’m prepared for that,” Tan said of her next game against Boulter, “because when I play Serena, there’s a lot of crowd [support] for you too.”
Meanwhile, American Coco Gauff beat Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-2, 6-3 and meets Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
Boulter, 25, who reached the third round for the first time in a Grand Slam event. Just two days after her grandmother’s death and with her grandfather in attendance on Center Court, Boulter Pliskova broke a 5-4 lead in the final set and then converted her first match point with a volley winner
“It’s definitely been a tough couple of days,” said Boulter, who hails from Leicester, England. “I tried to kind of let my emotions out and deal with the situation and tried to keep my head on tennis.
“I was lucky because my grandpa managed to come down from Leicester so we were able to keep him company and at the same time continue to support him.”
Pliskova’s powerful serve looked far from optimal throughout Thursday’s game as she shuffled 13 aces with eight double faults and was broken four times. She lost to Ashleigh Barty in last year’s final.
“I’m going to take it one step at a time, of course,” said Boulter, who also defeated Pliskova in a warm-up tournament in Eastbourne last week to earn her first win against a top 10 player. “I don’t want to be too far ahead. I knew I put in the work to win a few rounds here.
“…I’m just looking forward to going out and having fun and having a smile on my face. I don’t think it gets any better than playing Center Court and getting my first win there.”
Swiatek, meanwhile, extended her winning streak by beating No. 1’s Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-4 4-6 6-3. It is the longest winning streak since Martina Hingis also won 37 games in a row in 1997.
However, that victory was far from easy for the Pole – despite playing against a 138th-placed player.
Swiatek had to save two break points in the opening game of the third set, then, with a pinch of luck, secured the decisive breakthrough. Swiatek scored a break point at 2-1 when her Dutch opponent deliberately let a shot go wide of the net, thinking it was going wide. It landed inside the baseline, however, and Swiatek hit a forehand winner on the next point to take a 3-1 lead.
Swiatek, who won her second French Open title this month but has never progressed past the fourth round at Wimbledon, next meets Alize Cornet, who defeated American player Claire Liu 6-3, 6-3.
In other women’s matches, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova showed some nerve in her 6-1, 7-6 (5) win over Ana Bogdan.
Kvitova led 5-1 in the second set as Bogdan started reeling off game after game. Then Kvitova had a match point while serving at 5-4, but failed to capitalize on that chance and then the game itself, eventually leading to the tiebreak.
“Especially a few games on my serve, they were really long games and very tough mentally,” said 25th-seeded Kvitova, who won titles at the All England Club in 2011 and 2014. “I think maybe even that took some energy off my serve and I just couldn’t make it.
“Somehow I made it,” said Kvitova on the pitch. “I don’t know how, but I did it.”
Kvitova next meets Paula Badosa. The fourth-seeded Spaniard defeated Irina Bara 6-3, 6-2.
Former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, number 16, came after collapsing in both sets in a 7-5, 6-4 win to end the singles career of Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens, who said this would be her last event.
Halep, playing at Wimbledon for the first time since winning the title in 2019, trailed 5-2 in the first set and 4-1 in the second before winning five straight games on both occasions. She missed last year’s tournament through injury and the 2020 edition was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Flipkens, 36, has been eliminated in the second round of her last six appearances at Wimbledon. She lay down to kiss the grass after the match and was then hugged by Halep at the net.
No. 4 Paula Badosa, No. 8 Jessica Pegula, No. 17 Elena Rybakina and No. 20 Anisimova were among other seeded players who advanced to the third round.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
https://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/34173030/harmony-tan-katie-boulter-earn-upset-wins-reach-third-round-wimbledon Harmony Tan, Katie Boulter earn upset wins to reach third round at Wimbledon