Serena sails into fourth round at Wimbledon

Serena Williams returns to Annika Beck during their women’s singles match on day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London on Sunday.
Serena Williams returns to Annika Beck during their women’s singles match on day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London on Sunday. AP

Serena Williams earned a decent day’s rest on the middle Sunday at Wimbledon, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had to work overtime — 19-17 in the fifth set —in another marathon involving John Isner.

Williams, the defending women’s champion and six-time winner, overwhelmed Annika Beck 6-3, 6-0 in just 51 minutes on Centre Court early Sunday afternoon, advancing to the fourth round with her 300th career Grand Slam match win.

Williams, who compiled a 25-2 edge in winners, wasn’t aware of the 300-win milestone until she was asked about it in a post-match interview.

“I had no idea,” she said. “That’s awesome, right? That’s good, right? I think that’s a lot of matches.”

Williams’ latest win breaks a tie at 299 wins with Chris Evert. She now ranks second in the Open era behind Martina Navratilova, who went 306-49.

Williams, who is bidding to equal Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22 Grand Slam titles, was asked about the pressure of being expected to win all the time.

“Every time I step out on the court, if I don’t win, it’s major national news,” she said. “But if I do win, it’s just like a small tag in the corner. … I don’t look at it as a burden. I look at it almost like something that’s really awesome to be in that position.”

For only the fourth time in Wimbledon’s 139-year history, play was scheduled on the middle Sunday, which is the traditional rest day, because of rain delays in the first week that caused a backlog of matches.

While Williams played just 15 games in under an hour, Tsonga and Isner needed 44 games and 2 hours, 33 minutes to complete the final two sets of their suspended third-round match. The final set featured 36 games and lasted 2 hours, 8 minutes.

“It’s good to be alive,” said Tsonga, who saved a match point at 16-15 in the fifth before overcoming the American 6-7 (3), 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 19-17.

Isner led two sets to one when play suspended because of darkness on Saturday. The match lasted a total of 4 hours, 24 minutes on Court 2.

Nick Kyrgios, an Australian seeded No. 15, set up a marquee fourth-round matchup against No. 2 Andy Murray, defeating Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4. Kyrgios, who served out the match after receiving a time delay warning, made it to the quarterfinals as a wild card in 2014.

An all-Czech matchup was assured in the fourth round when No. 10 Tomas Berdych and Jiri Vesely both advanced. Berdych, the Wimbledon runner-up in 2010, beat 19-year-old rising German star Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, while Vesely swept Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-2, 7-5.

Williams will next face No. 13 Svetlana Kuznetsova, who came from 5-2 down in the final set to beat No. 22 Sloane Stephens 6-7 (1), 6-2, 8-6 and reach the fourth round for the first time since 2008.

Also advancing was 50th-ranked Elena Vesnina, who beat 225th-ranked American qualifier Julia Boserup 7-5, 7-5. She'll next play fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over No. 24 Barbora Strycova.