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Wimbledon: Lauren Davis upsets defending champ as several Americans advance

TENNIS-GBR-WIMBLEDON
Lauren Davis returns a shot agaisnt Angelique Kerber on Thursday at Wimbledon.
(Ben Stansall / AFP / Getty Images)

Unseeded American Lauren Davis came from a set down to knock out defending champion Angelique Kerber in the second round of Wimbledon.

Davis failed to even get through qualifying and only made the tournament as a lucky loser after some of the wild-card spots weren’t used, but pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the week by beating Kerber 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.

“It’s almost surreal,” said Davis, who started the year ranked outside the top 250.

Davis said the turning point came when she was up a break at 3-2 in the second set and managed to hold after saving three break points.

“I told myself you’re strong, you can do it, you belong here,” Davis said.

Kerber beat Serena Williams in last year’s final.

Williams had to come from a set down to stay on course for an eighth Wimbledon title.

Williams was broken twice in the opening set but recovered to beat Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 and move into the third round.

A rare visit to No. 1 Court couldn’t slow down Roger Federer at Wimbledon, while Rafael Nadal held off Nick Kyrgios in four sets.

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The eight-time champion beat British wild-card entry Jay Clarke 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-2 to move into the third round. Clarke is only ranked No. 169 but held his own against Federer in the second set until the tiebreaker, when the Swiss star won four straight points to take a 5-2 lead. He then jumped out a 3-0 lead in the third set and broke again in the final game.

Last year, Federer lost his only match on No. 1 Court to Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals after wasting a two-set lead. But he said the new roof over the stadium made it feel more like his usual surroundings.

“I really enjoyed myself on Court 1 today with the roof,” Federer said. “I couldn’t really tell if it was Centre Court or Court 1, actually.”

Kyrgios did just about everything against Nadal at Wimbledon, except win. The Australian hit some underhand serves, including one that landed in for an ace. He tried a few ‘tweeners. And he even ran in early on a serve from Nadal, and argued loudly with the chair umpire.

The antics were entertaining, but not enough to eliminate the two-time champion from Spain, who won 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) on Centre Court to reach the third round.

Last year’s semifinalist John Isner has been knocked out in the second round of Wimbledon, losing a five-setter to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.

Steve Johnson of the United States won for the first time in five tries against a top-30 opponent at Wimbledon, getting past No. 25 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the third round.

Day Four: The Championships - Wimbledon 2019
Steve Johnson plays a backhand against Alex de Minauron Thursday at Wimbledon.
(Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)

Johnson, who is ranked 71st, had lost his past nine matches anywhere against men inside the ATP’s top 30. Fellow Americans Sam Querry and Sloane Stephens also advanced on Thursday.

Querrey, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2017, reached the third round in the men’s draw by beating unseeded American Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

Stephens only dropped two games in the second set in her victory over Yafan Wang of China.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova overcame a shaky start to come back and defeat Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-2 and reach the third round. Top-ranked Ash Barty stretched her winning streak to 14 matches with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Alison Van Uytvanck.

All eyes will be on the marquee matchup between Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon later Thursday. It is a rematch from 2014, when a 19-year-old Kyrgios upset then-No. 1 Nadal at the All England Club.

Meanwhile, the 16-year-old son of Bjorn Borg lost in the first round of qualifying for the junior singles at the grass-court Grand Slam, where his famous father is a five-time champion and still regarded as royalty.

Leo Borg was hoping to make his first appearance at the All England Club but lost 6-1, 6-4 to Loris Pourroy, an 18-year-old Frenchman seeded 15th in the qualifying draw.

Etc.

Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic has been fined 45,000 pounds ($56,500) for not meeting “the required professional standards” in his first-round loss at Wimbledon. Tomic lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 on Tuesday.