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Wimbledon: U.S. teen Coco Gauff continues unexpected run with third-round win

United States’ Cori “Coco” Gauff celebrates after beating Slovenia’s Polona Hercog in a Women’s sing
Coco Gauff of the U.S. celebrates after beating Slovenia’s Polona Hercog on Centre Court at Wimbledon on July 5.
(Ben Curtis / Associated Press)

Fifteen-year-old Coco Gauff saved two match points in the second set and went on to beat Polona Hercog of Slovenia in the third round at Wimbledon.

Gauff, who is playing at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, won 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5 on Centre Court.

Gauff saved one match point while trailing 5-2 in the second set. She went on to hold serve but then faced another in the next game, set up by an ace from Hercog. The 28-year-old Slovenian player then double-faulted on the next point.

Gauff beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the first round and 2017 semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova in the second. Both of those matches were on No. 1 Court, the second biggest stadium at the All England Club.

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Defending champion Novak Djokovic dropped his first set of the tournament but had few problems after that, advancing to the fourth round at Wimbledon with a 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4 win over Hubert Hurkacz.

Hurkacz had never even reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament before but matched Djokovic shot by shot in a tense second set which featured some mesmerizing rallies and spectacular winners from both players.

But the unseeded Polish player couldn’t keep it up, and Djokovic won the third set in only 25 minutes. He then broke for a 2-1 lead in the fourth and sealed the victory with a service winner on his first match point.

Djokovic is looking for his fifth Wimbledon title.

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Fernando Verdasco also advanced, beating Thomas Fabbiano 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-4.

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Argentina’s Guido Pella plays against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson during the third round at Wimbledon on July 5.
(Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP/Getty Images)

Fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson, a tall South African who lost to Djokovic in last year’s final, was beaten by 26th-seeded Guido Pella 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Friday on Centre Court in the third round.

Pella beat 2017 Wimbledon runner-up Marin Cilic in the second round last year — after losing the opening two sets. The 29-year-old Argentine will be playing in the fourth round at a major tournament for the first time when he faces 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic.

Anderson converted only one of his nine break points against Pella.

“He made life really difficult for me, I felt. He moves really, really well,” said Anderson, who is 6-foot-8 and has one of the best serves on tour. “I felt I had a pretty hard time keeping him on defense, finishing out the points. When I was able to do that, I had the most success.

“I could have probably served a little bit better.”

Raonic, who lost to Andy Murray in the 2016 Wimbledon final, reached the fourth round by beating unseeded American Reilly Opelka 7-6 (1), 6-2, 6-1.

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Opelka was making his Wimbledon debut and knocked out three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in the second round.

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In the women’s draw, two former No. 1’s advanced to the fourth round and another two lost in the third round.

Third-seeded Karolina Pliskova defeated Hsieh Su-wei 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, while 14th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki lost to Zhang Shuai 6-4, 6-2. In a match between two former top-ranked players, Simona Halep beat Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-1 on Centre Court.

Wozniacki was leading 4-0 in the first set and also broke Zhang in the opening game of the second before losing four straight games. The Dane repeatedly grew frustrated with the result of Hawk-Eye challenges, complaining to the chair umpire on several occasions that the calls made by the review system were wrong.

“I thought there was a few ones that I saw way differently,” Wozniacki said. “But it is what it is. You can’t really change a Hawk-Eye call.

“Maybe it was right. I just saw it differently.”


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