WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Serena Williams warmed up for her opening mixed doubles match at Wimbledon by reaching the fourth round in singles.
The seven-time singles champion, who is expected to play with partner Andy Murray later Saturday at the All England Club, beat Julia Goerges for the second year in a row, eliminating the 18th-seeded German 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday.
“I wanted to play mixed because I’ve played not even 15 matches, or just about 15 matches, so far this year,” Williams said. “So I thought it could really help me.”
Williams and Murray were supposed to debut as a team on Friday, but that was postponed. They likely will get on court later Saturday.
“There’s such a buzz going around about me and Andy that I’ve gotten nervous now, I feel like I might have a little bit performance anxiety,” Williams said. “I hope I can live up to the hype.”
Williams beat Goerges in the semifinals last year before losing to Angelique Kerber in the final. She will next face No. 30 Carla Suarez Navarro, who made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon for the third time by beating unseeded American Lauren Davis 6-3, 6-3.
Murray, who is limited to playing doubles at the moment as he returns from an operation for a hip replacement, lost in the men’s doubles tournament on Saturday.
Top-ranked Ash Barty also made it through to the second week in singles, winning her 15th straight match. The French Open champion beat Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-1 and will next face Alison Riske of the United States.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who a week ago wasn’t even sure if she could hold a racket in her left hand, reached the fourth round at the grass-court Grand Slam for the first time since her last title at the All England Club in 2014, beating Magda Linette 6-3, 6-2 on No. 2 Court.
Kvitova, seeded sixth, broke her opponent three times while never giving Linette a chance to break back even once.
The 29-year-old left-hander from the Czech Republic was attacked in her own home in 2016, needing surgery on her playing arm. She reached the Australian Open final at the beginning of this year but then pulled out of the French Open with an injured left forearm.
She only decided to play at Wimbledon at the last minute.
“So far it’s OK,” Kvitova said. “I’m really glad that I can play my game without any pain.”
Kvitova will next face Johanna Konta, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2017. The 19th-seeded Konta beat 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, her fourth victory over the American in four matches this year.
No. 21 Elise Mertens and Barbora Strycova also advanced.
In the men’s draw, two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal defeated two-time semifinalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Nadal beat Tsonga on Centre Court in a match that wasn’t nearly as taxing as his second-round victory over Nick Kyrgios. He never faced a break point, broke Tsonga five times, and served out the match with an ace.
Also, No. 5 Kei Nishikori, 2017 Wimbledon semifinalist Sam Querrey and Tennys Sandgren all reached the fourth round.
Sandgren beat 12th-seeded Fabio Fognini 6-3, 7-6 (12), 6-3 on Court 14, one of the smaller venues on the grounds.
During the match, Fognini said he wanted a bomb to explode at the All England Club. He later said his comments came in the heat of the moment because he was upset about not playing well and the condition of the grass.
“If I offended anyone, I apologize,” Fognini said in Italian at his news conference. “That definitely wasn’t my intention.”
Fognini is in a two-year Grand Slam probationary period after getting kicked out of the 2017 U.S. Open for insulting a female chair umpire. He also was fined $27,500 at Wimbledon in 2014 for outbursts during a victory.
Later, Roger Federer was playing Lucas Pouille on Centre Court.
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