Sunday 25 February 2018 / 04:28 AM


Middle Sunday of Wimbledon is traditionally a day off. However, due to a rain-induced backlog of matches, organisers were forced to have play for just the fourth time in the tournament’s 130-year history.

The day was renamed ‘People’s Sunday’ because the general public had first-choice tickets instead of the corporates for a change. The 22,000 tickets sold out in 27 minutes.

World No.1 and defending champion Serena Williams crushed Germany’s Annika Beck 6-3 6-0 to make the last 16. The win was Serena’s 300th in grand slams, which moves her ahead of Chris Evert and into second place on the all-time list. She needs another seven wins to usurp Martina Navratilova and will be hoping to do so at the US Open later this year.

Serena was surprised when told of the milestone.

“Oh, was it? Cool. Oh, nice. I had no idea,” she said. “That’s awesome, right? I think that’s a lot of matches. It’s a lot of wins.”

Serena on her performance: “I thought it was good. I still want to get out to a little bit of a faster start but I was really focused and calm. Obviously I love having that Sunday off but I’m a little behind in my matches so I guess I had to play an extra day.”

Serena is chasing a seventh Wimbledon title and her 22nd major title, which would equal Steffi Graf’s Open era record. She next faces two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, who outlasted Sloane Stephens 8-6 in the third set.

In an even longer marathon, lasting over four hours, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame John Isner 19-17 in the fifth.

The seemingly never-ending final set evoked memories of Isner’s famous win in 2010 over Nicolas Mahut. That match was easily the longest in the sport’s history, finishing after 11 hours and five minutes, 70-68 in the fifth.

It was the fourth time in Tsonga’s career that he pulled off a comeback from two sets to love down. And his five-set record at Wimbledon improves to a phenomenal 6-0. The 12th seed next faces good friend and fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet, with past meetings split 4-4.

Aussie Nick Kyrgios completed a 6-3 6-7 6-3 6-4 win over challenging lefty Feliciano Lopez. Kyrgios, seeded 15th, plays Andy Murray up next in a blockbuster fixture on Centre Court. Murray leads 4-0 in past encounters but Kyrgios has at least had an unofficial win at the Hopman Cup earlier this year.

Kyrgios on his chances: “I definitely feel like he’s beatable. He’s only human. At the same time, he’s a great player. This is his backyard. He’s won here before. But this is probably my best surface, my best chance to beat him.”

[YouTube – Wimbledon]

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Farhan Shah

A recent addition to the roster, Melburnian Farhan is a sports nut who has come on board to provide golf, tennis, AFL and rugby league coverage for CBS.

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