Coco Gauff continues magical run

London: Coco Gauff continued her magical Wimbledon debut on Wednesday when she became the youngest player since 1991 to reach the third round as defending champion Novak Djokovic made the last 32 for the 11th successive year. Gauff, just 15 and who had to come through qualifying, had already stunned five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round.

She showed that was no fluke as the world number 313 defeated 2017 semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-3 under the new Court One roof. The American schoolgirl is the youngest player in the last 32 since Jennifer Capriati, also 15, went all the way to the semi-finals 28 years ago. Ashleigh Barty was in ruthless mood at Wimbledon on Thursday as she raced into the third round with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium. Van Uytvanck reached the last 16 here last year but was overwhelmed by the world No 1, who wrapped up victory in 55 minutes.

Petra Kvitova was 5-3 down in the first set against France’s Kristina Mladenovic. The two-times champion is now a 7-5, 6-2 winner. John Millman crushed 31st seed Laslo Dere 6-3, 6-2, 6-1. Four-time champion and world number one Djokovic hit 13 aces and 37 winners as he eased past Denis Kudla of the United Roger Federer reached the last-32 of a Grand Slam for the 70th time on Thursday when he defeated British wild card Jay Clarke 6-1, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 in the second round at Wimbledon. "But overall, a solid perfLast year's beaten finalist Kevin Anderson, the South African fourth seed, also progressed with a 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4 victory over Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.

Also feeling the pain was Russia's Margarita Gasparyan who was forced to retire when just two points from victory against Ukraine eighth seed Elina Svitolina. World number 62 Gasparyan was 7-5, 5-4 ahead when she collapsed to the ground on Court Three, suffering with cramping. Although she bravely tried to continue, the Russian, who has undergone three knee surgeries in her career, was forced to quit. Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco staged the comeback of the day when he recovered from two sets and 3-0 down to defeat British number one Kyle Edmund 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-4.

Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova reached the last 32 with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Puerto Rico's Olympic champion Monica Puig. Former world number one and double Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka swept past Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2, 6-0. Next up is a last-32 clash with fellow ex-world number one Simona Halep who defeated fellow Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

- Agence France Presse

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