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Evans through to face Federer as Watson loses

By The Assam Tribune

LONDON, June 30: Britain�s Dan Evans kept his cool in uncharted territory on Thursday, downing 30th-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-1 to sweep into the third round at Wimbledon and equal his best ever grand slam performance.

The prize for Evans, who before this year had never won a match in the main draw at the All England Club, is a clash with Roger Federer.

That sets up a second date in a row with a home-grown outsider for the seven-times winner, who on Centre Court on Wednesday wrote the final chapter in the Wimbledon fairytale of 772 ranked Marcus Willis.

Evans, ranked 91st after breaking into the top 100 for the first time in May, represents a tougher proposition for the Swiss on paper, and the Briton played Thursday�s key points better than his 33rd-ranked opponent, a former Australian Open quarterfinalist.

After a closely-fought opening, a Dolgopolov double-fault handed the first set to Evans 8-6 in a tiebreak.

Evans, who reached the US Open third round as a qualifier in 2013, was again the more clinical in the second set, staying aggressive and taking it on his first set point with a deft stop volley that left the Ukrainian floundering.

Dolgopolov faded badly in the third set, dropping serve three times and netting weakly on match point as Evans won the last four points to wrap things up in just under two hours.

Asked about his next opponent, Evans said in a courtside interview: �It�s going to be an amazing experience. I have to put to the back of my mind that he is one of the best players ever to play the game.�

Britain�s Heather Watson spurned three match points as she lost a marathon clash with Germany�s Annika Beck in the Wimbledon first round.

Watson led 10-9 and 40-0 in the decider but was unable to close out and instead it was Beck who clinched a 3-6, 6-0, 12-10 victory.

It is the fourth time in seven appearances at the All England Club that Watson has fallen at the first hurdle while Beck goes through to meet Aliaksandra Sasnovich in round two.

Cheered on by an enthusiastic home crowd, which included spectators peering over from Court Two, where compatriot Dan Evans had just won, Watson will know this was an excellent opportunity missed. The world number 55 is ranked 12 places below her opponent but when brave enough to attack she dictated the points, with her first serve also yielding nine aces in the match.

There were too many mistakes in the crucial moments, however, with Watson�s 64 unforced errors to Beck�s 27 was ultimately decisive.

The pair resumed play on Thursday morning with Beck leading 1-0 in the third, after the match had been suspended overnight for rain. Beck had taken a nasty fall shortly before the contest was halted on Wednesday but she showed no signs of injury when the action restarted, instead storming ahead 3-0 and then 4-1.

Watson had begun tentatively, but after violently banging her racket into the turf � for which she received a code violation � she suddenly found a new lease of life. She won the next four games in a row to edge 5-4 up and when a cruel net chord dropped over onto Beck�s side of the net, it seemed the momentum had clearly swung.

Watson failed to close out, however, despite leading 6-5, 8-7, 9-8 and 10-9, with victory appearing all-but certain in the last of those as Beck fell 0-40 down on her own serve. Beck survived and, buoyed by her escape, then broke to lead and while Watson saved one match point she could not rescue the second, as another backhand flew long to confirm an agonising defeat.

Despite a time violation warning, a few spots of rain and the thunderous groundstrokes of her rival could not throw Venus Williams off her long-limbed stride as she reached the Wimbledon third round with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Greek qualifier Maria Sakkari on Thursday.

Playing an opponent who was not even aged three when she won the first of her seven grand slam titles at Wimbledon in 2000, Williams proved that it would take more than mere determination to topple the American eighth seed.

Barring a loss to an unranked Kim Clijsters at the 2009 US Open, Williams had not lost to a player ranked outside the world�s top 100 at a grand slam this century. � Agencies

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