Wimbledon Tennis 4th round : Rafael Nadal Murray Serena Williams and Sharapova Through

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Wimbledon Tennis 4th round : Rafael Nadal Murray Serena Williams and Sharapova Through 

This year’s Wimbledon tennis championship continues to be a real challenge for the top contenders of the men’s title, as world number one and 2008 champion Rafael Nadal battles through to the second week at the All England Lawn tennis club.

Nadal, who won the French Open title for the fifth time only weeks ago, was made to toil under the sun in a fierce battle against Germany’s rising star Philipp Petzschner as he booked a place in the fourth round of the most prestigious tennis grand slam of them all.

Nadal was almost on the brink of a premature elimination when he was down two sets to one, before regaining his composure in the last two sets that he won with relative ease. The final score line of the engrossing battle remained 6-4, 4-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 in the Spaniard’s favour.

In another match, Sweden's Robin Soderling, who lost the French Open final to Nadal, bulldozed his way into the fourth round for the second year running with a 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Thomaz Bellucci.

After a tough opening set, Soderling, bidding to be the first Swede to reach the final here since Stefan Edberg in 1990, went through the second set in the blink of an eye in only 31 minutes.

He had to work hard in the third set, yet emerged victorious. He now faces Spanish ninth seed David Ferrer in the round of sixteen.

There was some relief for the local fans as their best hope Andy Murray cruised past Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in what turned out to be a straightforward win for the tall Brit.

Murray trounced Simon in a 23-minute first set, and had to work a little harder in set number two and three, yet scored the crucial points to go through without much duress.

Over in the women’s draw, defending champion and top seed Serena Williams from the United States thrashed Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova with some power-packed serves to reach the Wimbledon fourth round after a 6-0, 7-5 victory.

The shorter of the two Williams sisters cruised through the opening set against her overawed opponent Cibulkova in just 18 minutes.

However, her inexperienced opponent learnt her lesson in the second set, offering stiffer resistance to the tournament favourite.

The three-time winner was in top form, and must be pleased with her booming serves, as she produced one thundering ace after another for an imposing tally of 20 aces for the match.

Russian superstar Maria Sharapova staved off the resilience of Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 7-5, 6-3 to book her place in the pre-quarterfinals of the tournament.

The 2004 champion had to work hard for her victory on a sun-drenched Court One. Her next challenge is the daunting task of going past Serena Williams.

The Russian took eight games to break Zahlavova Strycova, after facing stiff resistance from her determined opponent in the opening exchanges in her match.

However, Zahlavova Strycova's resistance faded away in the second set and went out of the tournament after Sharapova fired a screaming ace to put out the contest.

There was success for third seed Caroline Wozniacki, who overcame fellow teenager Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets, with a score line of 7-5 and 6-4.

Wozniacki, who hails from Denmark, was the better player, especially from the baseline, as she brushed aside the disappointments of last year when she crashed out of the tournament at a similar stage.

On the other hand, the eighteen year old Pavlyuchenkova had her moments in the match, especially when she broke early in the second set, but could not capitalize on the advantage, eventually succumbing to her opponent for the third time this year.

Unseeded Czech Petra Kvitova will take on Wozniacki in the pre-quarterfinal. Kvitova defeated fourteenth seed Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-0.



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