A third day of thrills at Wimbledon

Britain’s Andy Murray returns against Germany’s Dustin Brown during their men’s singles second round match on the third day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 5, 2017. Murray won the match 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

The third day of the championships offered a cheery difference from the previous day that saw three players dropping out in the heat of battle; two on the main show courts. It was a day of victories celebration in Great Britain. The sixth seeded lady Johanna Konta went the whole stretch in defeating Donna Vekic of Croatia 7/6 (4); 4/6; 10-8 in a marathon three hours and 10 minutes. Andy Murray followed suit and steamrolled over Germany’s colourful Dustin Brown 6/3; 6/2; 6/2 in one hour 36 minutes.

Murray won the first set on a single break of Brown’s un-readable serve. Opening serving in the second set, Brown hit three consecutive forehand winners to lead 40-0. Although a Murray passing shot elicited a backhand volley error to reduce the point tally, Brown held with a powerful forehand that Murray could not return. However, the defending champion held his serve to level and threatened his opponent with a break point at 30-40 before losing the game on Brown’s second advantage.

Murray held easily to level two games apiece and broke Brown’s serve to take a 3-2 lead. Another break in the seventh game had Murray serving for the set. He did not lose a point before clinching the set 6-2.

Again, Brown took the first game of the third set on his serve. However, Murray sustained his service runs to level and Brown did not recover from the break point in the third game. Murray extended the gap to 3-1 on his serve and broke Brown to take the fifth game. Another routine hold of serve had Murray a game from victory.

The lanky German pulled his serves and won the seventh game with a loss of only one point. Champions are always reliable on the victory stretch. Serving for the match, Murray led 15-0 with a forceful shot but dropped the next point on a missed backhand. Brown made a foray to the net but missed a backhand volley to face match point. He saved the first with a powerful forehand but the second was lost when he missed an easy forehand. His strength throughout the match failed him at moment of utmost need.

The sixth seeded lady, Johanna Konta faced an equally tall opponent in Donna Vekic. The serve was indeed a formidable weapon. The Briton with a peculiar prayer-like bounce of balls before serving delivered 12 aces, while her opponent kept abreast with 11. They both committed few double faults. In all, Konta converted only three out of 15 break chances and this accounted for the prolonged match. Vekic had only seven opportunities to break serve but did it only three times. The closeness of the encounter was indicated by the fact that while Konta hit 55 outright winners, Vekic responded with 42. At the end of the battle, the winner had won a total 130 points to the loser’s 127.

The ninth seeded gentleman, Kei Nishikori from Japan defeated Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky 7/6’ (4); 4/6; 10-8 in three hours and 10 minutes. It was a battle in which the serve was not a dominant stroke, as both players registered few aces but made even fewer points on returning the opponent’s serves. This accounted for the long rallies, which often ended in the kitty of the steady Japanese star. At the end, 14 points separated the duo, Nishikori tallying 147 to Stakhovsky’s 133 over a match that lasted three hours and 15 minutes.

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