Tennis: Zverev wins battle against Taylor Fritz, Madison Keys becomes latest Wimbledon casualty

Alexander Zverev avoided a shock Wimbledon exit as the world number three battled back to beat American youngster Taylor Fritz 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (0/7), 6-1, 6-2 on Friday.

Zverev had just lost the third set when bad light forced play to be suspended late on Thursday evening.

But the 21-year-old German
has plenty of practice at scrambling out of trouble after three times winning from two sets to one down at the recent French Open.

He staged another impressive escape act on Court One, winning the final two sets to move into the third round.

Zverev will face Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis for a place in the last 16.

"Stopping yesterday two sets to one down was not a nice feeling, but I came out today and knew I would have chances," Zverev said.

"I think the last two sets here showed my progress. I played well on clay, so it's coming together slowly.

"I'm preparing the best I can. This match showed I can't take anything for granted."

After enjoying the best Grand Slam run of his career when he made the French Open quarter-finals last month, Zverev is hoping to reach the last eight at Wimbledon for the first time.

He was beaten in the fourth round last year.

Following early exits for Swiss 16th seed Borna Coric and Canadian world number 25 Denis Shapovalov, Zverev's win was a boost for the group of young prodigies branded the sport's 'NextGen' stars by the ATP.

Like Zverev, the 20-year-old Fritz is a former junior world number one ear-marked for great things but yet to truly arrive at the highest level.

Fritz, ranked 68th, has strong tennis genes as his mother Kathy reached the Wimbledon last 16 in 1977.

But, looking for first win over a top five player, he let Zverev off the hook with a disappointing collapse.

- Keys fall at Wimbledon -

Madison Keys became the seventh woman seeded in the top 10 to crash out of Wimbledon as the American was stunned by Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina.

After defending champion Garbine Muguruza suffered a shock exit in the second round on Thursday, it was 10th seed Keys' turn to endure an unexpected 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 third round defeat.

Keys' departure comes hot on the heels of early exits for two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, 2004 All England Club champion Maria Sharapova, world number two Caroline Wozniacki and US Open title holder Sloane Stephens.

Of the players seeded in the top 10 ahead of the tournament, only world number one Simona Halep, seventh seed Karolina Pliskova and five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, seeded ninth, are left in the draw after just five days.

Serena Williams, the seven-time Wimbledon winner, is seeded 25th after her tentative return from the birth of her first child.

But the 36-year-old, who is in third round action against Kristina Mladenovic later on Thursday, is ranked as the bookmakers' favourite to lift her 24th major title.

Serena will play world number 120 Rodina if she advances to the fourth round.

Rodina won nine games in a row to move a set and two breaks ahead before Keys recovered from 4-0 down in the second set to set up a decider.

The 29-year-old Russian needed treatment after securing the decisive break in the final set, but she was able to block out the pain to seal her upset.




AFP

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