Polona Hercog tried and failed to end the fairytale run of 15-year-old American Coco Gauff, with the youngster clawing back for a 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-5 third-round victory at Wimbledon on Friday.

Polona Herczog loses second round match. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

Gauff, a qualifier who won all five of her matches here without losing a set, rallied from the brink trailing a set and 5-2.

She saved a pair of match points for her 60th-ranked Slovenian opponent in the second set.

After winning a second-set tiebreaker, the No. 313  who had not lost a set all through qualifying and into the main draw third round, made her move.

Heavily tattooed Polona Hercog.  Photo: Andy Cheung//UK Tennis Magazine/International Sports Fotos

Gauff, cheered on by her parents, broke early in the third set but lost it, with Hercog squaring it at 4-all.

It ended after two and three-quarter hours as Hercog sailed a return long over the baseline.

“I’m super-glad it’s over, what a long match,” the delighted winner said.

“She played unbelievable and this was my first time on Centre Court.

Coco Gauff gets pumped up in third round match. Photo:  Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“In the second set when I was match point down, I always knew that I could come back no matter what the score.

“I just went for my shots. The crowd was amazing, cheering me when I was match point down.

Spice Girl Gerri Halliwell and Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner applaud the efforts of Coco Gauff and Polona Hercog. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“I’m excited to play in the second week, but now I’ve got Saturday mixed doubles to think about.”

Third seed Karolina Pliskova tamed exuberant Hsieh Su-wei 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, knocking out the Taiwan spoiler who had toppled then-top seed Simona Halep here a year ago.

Karolina Pliskova wins third round match. Photo: Anne Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

The Czech winner is into the Wimbledon second week after duplicating her showing of 2018.

“She’s tricky, especially on grass. She can make you feel ugly, which I felt at some points,” Pliskova said. “Of course, happy that I’m through.

“Sometimes I don’t think she even knows what she’s going to play, you have to be ready for everything.

“She can hit fast. She can hit dropshots. It’s a tough game – but I think I did good.”

Simona Halep, seeded seventh, won a battle of former No. 1 players as she overcame Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-1 in 66 minutes.

The win duplicated her defeat of the Belarus player here in 2017.

“I’m very satisfied. I think was my best match this year,”: the Romanian said. “I played really well.

Simona Halep. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“I felt actually very confident. I’ve been aggressive all the match, even if I was 3-1 down first set.

“I expected a tough one. I expected she’s going to play well and she’s going to hit strong, I’m really happy that I could win against a player as Vika because she’s a great one.”

Eighth seed Elina Svitolina advanced past Greek Maria Sakkari  6-3, 6-7(1), 6-2, winning three consecutive matches for the first time since Indian Wells in March.

Elina Svitolina of Ukraine. Photo: Andy Cheung/UK Tennis Magazine/International Sports Fotos

Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki suffered through a continuing quarrel with the Hawk-Eye electronic line-calling as she lost 6-4, 6-2 to China’s Zhang Shuai.

Caroline Wozniacki exits Court 2 after her loss. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

The Dane was hit by several judgements from the computer which rubbed her up the wrong way in what turned into a frustrating loss on Court No. 2.

Zhang began to prevail after coming back from 0-4 down in the opening set against the newly-married 14th seed.

“I obviously wish I’d gone further. Court 2 over the years hasn’t really been my friend,” Wozniacki said.

“I was hoping to strike up a friendship this year. It wasn’t to happen. I feel like I could have gone further, but she played better than me today. That’s really it. I can’t change it now.”

As she became the first Top 20 victim this season of Zhang, Wozniacki had little by way of consolation.

Shuai Zhang of China celebrates. Photo: Andy Cheung/ArcK Images/UK Tennis Magazine/International Sports Fotos

“There were a few (balls) that I saw way differently (than the chair umpire and linesman). But it is what it is. You can’t really change a Hawk-Eye call.

“Maybe it was right. I just saw it differently. You just have to move on, know what it is. That’s really it.

“When you think you’ve won the point and then have to replay, that can be frustrating.

Zhang beat Wozniacki in their last match at Indian Wells three years ago which lasted for three hours.

The 30-year-old Zhang, ranked 50th, had not won a match in five previous Wimbledon appearances before this week.


Novak Djokovic entered the Wimbledon second week on Friday, passing a challenging test against Hubert Hurkacz to advance 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4 into the fourth round.

The world No. 1 reached the round of 16 here for the 12th time, good enough for joint-third in the all-time list.

Djokovic was far from his best in the battle in which he had to overcome 39 unforced errors.

Novak Djokovic wins third round match. Photo: Anne Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“It was a great  fight in the first couple of sets,” he said of his three-hour effort.

‘He deserved to win the second set, hitting clean and accurately. But you don’t want to let it slip.

“You want to stay in the match. In the third and fourth sets I was focussed on one match a a time,

“I made him play, I had the perfect third set and the fourth was also good.


“I’m really pleased with the performance.”

While the four-time winner moved through, 2018 finalist Kevin Anderson was shown the door.

Argentine lefthander Guido Pella pulled off another personal Wimbledon upset as he knocked out a defending finalist for the second edition in a row. with his  6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) defeat of the South African who has missed months through injury.

Guido Pella celebrates as he wins third round match. Photo:  Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

Last summer, Pella eliminated 2017 runner-up Marin Cilic from two sets down and followed up with his knockout of Anderson, who lost the 2018 final to Novak Djokovic.

“I think I played unbelievable,” the winner said after reaching the second week of a major for the first time in his career.

Fourth seed Anderson was not getting down on himself as he played only his second event since late March.

“He made life really difficult for me, I had a pretty hard time keeping him on defense, finishing out the points.

“I didn’t feel like I played that bad of a match. I could have probably served a little bit better.

“It was definitely a tough one. It was very difficult at times out there.”

Tournament No. 10 Karen Khachanov fell to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-1. Milos Raonic, 2016 finalist, beat American Reilly Opelka 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-1.

Karen Khachanov celebrates. Photo: Anne Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

Each of the big men was limited to just 13 aces; but the difference came as Opelka committed 31 unforced errors

Quirky Frenchman Benoit Paire equalled his best showing at a Grand Slam by reaching the last 16 over Jiri Vesely 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3, 7-6(2).

David Goffin left 11th seed Daniil Medvedev winless in career five-set matches with his 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory.

Andy Murray’s much-hyped mixed doubles pairing never got onto court with their match postponed in the evening as light began to fade.


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