Five-time champion Venus Williams powered her way into the Wimbledon Round of 16 on Friday, moving past Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka 7-6(3), 6-4, becoming the oldest player, at 37 years and 29 days old, to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon since Martina Navratilova in 1994.
Venus opened up a 4-1 lead in the first set, only to see Osaka respond with three straight games to knot things at 4-4, before the set ultimately went into a tiebreaker. Osaka won the first three points of the breaker, but the 10th seeded Venus rattled off seven straight points capped off by a forehand winner to take the opener.
In the second set, Venus broke for a 4-3 lead and that was all she needed as she saved the only break point she faced, and served out the set to book her spot in the final 16.
Over the last six Grand Slams, Venus is the only player on the WTA tour to reach the second week in all of them. For a spot in the quarterfinals she will take on Croatia’s Ana Konjuh. The 27th seed hung on to beat eighth-seed Dominika Cibulkova 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4.
Recent French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko won her 10th straight Grand Slam match with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Italy’s Camila Giorgi. The 13th seeded Latvian snapped a streak of eight-straight three-set matches, hitting 24 winners to 13 unforced errors.
She moves on to play fourth-seed Elina Svitolina, who defeated Carina Witthoeft 6-1, 7-5.
Victoria Azarenka continued her comeback to the tour with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 triumph over hometown favorite Heather Watson.
“I feel like in the second set I stepped up a little more,” said Azarenka. “Throughout the match I felt that there were a little bit too many up-and-downs, but in the important moments I felt like I played really well and I was doing the right thing in the important moment, which is I guess the positive, so I guess I have to keep doing the right things throughout the whole match.”
Up next for Azarenka is second-seed Simona Halep, who won 6-4, 7-6(7) over Shuai Peng.
The other Round of 16 matchup set up on Friday will see sixth-seed Johanna Konta take on 21st seed Caroline Garcia.