Serena Williams kept her dreams of winning an eighth Wimbledon and 24th Grand Slam alive by making the fourth round at the All England Club on Friday as big sister Venus fell victim to the curse of the seeds.
The American great, seeded 25 after her pregnancy enforced absence, enjoyed a 7-5, 7-6 (7/2) win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic to set up a last-16 duel with Russian qualifier – and fellow mother – Evgeniya Rodina.
Serena’s victory on Centre Court, sealed with a 13th ace, came 20 minutes after older sister Venus, a five-time champion, had slumped to a 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 8-6 loss to Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands over on Court One.
Also exiting was 10th seed Madison Keys, who had made at least the quarterfinals of her last three majors.
The American lost 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 to Rodina, ranked 120th in the world.
While the women’s draw was being blown wide open, it was business as usual for defending men’s champion Roger Federer who enjoyed a 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 win over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.
Federer took his consecutive sets won at Wimbledon to 29 in what was his 200th career grass court match.
The eight-time champion will face French 22nd seed Adrian Mannarino on Monday for a place in the quarterfinals.
“I was happy to stay clam and finish off the job. I thought I did very well today,” said the 36-year-old 20-time Slam winner.
“I created more chances in the second set and was always able to stay pretty clean on my own service games.”
German fourth seed Alexander Zverev made the third round, seeing off Taylor Fritz of the United States 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (0/7), 6-1, 6-2 and faces Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis for a spot in the last 16.
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, seeded eight, swept past Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 on the back of 22 aces and 42 winners.
Anderson has reached the last 16 for the fourth time and goes on to face flamboyant Frenchman, Gael Monfils.