SERENA SECURES SPOT IN THIRD ROUND

By Craig Gabriel

WIMBLEDON: It really is amusing. Serena Williams is going from one extreme to another with opponents – in the second round she played a 19 year old and now in the third round she will play a 42 year old who has created history and become the oldest woman to reach the third round of Wimbledon in the Open-era.

Now, as if that is not enough of a variant, Andy Murray has apparently thrown out a challenge that he’d like to play Serena in a showdown style match in Las Vegas. To see Serena’s face when that was put to her was worth the price of an admission ticket. It was great.

“He’s challenged me? Really?  He wants to play me?  Is he sure?” she questioned, with her hearty laugh. “That would be fun.  I doubt I’d win a point, but that would be fun. Indoor, grass, I’m going to have to choose grass indoor.  Actually, I might go clay.  I think I might go clay with him.  He loves grass.  I do, too.  But I’m going to definitely go clay. Maybe I can get a game.  I’m not sure, but I think I can get a game.

“He’s probably one of the top three people I definitely don’t want to play.  But, yeah, maybe we can have a little bit of a showdown.  That would be fine.  I get alleys.  He gets no serves.  I get alleys on my serves, too.  He gets no legs, yeah.”

In fact it would not be the first time to do something like that for Serena. It was about 1998 at the Australian Open, she and Venus played a one set match on an outside court against a German player Karsten Braasch who would light up a cigarette on a change of ends. It was a lot of fun to watch.

However, back to the real stuff that is happening at Wimbledon and Serena moved into the third round for the 14th time. She has reached this stage more often here than at any other Grand Slam to date (US Open she is at 13). Serena got to this stage at the All England Club when she scored a 6-3, 6-2 victory over the French player Caroline Garcia.

The win over Garcia extended her current win streak to an amazing 33 consecutive matches and since 2000 that is second only to Venus who is on 35.

“I still feel like I’m trying to adjust a lot,” said Serena. “I feel like today I played a little better than my first‑round match. I feel like I definitely had to play better.  But I’m still adjusting.”

Now she takes on Kimiko Date Krumm of Japan and someone Serena has not played before.

“I have so much respect for her. I think she’s so inspiring to be playing such high‑level tennis at her age. And she’s a real danger on the grass court, I know that. I definitely will have to be ready,” said Serena.

“It’s for sure not going to be easy, but I’ll be ready. Kimiko has great hand‑eye coordination.  She returns unbelievable shots.  Doesn’t matter how hard you hit it, she sees the ball and gets it back.  She has great hands, has a wonderful great volley, comes to the net a lot, which on grass can be tricky. She plays really flat, so the ball stays really low.”

Date Krumm is eleven years Serena’s senior so I had to ask her if she could see herself playing at 42.

“I didn’t see myself playing at 31, so I don’t know how to answer that,” she said. “I definitely do not see myself playing at 42.”