LONDON, England - Marion Bartoli continued to position herself as one of the frontrunners for a spot in the Wimbledon final on Friday, battling past Camila Giorgi and into the fourth round in a bottom half of the draw that has seen its three highest seeds ousted and the next-highest in deep trouble.
The No.15-seeded Bartoli had lost her only previous meeting with Camila Giorgi last month but this time was too tough, rallying from 4-2 down in the second set to beat the Italian in straights, 64 75.
"I'm very happy. Very pleased," Bartoli said. "I lost against Camila in Strasbourg, which wasn't very long ago. Obviously I needed to approach this match differently because the last time was pretty much a disaster. But I really felt it was another day, another surface - everything was just different this time. And I really had the mindset of going on the court today and beating her and winning the match. She has a huge game and hits the ball extremely hard, and I needed to take that away from her.
"I'm very pleased the way I turned it around this time. I took my chances when I had some."
"I know she can serve well, but even if she has a big serve, normally my return of serve is my strength against any opponent in the world, even Serena Williams," Bartoli said of Knapp. "On the other side, she's in the second week of Wimbledon, so I have to take her very seriously. The second week of a Grand Slam is a new start, especially here where you have two days off, so it's a new tournament.
"I have to make sure I stay very tough mentally and keep the same intensity."
Bartoli and Knapp were two of five players to win their third round matches before the rains came, the other three being No.20 seed Kirsten Flipkens and Flavia Pennetta (read more about them here) and No.19 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, who defeated reigning junior champion Eugenie Bouchard, 75 62.
"For sure it went differently than I hoped, but she definitely played really well," Bouchard said. "She was very consistent. She was being aggressive - more aggressive than me - so she was controlling the points. I could have - should have - done more to try to control the points. Instead, she did."
And on the Suárez Navarro one-handed backhand? "She did hit it really well," the Canadian said. "She was doing some good, short, crosscourt backhands. I think she just played really well today."
The other three third rounds were all suspended mid-match, with No.25 seed Ekaterina Makarova leading No.8 seed Petra Kvitova, 36 62 21; No.17 seed Sloane Stephens and Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska splitting sets and just about to start the third, 76(3) 06; and another Czech qualifier, Eva Birnerova, up a set and a break on Monica Puig, 64 21. All three matches will resume Saturday.
Before this tournament, all 11 of Riske's WTA main draw match wins came at the International-level lead-up event in Birmingham - she was a semifinalist there in 2010, a quarterfinalist in 2011 and a semifinalist again this year. Now she has added to that tally at Wimbledon, defeating No.31 seed Romina Oprandi in the first round and, on Friday, Urszula Radwanska in the second round, 46 63 64.
"I was really nervous, but I tried to keep telling myself that I wasn't really at Wimbledon," Riske said. "I was trying to make a scene in my head. I just tried to picture myself just playing my game. I told myself it wasn't Wimbledon, and just be calm out there and just keep doing what got me to that point."
Will the American be able to get over the block on hardcourts and clay now? "I think ultimately it's a mental thing. I think now I'm going to be able to get past that. If I can play like that here, I feel I should be able to play like that anywhere. As for now though, I feel like the grass suits my game. I feel comfortable on it. I love moving forward and being aggressive. To be honest I just love the surface.
"But I hope to translate the results from grass onto the other surfaces moving forward."