LONDON, Great Britain - Top seeds Nicole Melichar and Bruno Soares are into the mixed doubles quarterfinals at Wimbledon after ending Serena Williams and Andy Murray’s run in three sets.
The top seeds faced fierce competition from Serena and Murray, but overcame the challengers in three sets, winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in just over an hour and a half.
Dubbed 'SerAndy' by fans and ‘MurRena’ by the players themselves, the surprise Serena-Murray partnership drew many tennis fans to the mixed doubles competition, and the pair delighted the Wimbledon crowd with their run to the third round.
But the veteran doubles duo of Melichar and Soares showed why they were the top seeds: not only have Soares and Melichar reached back-to-back Grand Slam semifinals at the Australian Open and French Open, but Melichar is also the defending Wimbledon mixed doubles champion, having partnered with Alexander Peya to victory last year.
“We did have a good tournament,” Serena told press after the match. “I think overall we played really well for our first time to play together.
“We're celebrating the fact that we're feeling better. We want to just continue to do better. I'm still in the singles, so I just keep going for that.”
After their defeat, Serena and Murray took stock of their great Wimbledon run - and left the door open for a future mixed doubles reunion at some point in the future.
“We had so much fun,” Serena told press. “We aren't ready for it to be over. But we both are obviously focused on our health, both of us actually, taking it literally one day at a time, seeing what happens from there.”
Murray, who is recovering from hip surgery and returning to ATP action after a lengthy layoff, lauded partner Serena during the press conference, praising the 23-time Grand Slam champion’s commitment on the doubles court.
“It was just the fact that she was so into it, so competitive, which is cool,” Murray said. “I like that. Some people might just see it as being maybe mixed doubles. We're playing it to have fun and get matches.
“But a genuine kind of desire and will to win, which I would have expected that to have been the case, but I didn't know that about her. Never spent any time on the court with her. That was the thing that was nice whilst we were on the court. She was really into wanting to win and pumped. I like that.”
Serena - who is contesting her singles semifinal tomorrow - had just as much to say about her British counterpart: “I think to play on this stage with Andy, who has done so well here for so many years, is literally just a lifetime experience. I'm so happy that I got to experience it.”
Up next, Melichar and Soares will take on the unseeded duo of Yang Zhaoxuan and Matwe Middelkoop, who took down Jennifer Brady and Marcus Daniell, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4 earlier in the day to advance.
Joining them in the quarterfinals are No.5 seeds Kveta Peschke and Wesley Koolhof, who defeated Nadiya Kichenok and Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi, 7-6(5), 6-4. They’ll take on Laura Siegemund and Artem Sitak, who claimed an epic to edge past No.3 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Mate Pavic, 5-7, 7-6(5), 13-12(5).