Great Britain's Heather Watson made her Wimbledon debut 12 years ago as a teenager; now 30, the home favorite is through to the fourth round at the All-England Club for the first time.
The former World No.38, now ranked No.121, beat Slovenia's Kaja Juvan 7-6(6), 6-2 on No.1 Court Friday to break new ground at her home Grand Slam; she'd previously reached the third round in 2012, 2015 and 2017. She'd come the closest to the last 16 previously in 2015, famously leading then-World No. 1 Serena Williams on Centre Court before falling 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
Tale of the tape: After wrestling momentum away from Juvan in the opening set, Watson largely cruised until she approached the finish line.
The Slovenian was the first player to break serve in the opener at 3-3, but Watson broke back immediately. Later, Juvan served to stay in the set twice, holding at love each time, to force a tiebreak. There, Watson opened up leads of 5-2 and 6-3, but ultimately needed four set points to win the set; after saving three with brave play, Juvan double faulted on the fourth.
After winning the first five games of the second set, Watson needed every inch of 1 hour, 43 minutes on court to come through. The match's last three games all extended into deuce, and she saved three break points in the last game before finally winning the match.
"Those last three games were so close. There wasn't much in it. It kept going back and forth, deuce/ad. She was coming up with some great shots so I had to give her credit for that," Watson said.
"I didn't really panic because I was thinking clearly and well aware that she had raised her level. I was surprisingly calm actually. ... I really believed that I was going to do it, even if it was a bit of fighting at the end."
What it means 🎊#Wimbledon | @HeatherWatson92 pic.twitter.com/4rUX4diV8r— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 1, 2022
Union Jack: Watson joins Katie Boulter in Round 4 after Boulter dispatched 2021 finalist and No.6 seed Karolina Pliskova on Thursday. It's the first time two British women have made it this far in nearly 40 years. Jo Durie and Ann Hobbs reached the last 16 together in 1984, with Durie going on to the quarterfinals.
Boulter stuns Pliskova again; Krejcikova, Rybakina advance at Wimbledon
Opportunity knocks next for Watson as she seeks to join Johanna Konta as British women to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals this century. She'll face unseeded German Jule Niemeier, a 22-year-old ranked No.97, for the last eight. Niemeier defeated Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine earlier Friday in three sets.
Ostapenko returns to Wimbledon second week with comeback vs. Begu
Jabeur returns to second week
After reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year for the first time, Ons Jabeur has cruised back into the second week. The third-seeded Tunisian, the champion in Berlin two weeks ago, ran her grass-court winning streak in singles to eight with a 6-2, 6-3 win over French teenager Diane Parry.
Ons on a roll: Jabeur has dropped just 13 games in six sets at the Championships so far. Against 19-year-old Parry on Centre Court, she won both the first five games and the match's last 14 points. Jabeur expertly handled the teenager's now-unique one-handed backhand and slice; she's one of just two players in the Top 100 to play one-handed on that side.
"It honestly easy to go down like every time when she slices," Jabeur said. "But I love playing here. I want to keep it as short as I can. For now I'm just enjoying really playing on grass.
"Those few rounds is always tricky. I want to play my best tennis. Obviously if you're too comfortable, it's not that good as well. I'm trying to keep focused. ... I'm always ready. I'm just trying to play my game and keep it as simple as possible, for sure."
14 consecutive points to win the match from @Ons_Jabeur...— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 1, 2022
Including this stunner 😍#Wimbledon | #CentreCourt100 pic.twitter.com/SDsmS2lRBu
Up next: Jabeur next faces No.24 seed Elise Mertens, who ousted former champion and No.15 seed Angelique Kerber for her first win over a Top 20 player in more than a year. Mertens beat Jabeur in the third round of last year's US Open, their only prior meeting.