Records for Venus and Konta as Kvitova bids farewell

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Venus Williams made history at Wimbledon on Wednesday as she competed in her 97th match at the All England Club, the five-time champion marking the occasion with a victory.

Williams came from a set down to beat Wang Qiang and set up a clash with Naomi Osaka - who beat 22nd seed Barbora Strycova.

Strycova was not the only seeded player to bid farewell on day three as Madison Keys, Petra Kvitova, Anastasija Sevastova, Elena Vesnina and Carla Suarez Navarro were also beaten.

There were no such troubles for Simona Halep as she knocked out Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets, while home favourite Johanna Konta edged a thriller with Donna Vekic - the Briton winning the decider 10-8.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko was made to work for her third-round place by qualifier Francoise Abanda, while Victoria Azarenka's return to the WTA Tour continued in successful fashion.

 

PERSISTENT KONTA BREAKS NEW GROUND

Konta had never been beyond the second round of her home grand slam but she changed that the hard way on Centre Court.

The sixth seed was beaten by Vekic in the Nottingham Open final last month, but gained revenge in a titanic tussle which lasted three hours and 10 minutes.

Konta, who will face the 101-ranked Maria Sakkari, said: "I am here with the intention of winning, to be a part of the event for the full two weeks, but there is no easy match."

And she is not the only Briton into round three after Heather Watson dumped out 18th seed Sevastova 6-0 6-4.

 

ANTS ATTACK SW19

It was a sweltering day in south west London, and the heat was not all the players had to contend with as swarms of flying ants made themselves at home.

That led to plenty of swatting and wafting to get rid of the bothersome insects, the players' racquets coming in handy to take many out at once.

It could not get rid of them all, though, with Konta taking a few home with her...even if she didn't want to.

"It kind of went in stages," she said. "At one point there was a lot, and then actually towards the end of the match, I don't think there were that many. 

"But I definitely have taken home a few both in my belly and in my bags. I'm pretty sure I have [swallowed some]. I didn't think about it [how they tasted]. I'd rather not."

VIKA ENLISTS A BALL GIRL'S HELP

Azarenka's return at Wimbledon has been nothing short of incredible in only her second tournament since returning from giving birth in December.

She made light work of 15th seed Vesnina on Wednesday with a 6-3 6-3 win and poses a real threat on her side of the draw given she has twice been a semi-finalist in SW19.

The Belarusian may have won easily on Court Three but she still found some time to practice while Vesnina received some treatment, Azarenka enlisting a ball girl's help to hone her backhand.

 

KVITOVA BOWS OUT

Along with Azarenka, Kvitova's return at the All England Club has been the feel-good story of the championships but the two-time winner will play no further part after she was beaten by Madison Brengle.

Kvitova - who suffered a career-threatening hand injury after being stabbed in December - had been well fancied for the title in 2017, however a lack of match action seemed to cost her in the London heat.

The Czech's exertions in levelling the match came at a price and in the third set she was noticeably struggling, and needed a doctor to check her heart rate and blood pressure in between games.

Eventually she returned but Brengle quickly finished things off, leaving an exhausted Kvitova frustrated.

"I felt a little bit sick and tired," she told her post-match press conference. "So I couldn't really move. I was so slow. I felt like an animal, but a very slow animal."