London - Serena Williams set-up a Wimbledon
last-16 showdown with sister Venus on Friday after surviving a major
scare as Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova eased into the second week.
Top seed Serena, bidding for a sixth Wimbledon
title and already halfway to a calendar Grand Slam after wrapping up
the Australian and French Opens, defeated unseeded Briton Heather Watson
6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in a Centre Court thriller.
Watson, the world number 59, served for the match at 5-4 in the final
set after being a double break up but her nerve failed her against the
33-year-old American she idolised as a child.
"I've had some tough losses but that was probably my toughest match
playing Heather in front of her home crowd," said Serena, who is chasing
a 21st Grand Slam title.
"She played unbelievable and really I think she should have won the match."
Venus, also a five-time champion and playing in her 18th Wimbledon, reached the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Serbia's Aleksandra Krunic.
Serena will face her 35-year-old sister on Monday for the first time in a Grand Slam since beating her in the 2009 Wimbledon final.
"We have a lot of respect for each other," said Venus. "There's no easy points when we face each other."
Watson admitted her big chance had passed her by.
"I was two points away from winning the match, so I am pretty disappointed," said the 23-year-old.
Top seed Djokovic made the last 16 for the seventh successive year by
routing Bernard Tomic of Australia 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on the back of 15 aces
and 38 winners.
The Serb then faced a different challenge as he walked off Centre
Court when he was asked to autograph the prosthetic leg of a
"The gentleman gave me his artificial leg... I want to be politically
correct about it," smiled the 29-year-old Djokovic who next faces South
Africa's Kevin Anderson.
"I gave him my signature. I hope it will make him feel better."
Fourth seeded Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion, made the last 16
with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu and goes on to
tackle unseeded Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan for a spot in the
Australia's Nick Kyrgios, who famously defeated Rafael Nadal in 2014
when he was ranked 144, avenged his quarter-final loss of 12 months ago
to seventh seed Milos Raonic with a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 victory.
The 20-year-old Kyrgios hit 34 aces and blasted 61 winners past the
2014 semi-finalist as he booked a fourth round clash with France's
Kyrgios, seeded 26, faces another rematch in the fourth round against
Gasquet after beating the Frenchman in a dramatic five-setter in the
second round last year.
Gasquet, a 2007 semi-finalist and seeded 21, beat 11th seeded Grigor
Dimitrov of Bulgaria for the fifth time in five meetings thanks to a
6-3, 6-4, 6-4 stroll.
Fourth seed Stan Wawrinka reached the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-3,
6-4 victory over Fernando Verdasco for his first win over the Spaniard
in 10 years. The French Open champion will take on Belgium's David Goffin.
Goffin, the 16th seed, became only the fourth Belgian man to make the
fourth round in the Open Era by defeating 2006 semi-finalist Marcos
Baghdatis 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
US Open champion Marin Cilic, the
ninth seed, was locked in a titanic struggle with John Isner, the 17th
seed, when their clash was halted for bad light at 9:20pm (2020GMT).
The two were level at 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 10-10
after more than four hours on Court One with the winner to face American
wildcard Denis Kudla, the world 105, for a place in the quarter-finals.
America's Coco Vandeweghe reached the last 16 at a Slam for the first time with a 6-2, 6-0 win over 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur of Australia.
Stosur has yet to get beyond the third round at Wimbledon in 13 years of trying.
Vandeweghe will next face Czech sixth seed Lucie Safarova, who beat Sloane Stephens of the United States 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Teenager Belinda Bencic became the first Swiss woman into the fourth
round since Patty Schnyder in 2007 when she defeated American qualifier
Bethanie Mattek-Sands 7-5, 7-5 after trailing 5-1 in the first set.
Former world number one and two-time semi-finalist Victoria Azarenka
made the last 16 with a 6-4, 6-4 win over France's Kristina Mladenovic
and next faces Bencic.
Results at Wimbledon on Friday, the fifth day of the 2015 championships at the All England Club (x denotes seeding):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Bernard Tomic (AUS x27) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3
Kevin Anderson (RSA x14) bt Leonardo Mayer (ARG x24) 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3
Denis Kudla (USA) bt Santiago Giraldo (COL) 6-2, 6-7 (3/7), 2-6, 6-1, 6-3
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x4) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
David Goffin (BEL x16) bt Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Richard Gasquet (FRA x21) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x11) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Nick Kyrgios (AUS x26) bt Milos Raonic (CAN x7) 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3
Suspended due to darkness
Marin Cilic (CRO x9) level with John Isner (USA x17) 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 10-10
Serena Williams (USA x1) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5
Venus Williams (USA x16) bt Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 6-3, 6-2
Victoria Azarenka (BLR x23) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-4, 6-4
Belinda Bencic (SUI x30) bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 7-5, 7-5
Maria Sharapova (RUS x4) bt Irina Begu (ROM x29) 6-4, 6-3
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) bt Andrea Petkovic (GER x14) 7-5, 6-4
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) bt Samantha Stosur (AUS x22) 6-2, 6-0
Lucie Safarova (CZE x6) bt Sloane Stephens (USA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1