Lisicki, Serena move on at Wimbledon

Serena Williams celebrates defeating Simona Halep at Wimbledon in London on Thursday, June 23,...

Serena Williams celebrates defeating Simona Halep at Wimbledon in London on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 6:05 PM ET

Young German Sabine Lisicki upset French Open champion Li Na, while four-time Wimbledon titlist Serena Williams was a three-set second-round winner Thursday at the All England Club.

The unseeded big-serving Lisicki beat Li for the second time this year by outlasting the third-seeded Chinese slugger 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 under the roof on the famed Centre Court at the All England Club.

The 21-year-old Lisicki saved a match point against in the final set before converting on a third match point for herself when Li misfired long on one final forehand after 2 hours, 11 minutes of compelling tennis. The Chinese star's mighty forehand failed her on several occasions in the latter stages of the match.

Lisicki, who pumped out 17 aces on Thursday, was a grass-court champion in Birmingham just two weeks ago.

Li headed into Thursday with the best Grand Slam record, male or female, in the world this year, at 14-1. In January she became the first-ever Chinese player to reach a major final, but lost to Kim Clijsters at the Australian Open, and three weeks ago she became the first-ever Chinese player to capture a Grand Slam title by running the table at the French Open.

Lisicki will face upstart Japanese Misaki Doi in the round of 32.

Williams, the two-time defending Wimbledon champ, made a triumphant return to the famed grass courts on Tuesday with a three-set win over France's Aravane Rezai in the first round. She needed to go the distance again on Thursday, rallying for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Romania's Simona Halep.

Former French Open champs Francesca Schiavone, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic were also winners Thursday. Schiavone, the 2010 French winner and this year's runner-up to Li on the red clay in Paris, topped Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 7-5, 6-3, while Kuznetsova, a U.S. Open winner in 2004 in addition to her French title in 2009, eased past Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania 6-0, 6-2. Ivanovic, the 2008 champ at Roland Garros, cruised past Greece's Eleni Daniilidou 6-3, 6-0. The veteran Schiavone celebrated her 31st birthday on Thursday.

It was an emotional return for Williams two days ago, as she cried tears of joy following the opening-round win. Thursday's early struggle indicated that she is still rounding into form after a layoff of nearly a year because of injuries.

The 13-time Grand Slam champion needed surgery to repair a pair of severed tendons in her right foot after stepping on some glass at a German restaurant last summer. In February, she underwent emergency treatment for a hematoma as a result of a pulmonary embolism -- a blood clot in her lungs.

Williams' sloppy play on Thursday caused her to quickly fall behind. The unseeded Halep did not commit an unforced error and took advantage of nine errors from Williams to take the first set.

It was all Williams from there. She committed just 10 unforced errors over the final two sets and completely dominated the third, winning the first five games before closing it out in a mere 28 minutes.

"I'm just happy to be playing and hopefully I'll get better as the tournament goes on," Williams said. "It was a little windy out there and I just was a little tight so I just got to relax and enjoy myself more."

Williams wasn't thrilled to be placed on Court 2, rather than Centre Court or Court 1, on Thursday.

"They like to put us on Court 2, me and Venus, for whatever reason," Serena said. "I haven't figured it out yet. Maybe one day we'll figure it out. I don't know."

Up next for Serena will be capable Russian Maria Kirilenko.

There were minor upsets Thursday, as Czech Petra Cetkovska drove out 13th- seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, Nadia Petrova knocked off 14th-seeded fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-3, and veteran Klara Zakopalova dismissed 31st-seeded fellow Czech Lucia Safarova 6-0, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4.

Sixteenth-seeded German Julia Goerges avoided and upset by earning a 7-6 (12-10), 6-2 win over France's Mathilde Johansson.

In other action involving seeds, No. 19 Belgian Yanina Wickmayer overcame Georgian Anna Tatishvili 3-6, 6-4, 6-2; No. 21 Italian Flavia Pennetta pasted Russian Evgeniya Rodina 6-4, 6-2; No. 24 Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova subdued Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-1, 6-2; a No. 26 Kirilenko handled Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn 7-5, 7-5; and No. 27 Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova bested Czech Andrea Hlavackova 7-6 (7-1), 6-3.

Additional second-round wins came for the aforementioned Doi, Hungarian Melinda Czink, Austrian Tamira Paszek and Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko. Paszek topped American teenager Christina McHale 6-4, 6-1.

On-and-off rain disrupted play on Day 4, which forced the cancellation of matches for top-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki, fifth-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova and ninth-seeded French star Marion Bartoli. Wozniacki will now face France's Virginie Razzano on Friday, while Sharapova will battle British lefthander Laura Robson and Bartoli will encounter Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino.

Sharapova is a former world No. 1 and three-time major champ, including an upset of Serena in the 2004 Wimbledon finale. Bartoli was the 2007 runner-up to Venus Williams at the All England Club.

The third round will commence Friday with eight matches in the bottom half of the women's draw. Second-seeded 2010 Wimbledon and U.S. Open runner-up Vera Zvonareva will face 32nd-seeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in a rematch of a semifinal won by the Russian here last year, while fourth-seeded Belarusian Victoria Azarenka will meet 25th-seeded Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova, and a 23rd-seeded Venus will battle Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

Venus is a five-time Wimbledon champion and three-time runner-up. The former world No. 1 owns seven Grand Slam titles overall.

Friday's third-round schedule will also feature Schiavone, eighth-seeded 2010 Wimbledon semifinalist Petra Kvitova and Kuznetsova.


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