Serena survives third-rounder

Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates after defeating Zheng Jie of China in their women's singles...

Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates after defeating Zheng Jie of China in their women's singles tennis match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 30, 2012. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

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, Last Updated: 6:16 PM ET

Serena Williams fell behind a set to China's Zheng Jie, but the four-time Wimbledon champion moved into the fourth round with a tough win Saturday.

The sixth-seeded Williams fired a career-high 23 aces, the most ever in a Wimbledon women's match during the 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 9-7 win that took nearly 2 1/2 hours.

It was a statistical see-saw for Williams, who had 54 winners and 24 unforced errors, but after a break of serve following an overpowering return gave her an 8-7 lead, she was barely able to close out her opponent.

Zheng fought off a pair of match points and seemed ready to turn back a third when her return was headed down the line. Williams, though, was in the right spot and the return into the open court finally put an end to the match and moved the American into the fourth round at Wimbledon for a sixth straight year.

The 25th-seeded Zheng won the first set when Williams sent a backhand wide to end the tiebreaker, but the second set was dominated by the 13-time Grand slam champion.

Williams, who moved to 6-0 all-time against Zheng, will face Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova in the fourth round. Shvedova won all 24 points in the first set against Sara Errani and turned back the 10th-seeded Italian, 6-0, 6-4.

Shvedova became only the second known player in the Open Era to record a "golden set" by winning all 24 points. The only previous player to accomplish the feat was American Bill Scanlon, who won all 24 points in the second set of his first-round defeat of Marcos Hocevar of Brazil at Delray Beach in 1983.

Shvedova held the previous women's record for the most consecutive points won, winning the first 23 points of her match against American Amy Frazier in the second round at Memphis in 2006. Incredibly, Shvedova went on to lose that match, 1-6, 6-0, 6-0.

Second seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus breezed past Slovakian qualifier Jana Cepelova, 6-3, 6-3. The reigning Australian Open champion, Azarenka advanced to take on 14th seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. Ivanovic, a former French Open champion, rallied to beat 22nd-seeded German Julia Goerges, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Defending champion Petra Kvitova, the fourth seed from the Czech Republic, powered past American Varvara Lepchenko, 6-1, 6-0.

Italian Francesca Schiavone, the No. 24 seed, defeated Klara Zakopalova, 6-0, 6-4. Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, draws Kvitova in the next round.

Italian Roberta Vinci, the 21st seed, toppled Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3). Vinci's fourth-round foe will be Austrian Tamira Paszek, who defeat Yanina Wickmayer, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5. Paszek upset seventh seed Caroline Wozniacki in round one.

Sunday will be the traditional rest day at Wimbledon and the fourth round will commence Monday.


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