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Venus v Suarez Navarro as it happened


Venus v Suarez Navarro live video


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By Tom Fordyce at Wimbledon

1448:So then - the champion is through to face Ana Ivanovic in Monday's fourth round. Suarez Navarro made her work in that second set, and the young Spaniard should continue climbing the rankings - but Venus will take some stopping on this form.


Venus 6-0 6-4 Suarez Navarro
A rolling white cloud drifts in front of the sun to throw a blanket of shadow across Centre. Sudden tightness from Venus - weak serve, dodgier forehand - but a Sunav error has us at 15-15. Another on the forehand sets up the first match point of the afternoon - big first serve, crunching forehand out side and Sunav can only push that wide.

Venus *5-4 Suarez Navarro
Uh-oh - now it's Sunav's turn to struggle, her serve attacked by a fit of the shivers and her beautiful backhand suddenly creaking. Venus snaps like the fly-trap and the key break has gone, just at the vital time. Champ to serve for a place in the fourth round...

Venus 4-4* Suarez Navarro
Short approach from Venus, and Sunav dips a backhand onto her toes to pile on the pressure. Ooof - awful mishit from Venus on an overhead to go to 30-30. That's more like it - deep approach, lovely punching volley the other way on the run to go 40-30. Wobbling serve - deuce - and then two nerveless volleys with nose on tape to draw level. Couldn't be much tighter, this second set.

Venus *3-4 Suarez Navarro
Nervy from Sunav now - weak forehand halfway down the net to wobble at 15-30, and after a delightful rally of baseline testers from both players, another forehand sits on the tape and falls on the Spaniard's side. 15-40. What a point that is - Sunav gradually wrests control with each successive shot, pulls Venus to the net and then stretches to lob her with the deftest of volleys. Real pluck on the next point to force Venus into the error, big first serve to move to ad - mais non, a double-fault! Venus flays a forehand wide - let-off. Just long with a raker down the line from the defending champ - and when Venus is hurried into backhand off-balance, Sunav has hung on...

Venus 3-3* Suarez Navarro
Now it's Venus who needs to hold under pressure - super forehand down the line from Sunav to draw applause from the crowd. Weak second serve from Venus, but she gets away with it - nervy times now. Bigger serve, a boomer out wide and a scamper to the net to cream away a lovely effortless forehand winner.

Venus *2-3 Suarez Navarro
And now she needs to hold. Mistake long from Venus to give her the chance - and another off the backhand side seals it. Suddenly shock shakiness from Venus, and Sunav strides to the changeover with fresh resolve smeared across her Spanish chops.

Venus 2-2* Suarez Navarro
Maybe she can - that's a splendid dipping cross-court forehand, and another follows. Two break points - and, shiver me timbers, Venus double-faults! The Centre Court masses are lapping it up - game on...

Venus *2-1 Suarez Navarro
Now then. Cheers around Centre as Venus goes long to leave Sunav at 40-15. Can she finally get that bagel off the board? She can - ace out wide, and that's the biggest roar of the day from SW19. Can she now do anything against the Venus thwackers?

Venus 2-0* Suarez Navarro
Gasp of surprise from the slowly sizzling crowd as Venus thumps a running backhand volley into the backboards on the full. It's small succour for Sunav, though - she can't get a fingerhold in any other point, and Venus is stretching away.

Tracy Austin
"Venus is really in total control. You look at the scoreline but to me it didn't feel like a 6-0 set. Carla was in most of those games."
Tracy Austin in the BBC commentary box

Venus *1-0 Suarez Navarro
Both players guzzle luminous liquids furiously at the changeover - it's like the World Sauna Championships out there. Venus strolls out and launches straight back into the Sunav serve - and what a shot that is, sprinting with speed and grace onto a running forehand and somehow pulling it across Sunav's nose for a clean winner. Break taken already...


A bagel
Venus 6-0 Suarez Navarro
Ouch - sealed with an ace, and there's almost nothing Sunav can do about it. Shade under 33 minutes, that took - Venus won 100% of the points when her first serve landed, won 10 of 12 points at the net and had a vicious kicker of a second serve to reach for when required. Trouble.

Venus *5-0 Suarez Navarro
Sunav takes her orange and blue towel and wipes her face wearily after a stretching forehand nosedives into the net. Venus then goes long to give the young Spaniard a shot at her first game of the match - it looks like she'll get there when she runs down a dropper and pushes one down the line, but Venus reaches out an arm as long as Mr Tickle's to cut it off at the tape. Sunav lifts her game again but Venus is in imperious form - boom-boom groundstrokes, beautiful movement and barely an error. Another break, and the smell of bagel fills the baking Centre Court air.

Venus 4-0* Suarez Navarro
Sir Chris Hoy nods his approval as Venus thunders through her service game in the time it takes to sprint a lap of the Laoshan Velodrome. Sunav is going deeper and deeper behind the baseline in a desperate attempt to give herself more time on the serve, but that's just giving Venus bigger angles to work with.

Venus *3-0 Suarez Navarro
Talented family, the Suarez Navarros. Carla's dad Jose Luis is a decent handball player and mum Lali was a gymnast in her bendier days. Super exchanges early on, Venus pinging the ball around off the middle of the racquet to set up a deuce. A rare mis-hit meets net, but a backhand drive almost off one knee and a flash long from Sunav gives her break point - saved when a better first serve skids deep. Wonderful point from Venus next - forehand onto the 'c' of the corner, running backhand volley and a silky-smooth overhead put-a-way - and another raker off the forehand side seals a second break. On fire today, Venus - looking every leggy inch a five-time champ.

Venus 2-0* Suarez Navarro
If you haven't seen Sunav before, she looks a little like Jo Durie's Spanish cousin would, if Durie had one. Super start from Venus, raking her forehands into either corner and gambolling into the net to slap away volleys with elegant alacrity.

Venus *1-0 Suarez Navarro
Just 20, Sunav, but she's got some weapons - the pick being a beauty of a single-handed backhand. It's like Justine Henin never went away. A topspin off that side follows a slicer to pull her out of a little trouble on her first service game, and a running backhand pass brings the first giddy roar from an eager Centre. The forehand's not so hot, though - two drives tip the tape, and Venus grabs an early break.

* denotes next server

1315: Super atmos on Centre - sparkier, livelier, noisier. Can't argue with Middle Saturday. Venus and Carla loosening up, both players with heavily strapped knees. More Royal Box chat - Vicky P looks like she's brought her sister with her. Keep it in the family.

1310: Pinsent, Redgrave, Romero, Grobler, J Edwards, Brabants....

1305: What a Royal Box line-up! Navratilova, Ben Ainslie, Kelly Holmes, Sir Thigh of Hoy, Vicky Pendleton, Hunter & Purchase...

1300: Right - it's tennis o'clock. We've all got Venus down as a stone-cold fave for this match - but in the only previous meeting between the two, Suarez Navarro bossed it in three sets.

1250: A rapid-fire rattle through astrophysics notebooks carried by my colleague Caroline Cheese in her Balenciaga handbag reveals that the hottest part of the English summer day is actually around 3pm. So it will get hotter. Apologies.

1245: Could it be any hotter at Wimbledon? Well, yes - but only if the sun suddenly shifted millions of miles earthwards. And if that is going to happen, it's not going to happen today. I hope.

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