Wimbledon ladies’ second round: Williams’ smash their way through
Five-time Wimbledon winner Serena Williams (13/8 title favourite with Coral) highlights the women’s section on day three in the second round, but she was given a few troubled moments in her opener against young Russian qualifier Margarita Gasparyan.
Recent French Open champion and three-Grand Slam holder Williams (1/33), who eventually came through with ease 6-4 6-1 now faces Hungarian Timea Babos (10/1), and should see her off with relative ease.
Her older sister, Venus, who has also won here five times before, meanwhile, was in absolute dominant mood as she beat American compatriot Madison Brengle 6-0 6-0 in just 42 minutes.
The 35-year-old (1/8 odds-on favourite) is on course to meet Serena in the fourth round, but must first take on Kazakhstan youngster Yulia Putintseva (9/2).
Maria Sharapova (1/25), meanwhile, is up against Dutchwoman Richel Hogenkamp (9/1) next, after defeating home hope Johanna Konta at a loss of just four games.
The Russian, who won Wimbledon once as a teenager in 2004, is third-favourite at 9/1 to claim her second SW19 crown.
Other top names in action on Wednesday in the women’s draw include Victoria Azarenka (1/12), Ana Ivanovic (2/9) and Lucie Safarova (2/9), who face respective opponents Kirsten Flipkens (6/1), Bethanie Mattek-Sands (3/1) and Hsieh Su-wei (3/1).
Elsewhere, Swiss rising star and recent Nottingham International winner Belinda Bencic is odds-on favourite at 1/5 to beat Anna-Lena Friedsam (10/3). Bencic, 18, surprisingly lost the first set against Tsvetana Pironkova in the first round, and is 11/4 to triumph 2-1 again.
Another 18-year-old features on day three of the Championships, as last year’s Junior Wimbledon winner Jelena Ostapenko (9/4) takes on Kristina Mladenovic (1/3) after shocking ninth seed Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-0.
Latvian wildcard Ostapenko is a very tempting 5/1 shout to beat 22-year-old Frenchwoman Mladenovic 2-0 as well.
Elsewhere, there is an all-American clash between rising star Sloane Stephens (1/5) and Lauren Davis (10/3), while Agnieszka Radwanska’s younger sister Urszula (2/1) faces a tough test against Samantha Stosur (4/11).
Britain’s Heather Watson, meanwhile, will be looking to reach the third round for the second time in her career, after eventually coming through her match with French 32 seed Caroline Garcia after their match was delayed to the next day. Guernsey-born Watson now faces Daniela Hantuchova.
The likes of Andrea Petkovic, Sara Errani and Karolina Pliskova also feature on day three.