Nadal scorches into Wimbledon second week

Venus Williams becomes the oldest player to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon in 23 years as the five-time champion defeated Japan's Naomi Osaka.

Photo by: (AFP)
Photo by: (AFP)

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns against Russia's Karen Khachanov during their men's singles third round match on the fifth day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2017.

Rafa Nadal kept up his bid for a third Wimbledon and French Open double, putting on an ominous show to beat Karen Khachanov 6-1 6-4 7-6(3) on Friday on Centre Court and reach the last 16.

The Spanish fourth seed scorched his way through the first set, threatening to sizzle the parched Centre Court grass with the pace of some of his shots, and while the Russian 30th seed regrouped in sets two and three, the damage had been done.

A rejuvenated Nadal, 31, won this year's French Open, his 10th title there, without dropping a set and has kept up the pace at Wimbledon as he aims to covert that red-hot clay form to the grass to claim his first grasscourt slam title since 2010.

Khachanov came close to pushing him into a fourth set, reaching set point in the 12th game of the third set, but Nadal was too strong and accurate at the net and from the baseline. 

Venus oldest player in last-16 for 23 years

Venus Williams became the oldest player to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon in 23 years as the five-time champion defeated Japan's Naomi Osaka 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 on Friday.

At 37 years and 29 days old, Williams is the most senior player to make the fourth round since Martina Navratilova, aged 37 years and 258 days, in 1994.

USA’s Venus Williams celebrates winning the third round match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka. (Reuters)

Navratilova went on to finish as Wimbledon runner-up that year and, given the absence of her sister and defending champion Serena Williams, the world number 11 will believe she can at least emulate that feat.

Osaka was born a month after Venus reached her first US Open final in 1997 and the world number 59 was unable to spring a surprise against one of her childhood idols despite an battling display on Court One.

Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, last won Wimbledon in 2008, but she has enjoyed a late career revival which saw her make the All England Club semi-finals last year and the Australian Open final in January.

She faces Croatian 27th seed Ana Konjuh in the fourth round as she eyes a 13th Wimbledon quarter-final appearance.

TRTWorld and agencies