Svetlana Kuznetsova cruised to a comfortable victory over Polona Hercog in the third round of the Wimbledon Championships after a close first set, progressing to her second consecutive appearance in the second week of competition at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
Kuznetsova takes advantage of a slip-up to take the set
Hercog made the best possible start to the match as she came up with two consecutive aces and managed to hold her serve to love in the opening game, looking on fire. Kuznetsova then followed suit as she produced some strong forehands to get on the scoreboard and seemed to be very solid on her serves. Hercog was untouchable on her serves as the Russian was unable to come up with good returns, allowing the Slovenian to win her eighth straight point on her serve.
It seemed to be a serve-dominated clash when neither of the players was able to make a breakthrough in their return games, with Kuznetsova saving a crucial break point in the sixth game to eke out the tough service hold, remaining on serve. The first break of serve finally arrived upon us as the Slovenian played her only sloppy game of the whole set, throwing in two unfortunate double faults and gifted the lone break of the first set to Kuznetsova, who earned the golden opportunity to serve out the set. With Hercog still unable to break the duck on the return, Kuznetsova successfully served out the first set 6-4 after just 39 minutes of play, despite not playing her best tennis.
Kuznetsova serves a bagel to clinch the win
Losing the tight first set, Hercog lost the rhythm on her serve and failed to earn any momentum as she threw in a shocking four consecutive unforced errors to gift Kuznetsova the break of serve in the opening game of the second set, allowing the Russian to take a lead of a set and a break. Winning her eighth straight point of the set, Kuznetsova easily consolidated the break to love as she headed towards a straight sets victory, with Hercog slowly faltering from the match. Hercog’s woes continued as she failed to convert a game point and allowed Kuznetsova to extend her lead further, opening up a double break advantage with the win already within her reach.
It was only a matter of time for the seventh seed to close out the win when she easily held serve once more, leading by a total of four games as Hercog had a mountain to climb if she were to mount an improbable comeback from being 0-4 down. Kuznetsova made no mistakes while having the huge lead when she broke serve for the fourth straight time to earn the golden opportunity to serve out the match at 5-0 up. Overcoming some nerves from 40-0 up, Kuznetsova saved a break point and endured through the tough service game, sealing the win after just 64 minutes as she strolled to the victory after losing just a mere four games.
Stats Corner: Kuznetsova was more solid and consistent
Kuznetsova put in an excellent display as she won 68 percent of first serve points and also an incredible 71 percent of points on her second serve throughout the match. Hercog was impressive on her first serves, winning 67 percent of first service points, but she was too poor on her second as she won just five points off them in the 64 minutes affair. A notable statistic is that Hercog only managed to claim four points on her service in the second set. Hercog was the more powerful player on the court, but an overwhelming 19 unforced errors proved costly as it was too much for the 15 winners to cover. Whereas, Kuznetsova hit 13 winners to go along with 11 unforced errors, and she managed to win the first set with a negative difference of -5 as one poor game from Hercog was enough to decide the outcome.