As the Duchess of Cambridge served up strawberries and cream with the Wimbledon cooks, Iga Swiatek took just 55 minutes to sweep past Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-1 6-0, to reach the round of 16 of The Championships, while Karolina Pliskova advanced with a 6-3 6-3 win over fellow Czech Tereza Martincova and Aryna Sabalenka demolished Colombia’s Maria Camila Ossorio Serrano.
I didn't actually have [any] idea on how to play on grass. This time it's much, much better, so I just developed overall. My skills are just better and it's easier to adjust to any surface when you're just a better tennis player. I grew up, so also mentally I can handle all the challenges. Iga Swiatek
Swiatek was ruthless in dispatching Begu in only her 10th main draw appearance at this level, and has now reached the fourth round or better at 3 of the 4 Grand Slams.
“I feel like I’m playing better and better every match, and I’m actually getting more confidence because I have been on a grass court for some time now…” she said. “I just feel the surface much, much better than at the beginning of the tournament, and during [the] tournament in Eastbourne.
“It’s easier to implement all the tactics that I wasn’t able to implement when I wasn’t feeling comfortable. It’s just easier to lead for me and to be aggressive on court and stay focused all the time.”
The 20-year old Pole did not give her rival any chance, taking the first set in 27 minutes and dropping just 1 game.
Things didn’t improve much for the Romanian in the second either, offering little resistance to the Pole who fought off the infrequent attacks without trouble and pocketed the match after a further 30 minutes.
Swiatek has developed into a vastly superior player in the two short years since she bowed out to Viktorija Golubic at the first hurdle on her debut.
“I didn’t actually have [any] idea on how to play on grass,” Swiatek admitted. “This time it’s much, much better, so I just developed overall.
“My skills are just better and it’s easier to adjust to any surface when you’re just a better tennis player. I grew up, so also mentally I can handle all the challenges.”
The next match for the 2020 French Open champion will be the winner of the contest between Tunisian Ons Jabeur, the 21st seed, and Spain’s Garbiñe Muguruza, seeded 11.
Meanwhile, The Duchess of Cambridge, who is patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, was hearing about how the Club had helped the community during the coronavirus pandemic.
On arrival on Friday morning, she went straight to one of the outside courts, where she watched a doubles match between Briton Jamie Murray and his partner Bruno Soares, who were playing north American duo Nicholas Monroe and Vasek Pospisil.
Seated alongside former British No 1 Tim Henman, the Duchess was also joined by Wimbledon Chief Executive Sally Bolton.
After watching some of the match, she went to the kitchens where she met Executive Chef Adam Fargin, who told her about how the kitchen has been used by the AELTC over the past year to prepare and distribute 200 daily hot meals for the local community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Duchess was also shown around the Wimbledon Museum, where she viewed a portrait of Murray by Maggi Hambling with AELTC Head of Heritage Adam Chadwick.
Meanwhile, the No 8 seed Karolina Pliskova moved into the 4th round for the 3rd straight edition after defeating her countrywoman Tereza Martincova in straight sets after an hour 38 minutes out on No 2 Court on Friday.
The former World No 1 quelled Martincova’s challenge, despite a nearly hour-long opening set filled with protracted games.
30 winners flew off Pliskova’s racket, nearly tripling the winner count from Martincova, and she converted 4 of her 12 chances to break, while her opponent also had a number of opportunities but finished only 1-for-8 on break points.
The pair of Czechs gritted through tough holds in the first 2 games, with Martincova saving 4 break points and Pliskova saving 3, but Pliskova got more chances in the next game, and claimed her 2-1 lead after a long miscue by Martincova on break point.
At 4-2, Pliskova notched an insurance break in another long game for good measure, converting her 4th break point to move ahead 5-2.
Martincova used solid returning to claw one of the breaks back, but Pliskova was undeterred and broke the unseeded player again in the very next game to clinch the set after 55 hard-fought minutes.
In the second, Pliskova fought off 4 break points en route to a hold for 3-2, which proved to be crucial as she broke Martincova in the subsequent game to take a commanding 4-2 lead and eased on to victory from there, storming to triple match point at 5-3 and forcing an errant return with a big serve on the 3rd.
“Yeah, I mean, a bit tough,” Pliskova said in her post-match press conference. “Of course we had a bit longer than maybe I thought or I planned.
“I think the score doesn’t really look the way it was, because I think there were a couple close games. Actually the first two games just took 20 minutes.
“I think she was really playing well. Of course she had nothing to lose, so I think she played a great match, but I thought I did well at the important moments.
“I was holding my serve. Any time it was close situation I think I played really good shots.
“Overall I think all those matches which I played here I think I did quite good job. Super solid, serving well, and playing quite the game I want to play actually.
“Of course there’s always going to be mistakes, but most of the time I think I did things which we want to do and the way I want to play, so so far I think everything is good.”
Pliskova awaits the winner of the No 1 Court match between Liudmila Samsonova and Sloane Stephens.
Elsewhere, 2nd-seeded Aryna Sabalenka comprehensively defeated World No 94 Maria Camila Osorio Serrano from Colombia, 6-0 6-3, also on No 2 Court.
Osario Serrano started the year ranked 186, has made the semi-finals in Belgrade and Charleston, and won her first WTA title in Bogota in April.
She also came through qualifying and took out Ekaterina Alexandrova, the No 32 seed from Russia, and the 19-year-old was also the youngest player left in the draw alongside Coco Gauff.
She was stepping up a significant level against Sabalenka and while both produced their own slew of miscues, she managed to conjure up 6 break point chances in the first set, but the Belarusian saved them all and took the first set without loss.
The second proved to be a different story, with 2 of the 3 games the Colombian earned resulting from breaks of serve, much to her undisguised joy.
Their contrasting styles made for an entertaining match, with Sabalenka nudging 6 foot tall and all about the roar of effort on the walloping power, while Osario Serrano 8 inches shorter at 5ft 4in, delivering disguised drop-shots and smiles in equal measure, making her opponent play one shot more as often as she was able.
At the end of the first set the Colombian needed attention from the trainer on her already heavily-strapped left thigh, although there was no sign in her movement that it was particularly hindering her.
For a place in the quarter-finals, Sabalenka will face No 18 seed Elena Rybakina from Kazakstan, who booked her spot in the 4th round in her debut Wimbledon main draw by beating American Shelby Rogers in 65 minutes, 6-1 6-4.
The pair have played twice on hard courts, with Sabalenka winning both matches in 3 sets, including in the quarter-finals in Abu Dhabi in January.