London: Serena Williams reached her 14th Wimbledon quarterfinal by overwhelming Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-2 even though she was not at her magnificent best Monday on Court One. It was also easy for third seed Rara Nadal as he swept past Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-2, 6-2
The 37-year-old Serena, aiming for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, produced 19 unforced errors, including a bizarre mistake when she leaned over the net to hit a volley and had the point docked. But she also conjured 21 winners, some of which left the crowd gasping in admiration and her 30-year-old opponent helpless on the other side of the net.
Serena, seeded 11th, had little match practice coming into Wimbledon because of injury and teamed up with Andy Murray in the mixed doubles to get some more playing time.
“I’ve had more matches this week than the past five months but it’s definitely good and I know I can play and I’m now physically better (so) it’s almost a feeling of relief more than anything,” Serena said immediately after coming off court.
Though the Spaniard broke the American’s serve in the second set, she had no answer for Serena’s pounding groundstrokes. Suarez Navarro slipped trying to retrieve the ball to go matchpoint down, then mis-hit a backhand to concede defeat.
Nadal was not pleased when he was seeded third at the grass court championships, despite his status as World No.2, and even less happy when the draw put him on a second round collision course with Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios.
Monday, however, he was all smiles as he enjoyed his quickest workout at this year’s tournament, ending Sousa’s bid to become the first Portuguese to reach the last eight of a Grand Slam with an ace.
Nadal was completely dominant in all the three sets and never faced a breakpoint in the second and third. His blistering forehand had Sousa scampering all through the match.