Serena advances to third round
LONDON -- Serena Williams sailed past Wimbledon's wave of upsets and now will face an opponent more than a decade older than her.
The five-time champion beat Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2 on Thursday, avoiding the sort of early exit that has sent many top players tumbling from the tournament.
Next up for the 31-year-old Williams is Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm, who at 42 became the oldest woman to reach the third round at Wimbledon in the Open era.
Date-Krumm beat Alexandra Cadantu of Romania 6-4, 7-5 to advance this far at Wimbledon for the first time since 1996, when she went to the semifinals.
"I have so much respect for her," said Williams, who became the third-oldest woman in the Open era to win a Grand Slam tournament when she captured this year's French Open. "I think she's so inspiring to be playing such high-level tennis at her age. And she's a real danger on the grass court, I know that. I definitely will have to be ready."
Date-Krumm is the second-oldest woman to win a match at Wimbledon after Martina Navratilova, who was 47 when she reached the second round in 2004. Date-Krumm took a 12-year break from tennis before returning in 2008.
"I don't know how she's able to do so well," said Williams. "I didn't see myself playing at 31. I definitely do not see myself playing at 42."
Age certainly doesn't seem to be slowing Williams down, though.
A day after Roger Federer led the list of big names to go out in the second round, the top-ranked Williams never looked in danger against the 100th-ranked French qualifier.
Williams broke twice in each set to extend her career-best winning streak to 33 matches as she aims for a sixth Wimbledon title. Her two main rivals, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, were eliminated Wednesday.
The 19-year-old Garcia is seen as a potential future star, with a game especially suited for grass. But she couldn't force a single break point against the American's strong serve on Court 1. She also lost to Williams in the second round of the French Open last month.
"It's always difficult to play Serena, but I played much better than in the French Open because maybe I know her a little bit and I know what is going to happen," Garcia said.
Williams is among those expecting to see a lot more from Garcia in big tournaments.
"She's incredibly promising. She does everything well," Williams said. "Her serve is amazing, so I knew it would be a good match on the grass."
After that wild Wednesday, with seven players retiring or withdrawing with injuries, a sense of normalcy returned to the All England Club. There was not an upset to be seen, only the familiar sight of rain covers being pulled over the courts.
After three days of dry weather, showers forced the first delay at this year's tournament, with the retractable roof closed over Centre Court. Agnieszka Radwanska, last year's runner-up, returned about 30 minutes later to wrap up a 6-1, 6-3 win over Mathilde Johansson of France under the roof.
No. 6 Li Na of China looked in trouble for a while before overcoming a poor second set to beat Simona Halep of Romania 6-2, 1-6, 6-0. Halep's lower back was treated after the first set, but she still dominated the second. Li, the former French Open champ, found her stride again in the third.
"Welcome to the crazy women's tennis tour," Li said.
Keys, an 18-year-old born in Rock Island, Ill., saved the only break point she faced while converting 3 of 10 on Barthel's serve.
The 52nd-ranked Keys also defeated Barthel on grass in a tuneup tournament at Birmingham, England, two weeks ago.
It's the second time in the past three Grand Slam tournaments that Keys has made it to the third round. She lost at that stage at the Australian Open in January.
Bidding to reach the round of 16 for the first time at a major championship, Keys will face Radwanska.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.