Venus will retire on her own terms


LONDON -- Venus Williams won her second-round match decisively Wednesday after winning six consecutive points in a first-set tiebreaker 7-6 (4), 6-1 over Japan's Kurumi Nara.

Williams will next play 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, marking only the second time in the last 10 Grand Slams in which Williams has reached the third round. Perhaps that's why the 34-year-old has been asked so much about retirement lately. Whatever the reason, the five-time Wimbledon champ wants no part of it.

"No, I definitely don't think that way," Williams said when asked if she ever walks on the court here thinking it might be her last singles match at Wimbledon. "That pretty much sums it up."

Still the questions persist, and understandably, given her ongoing battle with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease. So what keeps her going?

"Well, I don't like watching [tennis] on TV," said Williams, who lost in the first round in 2012, her last Wimbledon. "I want to be out there. I'm not about the easy thing. Life is a challenge. For me, when I leave tennis, I want it to be on my own terms. I want to know that I rose to every challenge.

"I want to look back with no regrets."

Overtime -- again -- for Querrey an Tsonga

If there was a match that seemed destined for five sets, it was the second-round confrontation between No. 14 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and American Sam Querrey.

Sure enough, the two players who were forced to finish suspended matches the day before, went the distance Wednesday. It was so good that when the chair umpire announced the match was suspended because of the gathering darkness at a quarter past nine the rabid crowd around Court 2 booed -- and the two players objected strenuously.

And so they actually continued for two more games.

But with the score tied at 9-all in the fifth set at 9:23 local time, there was no room for maneuvering. And so, for the second time in two matches, both men will be forced to return the next day -- in this case, Thursday -- to complete a suspended match.

Querrey will serve with the match level at 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (4), 3-6, 9-9.

Tsonga, for the record, saved a match point trying to get to 6-all in the fifth.

This was a titanic thriller with some searing serving. Tsonga, the 29-year-old Frenchman and a two-time semifinalist here, leads the ace count 34-30. As heavy as they hit the ball, it's been a clean match, too. Tsonga has already stroked an amazing 90 winners, against only 31 unforced errors. Querrey's numbers are about the same: 83 and 23.

Incredibly, in 63 service games there have been only two breaks of serve.

Querrey, the 26-year-old who reached the fourth round here four years ago, is trying to advance to the third -- where he could be joined by fellow Americans No. 9-seeded John Isner, Jack Sock and Denis Kudla on Thursday.

Doing the white thing

The All England Club will be even whiter this fortnight, if that is possible.

Tournament referee Andrew Jarrett has warned the players that the all-white rule for apparel will be enforced more strictly than ever before.

There will be no echo of Tatiana Golovin's arresting red knickers (circa 2007), Serena Williams' lovely lavender headband (2012) or Roger Federer's loud orange sneaker soles from a year ago. Any player wishing to emulate these Wimbledon classics will be escorted to the referee's office where a "supply of suitable clothing" awaits.

No player will be allowed to display a swath of color more than one centimeter thick on shirts, shorts or dresses, and the ban extends to undergarments, even when revealed "due to perspiration."

This is the biggest crackdown since 1995, when the club amended the rule that had previously been "predominantly white" to the present "almost entirely white."

A royal treat

If the first title defense of Andy Murray was described by one British tabloid as a "clinical dissection" well, then, what was this?

The No. 3-seeded Murray dispatched Slovenia's Blaz Rola 6-1, 6-1, 6-0 -- in a sporty 84 minutes -- and advanced to the third round. Murray has lost all of 12 games in the minimum six sets.

The real news was that the Duchess of Cornwall left her seat in the royal box on Centre Court and attended Murray's match on Court No. 1. When Murray threw his sweaty wrist bands into the crowd, he very nearly hit the Duchess.

Was he aiming for her?

"No," Murray said. "I've been doing that for about seven, eight years. I wasn't trying to throw to anyone in particular."

Stak Man scores again

This wasn't quite as momentous as last year's shocker over a seven-time Wimbledon champion, but it wasn't half bad.

Sergiy Stakhovsky, a 28-year-old from Ukraine, wrecked the reigning French Open semifinalist, Ernests Gulbis, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (5). The No. 12 seed went without a service break, and Stakhovsky was exceptionally clean, stroking 34 winners and only eight unforced errors.

Last year, despite an 0-20 record against top-10 players, Stakhovsky sent Federer home, which ended the Swiss champion's streak of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals. Stakhovsky equals his best Wimbledon effort ever and now takes on the winner of Jeremy Chardy- Marinko Matosevic.


Tuesday, No. 7 seed Jelena Jankovic crashed out in the first round. A day later, it was No. 7 seed David Ferrer in the second round, falling to Andrey Kuznetsov 6-7 (5), 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a match that ran 3 hours, 12 minutes ... Three of the top women's seeds breezed through Wednesday: No. 2 Li Na hammered Yvonne Meusburger 6-2, 6-2; No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska beat Casey Dellacqua 6-4, 6-0; and No. 6 Petra Kvitova took down Mona Barthel 6-2, 6-0. Meanwhile, Venus and Serena Williams won their first-round doubles match in scratchy fashion, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 over Oksana Klashniko and Olga Savchuk a team from two republics of the former Soviet Union.

-- Melissa Isaacson contributed to this story