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Wimbledon: No one can break me, warns Serena Williams

Champion sends out powerful message to rivals after surviving Wimbledon scare

By Paul Newman

Serena Williams declared "mentally no one can break me" after clawing to a three-set victory over Christina McHale at Wimbledon.

The defending champion turned a final-set deficit on its head to prevail 6-7 (7/9) 6-2 6-4 to book a third-round meeting with Annika Beck.

The 34-year-old battled through shortly after sister Venus had ground her way past Russia's talented teenager Darya Kasatkina in another tough three-set encounter.

"I know mentally no one can break me, it takes a lot to break me mentally," said Serena.

"I know that down a break in the third I was going to have to put my mind to it, and that's what I did."

This time last year Serena Williams claimed her sixth Wimbledon crown to hold all four major titles at the same time.

McHale seized an early break in the third set to lead 2-0, only for fellow American Williams to fight back.

Both Williams sisters endured testing afternoons on a Friday beset by relentless rain breaks.

Rain forced Venus Williams off court when poised at match point in her clash with 29th seed Kasatkina. Even that could not deny the 36-year-old her 79th career singles victory in SW19, however.

She prevailed 7-5 4-6 10-8 to edge home and book a fourth-round clash with the winner of the match between Carina Witthoeft and Angelique Kerber.

Kasatkina was born 52 days before Venus played her first singles match at Wimbledon, back in 1997, but the 2014 French Open girls' champion levelled the age gap in an engaging Court One contest.

As Williams sized up her second match point, leading 7-6 in the final set, a heavy downpour forced the players off court.

Kasatkina impressively stretched the contest further on its resumption, only for Williams to grind home on her next opportunity for victory - and then meet that triumph with relief.

"I just thought, 'It's got to be something out of a movie'," said Williams.

"It wasn't easy, she's such a competitor and she was playing so well today.

"It was tough to play against someone who was so inspired, and that was my biggest problem today outside of the rain.

"I'm not sure I've ever played a 10-8 set, but you just have to think 'hold serve', but that's easier said than done."

Meanwhile, Tara Moore's Wimbledon adventure is over but the 23-year-old Briton could be proud of her battling performance in a 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 defeat to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Moore, the world No 227, frequently surprised the former US and French Open champion with her bold attacking play. The last British player left in singles competition, who was playing here courtesy of a wild card, hit 30 winners to the Russian's 20, though her tally of 32 unforced errors - 15 more than her opponent - was an equally telling statistic.

Kuznetsova made a flying start, winning the first two games before the players had to leave the court because of rain. The world No 14 maintained her grip when they returned, winning the first set with something to spare. Moore, however, came flying out of the blocks at the start of the second set. Going for broke, she quickly established a commanding lead before levelling the match.

Kuznetsova won the first three games of the deciding set, but Moore refused to buckle. The Briton won three of the next four games and had Kuznetsova at 15-40 when the Russian served for the match at 5-3. Kuznetsova, however, steadied the ship and after Moore had saved a first match point with a bold forehand return she netted an attempted drop shot in the second.

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