Heather Watson came within a whisker of one of the great Wimbledon upsets, but was unable to stop Serena Williams’ march towards the calendar grand slam.
Watson faced down the biggest match of her career forcing herself to believe “everybody’s human” when taking on 20-time grand slam champion Williams.
The 23-year-old was so close to realising that mantra, pushing the reigning Australian and French Open queen the distance only for Williams to prevail 6-2 4-6 7-5 and set up a last-16 tussle with sister Venus.
An almost-tearful Serena Williams left Centre Court admitting Watson “should have won the match”.
“She was playing so good there was nothing I could do,” Williams said.
“She played unbelievable and really I think she should have won the match. She was up two breaks (in the final set).
“She really gave her all.”
Modern great Williams, still just on course to land all four major trophies in the same season, believes Watson must aim for tennis’ very top.
When asked if world number 59 Watson can crack the top 20, Williams said: “Absolutely, even beyond the top 20.
“She’s playing really well.
“I think she should set her goals higher because she can definitely do better.”
to trade triumph for defeat; but Williams was right when challenging Watson to set higher aims than the world’s top 20.
Maria Sharapova crushed Irina-Camelia Begu with a routine straight-sets victory to reach Wimbledon’s last 16 for the 10th time in 13 years.
The 2004 champion bombed out in the second round in 2008, 2009 and 2013, but reached the fourth round for the second year running.
The five-time grand slam champion and fourth seed was in the mood to start her weekend early, completing an all-but fuss-free 6-4 6-3 victory.
Novak Djokovic cruised through to the fourth round of Wimbledon as Bernard Tomic posed him few problems on Centre Court.
The top seed and defending champion won 6-3 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 31 minutes against his Australian opponent. Next for Serbian Djokovic, on Monday, will be the big-serving South African Kevin Anderson.