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United States’ Lauren Davis returns to Germany’s Angelique Kerber in a Women’s singles match during day four of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)  
United States’ Lauren Davis returns to Germany’s Angelique Kerber in a Women’s singles match during day four of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)  |Associated Press

Wimbledon 1st Saturday women: Abrams picks the 3rd round -- Barty v Dart, Davis v Suarez Navarro, Bencic v Riske, Kvitova, Bertens, and more

Matches start at 6 am EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Wimbledon 2019
Women’s Third Round
Saturday, July 6, 2019

Lauren Davis over Carla Suarez Navarro
More so a wish than a well thought-out determination, I’d sure love to see little Lauren Davis come away with a third win and move into the Round of 16 in London. Davis has had a nice run, starting out with her win over Kateryna Kozlova and then her giant-killer imitation as she knocked out defending champion Angie Kerber 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 to slide into this third round encounter. Navarro, for her part beat former Grand Slam champion Sam Stosur and then Paula Parmentier 7-6, 7-6 (who previously dismissed Maria Sharapova). Davis, a 25-year-old, 5’2” fireball from Ohio, still has all the desire she showed in Juniors, but none of the added height that she prayed she would have added by now. She’s still been able to pocket $2,577,000 in prize money -- not to mention remind me of the role of Kim McAfee from “Bye, Bye, Birdie” -- and .a win here will move Davis into her first Grand Slam Round of 16 and guarantee herself at least 176,000 pounds. Although Davis is single-minded about her tennis I wonder if she’s flexible socially and would think that someone old, slow, gray, and overweight might be considered a good catch. Probably not, but I hope she wins anyway.

Barty over Dart
We’re in the Round of 32 for the ladies, and they’re already gearing up for the Barty Party, as Ash Barty is putting in the work required to achieve the Channel Double. British homegirl Harriet Dart finds herself in the Third Round after comfortable wins over American Christina McHale and Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia. The 23-year-old from Rio (Maia) boasts an effective left-handed delivery, made more so because the serves come down from their perch atop her 6’0” frame, but Dart excelled in their match partly because of the cheers of her many hometown fans. Unfortunately for Dart, her run ends here, with the very popular and effective Barty. It may seem improbable now, but these two will have a lifetime of matches left to play, which will make the beginning of this rivalry one to behold. This one will go to Barty, who is incredibly versatile, as well as being one of the better competitors on the WTA Tour.

Bencic over Riske
American Allison Riske has raised her game to match the grass court season, and she has come away with memorable wins, and penetrating, first-rate grass court aggressiveness. But Bencic is the better of the two players, and I’d be shocked if Riske were able to convert her high level of play into a surprise victory over the Swiss Miss. Bencic has chosen to add some shots that have razor-thin margins of error as the mantle of #1 ranked Women in Switzerland was passed from Martina Hingis down to Bencic. The fans love her game, and she is a great athlete, and all that will spell doom for the 25-year-old American, even with Bencic’s small margins.

Kvitova over Linette
Linette took out American teenage sensation Amanda Anisimova, and that’s good enough for me to believe in her as a player. That means that Magda Linette will benefit from fan adulation and a hearty dose of confidence, but it won’t be enough to overcome the lefty delivery and very solid defense that the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova presents as an ultimate challenge to her competitors on the WTA Tour. Kvitova should move on easily.

Bertens over Strycova
Wimbledon seeded Kiki Bertens as #4, and she better be ready to justify it against Barbora Strycova, who has the weapons to beat her. I think Strycova, another on a long list of great Czech women, will fight but not win, and will look forward to the U.S. Open as the place where she’ll come out of her 33-year-old shadow and make a name for herself on the global stage.

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