LONDON — The bigger the tournament, the better for American Sloane Stephens.
The 17th-seeded American advanced to Wimbledon’s fourth round for the first time Saturday, rallying for a 7-6 (3), 0-6, 6-4 victory over 196th-ranked qualifier Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic.
Stephens has now advanced to the second week of all three of the year’s Grand Slams.
At the Australian Open in January, Stephens secured her first Grand Slam semifinal berth, upsetting none other than Serena Williams to get there.
At the recent French Open, Stephens made it to the fourth round before falling to Maria Sharapova.
“It’s been good,” Stephens said. “I played the slams well. I’m excited to be in the second week again.”
SAVVY VETERANS: Stephens and some other young players have been winning this year at Wimbledon, but it’s also been an impressive run so far for the thirty-something crowd.
Led by 31-year-old Serena Williams and 35-year-old Tommy Haas, nine of the 32 players remaining at the year’s third Grand Slam are 30 or older.
That’s the most in the round of 16 at a Grand Slam since the 1977 Australian Open and ties the Wimbledon record in the open era, first set in 1975.
ASSISTANCE NEEDED: Former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro says he needs to consult a doctor after injuring his left knee and ankle during a third-round victory at Wimbledon.
Del Potro overcame a scary late fall to beat Grega Zemlja of Slovenia 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-0 Saturday, but said he twisted his ankle and hyper-extended his knee.
Del Potro hurt his left leg when chasing down a drop shot in the third set, skidding awkwardly on the grass and tumbling face first.
He received treatment after taking a 4-0 lead and took a medical timeout after the next game, and returned to break Zemlja again to clinch the win.
The eighth-seeded Argentine said “it was really painful. I was a little scared at that moment. ... Now I start to feel something in my knee and my ankle, as well. I will check with the doctor very soon.”