Coco Vandeweghe Keeps It Clean, Rolls Into Second Week At Wimbledon

LONDON -- Six American women progressed to the third round, the best they've done here at Wimbledon in a decade.

The five in the top half of the draw played Friday, vying for a spot in the second week. Here's how the three not named Williams fared:

Coco Vandeweghe def. Samantha Stosur, 6-2, 6-0

Mastering the art of grass-court tennis is a slowly acquired skill.

Vandeweghe, a 23-year-old from Rancho Santa Fe, California, lost her first-round matches here in 2011 and 2012. Two years ago, it happened again, but she stole a set from Petra Kvitova. In 2014, Vandeweghe fashioned a three-set victory over ascendant Spaniard Garbine Muguruza.

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Coco Vandeweghe's high-powered game is translating quite well on grass.

Now, it is Vandeweghe who is rising -- with a bullet.

She's into the second week here after a forceful 6-2, 6-0 demolition of Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion. Vandeweghe, incredibly, won the match's last 12 games; it was over in 60 minutes.

The No. 47-ranked player entered the match worried not about Stosur, whom she had beaten earlier this year at the Australian Open, but about making a mess of her dress. Ten minutes before the match, she was startled by a sudden nose bleed.

"Don't get it on your whites," she thought. "As long as I don't get anything on my whites, I'm all right."

She was more than that. She won 76 percent of her first-serve points, 80 percent of her points at net and 60 percent of the points served by Stosur.

"I was on top of her service games," Vandeweghe said, "and I kept the pressure on her nonstop."

She is not afraid of confrontation. The niece of Kiki Vandeweghe and granddaughter of Ernie -- both former New York Knicks players -- recently told the media here that Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was "soft" and his salary hurt the team's cap situation.

Against Stosur, Vandeweghe was rock solid.

Lucie Safarova def. Sloane Stephens, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1

Two years ago Stephens trended quite unexpectedly, reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open (as a 19-year-old) and the quarterfinals here at the All England Club.

Last year, the Floridian struggled mightily with expectations. She lost in the first round at Wimbledon and in the second round at the US Open. Back in January, Victoria Azarenka ended Stephens' Australian Open in the first round.

Things have gone considerably better since. Stephens won seven matches combined at Indian Wells and Miami, then reached the fourth round at Roland Garros. She advanced to the semifinals on the grass at Eastbourne and, after winning the first set, seemed poised to roll into the second week here.

But Safarova, a French Open finalist last month, regained her footing and Stephens' next match will come on the hard courts of North America. Safarova, ranked No. 6, reached the semifinals here a year ago, losing to eventual champion Petra Kvitova.

Next up: Coco Vandeweghe.

Belinda Bencic def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 7-5, 7-5

While Serena Williams has been celebrated for her fast start to the 2015 season, Mattek-Sands actually has won one more Grand Slam title. Yes, Serena has won both singles crowns, but Mattek-Sands has collected three, having won both doubles titles with partner Lucie Safarova and the French Open mixed with Mike Bryan.

That didn't help her against Belinda Bencic, an 18-year-old prodigy from Switzerland, who used an injury timeout to cool off the attacking Mattek-Sands' fast start. Trailing 1-4, Bencic called for the trainer, who massaged and taped her right knee. Bencic lost the next game, but rallied to win the last six of the set with a beautifully diverse game.

"I think the key was that I was getting more rhythm," Bencic later said. "In the first set I was definitely thinking too much about her game and her always coming to the net and me panicking when she does it. I think I calmed down a little bit, and I focused on my game and tried just to put the ball in the court."

That ended a nice run for the 30-year-old Mattek-Sands, who won three qualifying matches and then two in the main draw. She and Safarova are the No. 3 seeds in women's doubles and she's No. 1 with Bryan in mixed.

Bencic plays two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka -- a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Kristina Mladenovic -- in Monday's fourth round.

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