London: Andy Roddick and Venus Williams had the Stars and Stripes flying proudly over Centre Court as the two Americans powered into the fourth round at Wimbledon Friday.
Barely an hour after Roddick had qualified for the last 16 of the menís singles for the first time, Venus joined him at the same stage of the womenís competition with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Russiaís Nadia Petrova.
The fourth seed, champion here in 2000 and 2001 before being dethroned last year by sister Serena, will now get her chance to avenge her fourth-round defeat at the French Open by Petrovaís compatriot, Vera Zvonareva. Vera hurried into the weekend break, downing Iroda Tulyaganova 6-3, 7-5.
Roddick was in bullish mood after his third straight sets victory of the tournament, a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4 dismissal of Spanish claycourter Tommy Robredo. ďIím starting to believe in myself and Iím definitely here to win this tournament,Ē the 20-year-old declared.
Despite his current form and the fact that he had never lost to Robredo in four previous meetings, Roddick started the match tentatively. But after winning the first set tie-break, there was only going to be one winner.
The win sets up an exciting fourth-round clash between Roddick and Thailandís Paradorn Srichaphan, who reached the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
Srichaphan advanced by ending the hopes of Spainís Rafael Nadal, the 17-year-old who was bidding to become the youngest player since Bjorn Borg in 1973 to make the last 16 at Wimbledon. After having to battle through five sets in his first two matches, Asiaís top player completed a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win to the delight of the numerous Thai fans.
Croatian giant-killer Ivo Karlovic, who defeated top seed Lleyton Hewitt in the first round, lost his battle of giants with Max Mirnyi. The Belarussian won 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) to set up a clash with Swede Jonas Bjorkman.
Swiss fourth seed Roger Federer entered the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 win over Mardy Fish of the US.
In the womenís section, former champion Lindsay Davenport coasted into the fourth round with an effortless 6-2, 6-2 win over Zimbabweís Cara Black. Second seed Kim Clijsters of Belgium continued to sweep past the opposition, her latest victim being American Samantha Reeves, whom she bludgeoned 6-1, 6-2.
In another match, Shinobu Asagoe of Japan continued with her dream run beating Italyís Francesca Schiavone 7-5, 6-2. Japanís Ai Sugiyama, seeded 13, ground out a dogged 6-4, 6-4 victory over Nathalie Dechy of France, to avenge defeat by the Frenchwoman at the Eastbourne warm-up tournament. The 27-year-old Sugiyama had also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 1996.
Robredo, who made great strides at the French Open this year when he beat Hewitt and three-time champion Gustavo Kuerten to reach the quarter finals, simply could not match Roddick on the fast lawns.
Srichaphan, who endured two exhausting five-set hauls to reach the third round, can now look forward to long rest before Mondayís fourth round where he can expect more fireworks.
In other menís matches, ninth-seeded German Rainer Schuettler overcame American Todd Martin 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (1-7), 6-1, 7-5, Bjorkman beat another American, Justin Gimelstob, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.
Eighth-seeded Dutchman Sjeng Schalken entered the fourth round at the expense of Romaniaís Victor Hanescu. The scoreline read 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).
Leander Paes and Czech partner David Rikl were leading the German pair of Nicolas Kiefer and David Prinosil 6-4, 6-4 when bad weather stopped the menís doubles second-round match. Paes and Rikl had beaten Juan Carlos Ferrero and Juan Ignacio Carrasco in the first round.