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Novak Djokovic. Picture credit: Dennis Grombkowski / GETTY IMAGES

Novak Djokovic. Picture credit: Dennis Grombkowski / GETTY IMAGES

Serena Williams. Picture credit: Stefan Wermuth / REUTERS

Serena Williams. Picture credit: Stefan Wermuth / REUTERS

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Novak Djokovic. Picture credit: Dennis Grombkowski / GETTY IMAGES

AN air of calm descended at Wimbledon on 'Tranquil Thursday' as Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams avoided the trail of destruction that had decimated the field at the All England Club on day three of the championships.

After men's champion Roger Federer and Williams' two closest rivals for the Rosewater Dish, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, perished during a 'Wednesday Wipeout', it was left to the world number ones to restore a semblance of normality.

Williams did just that by bullying her way past Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-2 in the second round and then summed up what a daunting task her rivals face every time they tackle her.

"I wouldn't want to play me at 21 or 31!" quipped the 31-year-old, who is looking to draw level with Federer's haul of 17 grand slam titles.

Williams' iron grip on the women's game has reached such a level that even Andy Murray fancies taking on the American.

Murray, second-ranked in the highly competitive men's game, has seen enough to make him think the ultra-athletic Williams has the tools to give him a match, challenging her to a showdown in Las Vegas. Williams is game, but she is not feeling confident.

"He wants to play me?" she said after moving into the third round. "Is he sure? That would be fun. I doubt I'd win a point, but that would be fun.

Showdown

"He's probably one of the top three people I definitely don't want to play.

"But maybe we can have a little bit of a showdown," Williams added.

Williams was declared the favourite for the women's singles title before a ball had been struck in anger this week and, after Wednesday's chaos, it seems no one will be able to topple her.

At 42, Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm will have nothing to lose when she tries to snap the American's 33-match winning streak in their third-round clash tomorrow.

"I just hope I can survive for more than one hour," said the Japanese warrior after becoming the oldest female to reach the Wimbledon third round in the professional era with a 6-4 7-5 victory over Romanian Alexandra Cadantu.

Djokovic was just nine the last time Date-Krumm reached the same stage at Wimbledon and yesterday the closed Centre Court roof allowed him to dodge the rain that crippled the rest of the late afternoon programme as he completed a 7-6 (2) 6-3 6-1 win over qualifier Bobby Reynolds.

Reynolds' exit meant that for the first time since 1912 no American man has reached the third round.


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