LONDON • Seven-time champion Serena Williams reached the fourth round at Wimbledon for the 16th time yesterday, before joking she feared that she would have "performance anxiety" when she teamed up with Andy Murray in the mixed doubles event.
The 37-year-old American defeated Germany's Julia Gorges 6-3, 6-4 and goes on to face Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro tomorrow for a place in the quarter-finals.
Before that, however, she played her mixed doubles first-round match with Murray against Germany's Andreas Mies and Alexa Guarachi of Chile later yesterday.
The result of their match was not available at press time.
"I feel like I have a little bit of performance anxiety," said Williams after her victory on Court 1.
"It's such a buzz going around about me and Andy now, that I've got nervous. I wanted to play mixed because I've only played just about 15 matches so far this year."
The star duo's debut as a mixed doubles pair was originally scheduled for Friday but, with singles matches on Centre Court and Court 1 running late, the All England Club decided to postpone the widely anticipated match to yesterday.
Eleventh seed Williams, who defeated Gorges in last year's semi-finals but lost to Angelique Kerber in the final, is also bidding to equal Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
It was her fifth win in five meetings with Gorges and just her second victory over a top-20 player this year. "It's been an arduous year for me, so every match I'm hoping to improve tons. Every time I get out there, I try," added Williams, who had a knee problem which affected her season.
In yesterday's other key match, world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty reached the last 16 for the first time as she overwhelmed British wild card Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-1.
The 23-year-old Australian, seeking to become the first Wimbledon women's champion from her country since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won her second title in 1980, will play unseeded American Alison Riske in the last 16.
"I felt like I served really well today," said the French Open champion. "I did my best to get a quick start. It's a first for me (entering the second week), but really excited to be here in singles for the first time."
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova also progressed to the last 16 after the Czech cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Poland's Magda Linette.
In the men's draw, Kei Nishikori equalled Ai Sugiyama's record of four appearances in the last 16 of Wimbledon by a Japanese player as he dismissed American journeyman Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
Two-time champion Rafael Nadal eased into the last 16 for the ninth time with a comfortable 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Wimbledon takes a break today as it has always been a tradition that no play shall be held on the "Middle Sunday" of the Grand Slam.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, DPA