Wimbledon: Serena Williams defeats Kristina Mladenovic and advances to the fourth round

Serena Williams defeated Kristina Mladenovic in the third round at Wimbledon. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

In her second major tournament since giving birth to her daughter, Serena Williams defeated Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 7-6 (2) in the third round of Wimbledon. After withdrawing from the French Open last month due to a pectoral injury, Williams looked powerful and confident on the court.

Serena looked like her old self

There were a few scary moments in the early going, with Williams at one point down 5-3 in the first set and Mladenovic getting the better of her. But Williams somehow found a higher gear after winning the first set on a double fault, and was never that far behind again.

That’s not to say it was easy, though. After the double fault in the first set, Mladenovic appeared to lose her confidence. But she stormed back and gave Williams a tough battle. The second set went back and forth, with both players getting advantages before finally it went to a tiebreak. Serena dominated the tiebreak 7-2 and won the match, raising her arms to the sky as her victory was sealed.

Williams only needed two sets to defeat all three of her opponents thus far. In the first round, she beat Arantxa Rus 7-5, 6-3, and defeated Viktoriya Tomova 6-1, 6-4. Her match on Friday was her 17th straight Wimbledon win.

Serena heads to the fourth round

Next up for Williams is Evgeniya Rodina, ranked No. 120 in the world. Williams looks better than she has since returning from the birth of her daughter, but she shouldn’t sleep on Rodina. Rodina shocked the tennis world with her third round win over 10th seeded Madison Keys

What’s crazy is that it might get a tiny big easier from here for Williams. Many of the top seeded women have already been eliminated from the tournament. Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens, Elina SvitolinaCaroline Garcia, and Petra Kvitová, ranked No. 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8 respectively, are already done at Wimbledon. If Serena goes farther, those are serious competitors she won’t have to face.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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