EFELondon

Polish world No. 1 Iga Swiatek dropped a set in Wimbledon action on Thursday, but she found her game in time to extend her winning streak to 37 matches and advance to the third round.

Fast-rising American Cori "Coco" Gauff, who lost to Swiatek in the Roland Garros final, also booked her place in the tournament's round of 32 with a straight-set victory.

Although grass is her least favorite surface, Swiatek was the heavy favorite on the No. 1 Court against the Netherlands' Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove and imposed her will after a rocky start to win the first set 6-4.

But she lost serve for the third time in the match midway through the second set and was unable to recover in time to avoid a decider.

The Polish star steadied the ship in the third set, earning a crucial break of serve in the fourth game of the third set to seize the momentum for good and then wrapping up a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory in just over two hours with one last service hold.

"I would say the grass is pretty tricky for me, I'm not going to lie. I guess you can see that I'm not playing maybe as efficiently as on other surfaces. Basically my confidence is getting better overall. But this tournament is tricky and I'm still feeling out how to play the best game here," the 21-year-old Swiatek, whose 37-match winning streak is a 21st-century record, said after reaching the third round at the All England Club for the second time in three appearances.

Her third-round opponent will be veteran Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, who defeated American Claire Liu 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday.

The 11th-seeded Gauff, meanwhile, earned a decisive 6-2, 6-3 second-round victory on Centre Court over Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu thanks to a dominating performance on serve.

The American struck 10 aces, won 85 percent of her first-serve points and did not face a single break point in the match.

Buzarnescu managed to hold serve three straight times to start the second set, but her fate was sealed when she was broken in the eighth game.

"I wasn't nervous walking on the court," Gauff said afterward. "This is the first time I walked on Centre Court and wasn't nervous."

She figures to face stiffer opposition in Saturday's third round when she takes on 20th-seeded countrywoman Amanda Anisimova, who rallied to defeat American Lauren Davis 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Three veterans with eyes on the prize also took the court on Thursday.

Romania's Simona Halep, the 2019 champion, defeated Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 6-4 in what was the Belgian 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist's final career match and the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova, the 2011 and 2014 champion, ousted Romania's Ana Bogdan 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).

But sixth-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova, last year's runner-up, fell to home-crowd favorite Katie Boulter of the United Kingdom 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 on Centre Court.

In other women's second-round action, fourth-seeded Spaniard Paula Badosa cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Romania's Irina Bara to set up a showdown against Kvitova, eight-seeded American Jessica Pegula downed Harriet Dart of the United Kingdom 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 and fast-rising 19-year-old Chinese hopeful Qinwen Zheng eased past Belgium's Greet Minnen 6-4, 6-1.

Canadian 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, however, fell to 17th-seeded Kazakh Elena Rybakina 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). EFE

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