Watson & Bedene beaten in third round

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Britain’s Bedene beaten by Muller – five best shots
Wimbledon 2017 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 3-16 July Starts: 11:30 BST
Live: Coverage across BBC TV, BBC Radio and BBC Sport website with further coverage on Red Button, Connected TVs and app. Click for full times.

Britain’s Wimbledon singles hopes were reduced to two players after Heather Watson and Aljaz Bedene both lost in the third round.

Watson, 25, went down 3-6 6-1 6-4 on Centre Court to Victoria Azarenka, the Belarusian making her Grand Slam return after giving birth in December.

Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller, the 16th seed, beat Bedene 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 6-4 on court two to reach the fourth round.

Andy Murray and Johanna Konta are also in action on Friday.

Four British players reached the third round of Wimbledon for the first time since 1997.

Watson suffers again on Centre Court

The opening match on Centre Court pitted world number 683 Azarenka against number 102 Watson – albeit a two-time Grand Slam champion against a former British number one.

Two years on from her epic defeat by Serena Williams on the same stage, Watson again went down in three dramatic sets to one of the top players.

Azarenka, 27, is a former number one but was playing just her fifth match since returning to tennis following the birth of her son Leo.

Watson looked like the player with more matches under her belt in the early stages, breaking serve straight away and moving into a 4-1 lead before clinching the opening set after 34 minutes.

Hopes of a swift win quickly disappeared as the Belarusian began to find her range and Watson’s forehand faltered, Azarenka racing through six of seven games to level.

In a tense final set, Azarenka got the first break in a 10-minute game at 3-3 only for Watson to hit straight back for 4-4.

Nerves were apparent when both players let floating balls drop inside the baseline behind them but Azarenka’s quality came through when it mattered, and she broke serve again with a forehand winner for 5-4.

Watson was angered when the umpire missed her request to challenge a line call but it made no difference as Azarenka served out the victory, and kept her Grand Slam comeback going.

In-form Muller too strong for Bedene

Ace, ace, ace, ace – Muller hits four straight aces

Bedene, 27, had high hopes of reaching the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time, but Muller’s grass-court pedigree proved too much for the British number four.

Muller is enjoying the best season of his career at 34 years old and went into the match with a 10-1 record on grass, including a win over Bedene last month.

The pair shared breaks of serve before Muller edged the tie-break, and he recovered from 2-0 down to take the second after breaking with a forehand winner.

Muller grabbed the decisive break at 3-2 in the third and ended the match with 19 aces and 21 winners at the net.

He will face two-time champion Rafael Nadal or Karen Khachanov in the last 16 on Monday.

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