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Birthday girl Knapp brings Larcher De Brito back to earth

A forehand stroke played by Michelle Larcher De Brito.
by Barry Newcombe
Friday 28 June 2013

Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito carved her place in Wimbledon's history when she defeated former champion Maria Sharapova in the second round

But away from the Centre Court and on more familiar surroundings of Court 17 she was brought back to reality on Friday evening against Italy's Karin Knapp, who won their third-round match 7-5, 6-2 in a rain-interruped contest.

It was the perfect day for Knapp, who was celebrating her 26th birthday and she eventually came through in one hour and 26 minutes, although there was a rain break of more than two hours with Knapp leading 7-5, 1-0.

Knapp is challenging at Wimbledon for the third time but has never got past the first round. This evening the 20-year-old De Brito asked plenty of key questions of her opponent in the first set without ever being able to establish a significant lead.

De Brito was the first to lose serve in the fifth game and even though she kept battlilng she couldn't quite get into the match. Knapp celebrated her first break of serve by serving two aces and a service winner in the sixth game. But she was thoroughly tested in the 10th game when she lost two set points and then dropped serve for the only time on a fifth break point to the Portuguese player.

But Knapp regrouped immediately to take Larcher De Brito's serve for 6-5 and then clinch the set 7-5. Larcher De Brito appeared spent after her efforts and lost the first game of the second before there was was an opportunity to reflect on her position as the weather halted play.

Once they resumed, Knapp served her ninth ace in her first service of the second set and dictated most of the key points after that. She clinched victory on serve and on her first match point with a service winner and now plays Marion Bartoli in the fourth round.

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