Wimbledon roared into life at the All-England club today with a highly eventful first day. Home crowd favourites Andy Murray and Johanna Konta secured their passage into the second round but title hopeful Stan Wawrinka will have to wait another year at least to challenge for the one major that eludes him. Aljaz Bedene gave the home crowd something else to cheer about beating 21st seed Ivo Karlovic in an epic battle.
- Brits Murray, Konta, Bedene, and Heather Watson all through to the second round
- Cameron Norrie, Naomi Broady, & Laura Robson all bow out
- 20th seed Nick Kyrgios retires hurt at two sets to nil down
- Kei Nishikori, Rafael Nadal, & Marin Cilic all through in straight sets
- Petra Kvitova, Elina Svitolina, Venus Williams, and Dominika Cibulkova all advance in the Ladies Singles
Andy Murray (GBR) v. Alexander Bublik (KAZ) on Centre Court in the first round of the Gentlemen’s Singles. The Championships 2017 at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 1 Monday 3rd July 2017. Credit: AELTC/Joel Marklund.
Andy Murray opened up on Centre Court this afternoon as he looks to defend the crown he won for the second time 12 months ago. With questions lingering about his fitness, after a hip injury forced him to withdraw from his last match pre-tournament, and his form since his early shock exit from Queens. The divisive Scot seemed to be limping heavily between points but looked to be moving well enough whilst the ball was in play. When asked afterwards about the limping , Murray quizzically responded “I’ve always done it” (Guardian). After having to save a couple of break points in his first service game, Murray grew into the game and wound up a comfortable winner over the unorthodox Alexander Bublik 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. He next features on Wednesday against the equally unorthodox German Dustin Brown.
On Court 1, Johanna Konta came through again Taiwanese player Hsieh Su-wei 6-2, 6-2. Like Murray, Britain’s top ranked female was also facing scrutiny over a back injury suffered in Eastbourne as she slipped on match point versus Angelique Kerber. If the number six seed was feeling some pain due to the injury she didn’t show it as she cruised through to the second round where she will face Donna Vekic of Croatia who won in three sets.
Perhaps it was British number three Aljaz Bedene who pleased the home crowd the most on day one though. He
Aljaz Bedene (GBR) reacts during play against Ivo Karlovic (CRO) on No.3 Court in the Gentlemen’s Singles First Round. The Championships 2017 at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 1 Monday 03/07/2017. Credit: AELTC/Ben Solomon.
came through a titanic battle with big serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic 6-7, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6. 8-6. The match lasted almost four-and-a-half hours and contained just one break of serve. As the match hit 6-6 in the fifth set and nothing to separate the players there were whispered murmurs of the Isner-Mahut epic from 2010. However Bedene clearly didn’t fancy coming back tomorrow and won his service game before sending two fantastic passing shots beyond Karlovic to secure his place in round two.
It took four match points and a bit of a wobble, but Heather Watson came through against Maryna Zanevska 6-1, 7-6. The Brit stormed ahead early on, but looked a bit shaky and was broken when serving for the match. The dip was temporary though and she eventually got the job done in the tie-break. She will face Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in the next round.
It wasn’t all smiles for the British squad though, with three players losing to bring the balance down. Wildcard entrant Cameron Norrie was never likely to win against number 12 seed Tsonga, however the Brit will feel he could have shown more in losing 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Naomi Broady and Laura Robson will also both be disappointed in their performances, both losing 6-4, 6-2.
Away from the Brits it was generally a good day for the seeds, with most of the top seeded players cruising through untouched. Nadal dropped just six games whilst seeing off Australian John Millman. Petra Kvitova, in just her eighth game back since recovering from a stabbing back in December, won in straight sets on Centre Court and received a rousing reception from the fans. Venus Williams produced the goods on court, but her post game press conference was unsurprisingly dominated by the off the court news of the fatal car crash she has recently been involved in.
Among the seeded players who didn’t make it through to the second round was Stanislas Wawrinka. He received treatment from the doctor and physio on a number of occasions throughout his game, but take nothing away from Daniil Medvedev. The young Russian always posed a tricky opener for Wawrinka but he was superb today and deservedly went through winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Joining Wawrinka on an early plane home will be controversial Aussie Nick Kyrgios. Arriving with heavily bandaged legs, he never looked comfortable, receiving treatment on a regular basis. He lost the first two sets to Pierre-Hugues Herbert, before finally throwing in the towel and retiring hurt. Other seeded players heading for the exit include former quarter-finallist Fernando Verdasco and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
The most unusual sight on court at SW19 was veteran 37-year-old Francesca Schiavone beating Mandy Minella of Luxembourg 6-1, 6-1 over on Court 11. The remarkable thing? Minella, the world number 82, revealed after the game that she is four and a half months pregnant. She is also scheduled to play in the doubles (or would that make it triples?).
Tomorrow on Centre Court we see favourite for the Ladies Singles title Angelique Kerber get underway against Irina Falconi, Novak Djokovic started his campaign against Martin Klizan, and Roger Federer, looking for his eighth title, with a potentially tricky draw against Alexandr Dolgopolov. The British interest mainly comes first on Court 3, with Kyle Edmund taking on compatriot Alex Ward.
featured image from wimbledon.com