Federer and Nadal advance, Kyrgios entertains, Barty and Kerber in sync, Shazza quits

MEN’S HIGHLIGHTS Day 2

Roger Federer began his chase for a ninth title, overcoming a slow start to dismiss South African outsider Lloyd Harris 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

The second-seeded Swiss now owns 96 career victories here and could hit his Wimbledon century by reaching the quarter-finals; he has moved into the Wimbledon second round for a 17th straight year.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner said he did not welcome his slow start, but knew he had plenty of ways to reverse his initial losing momentum.

“The legs weren’t moving and things were not happening. I just felt like it was slow. I couldn’t really have any impact,” Federer said.

“It wasn’t like I was serving poorly, I guess I wasn’t hitting my spots, and he was reading my serve, or just doing a good job.”

But the veteran was not alarmed: “With my experience I stayed calm. I know I have other things in the bag that I can come up with, other tricks.

“It just took a bit of time.”

Rafael Nadal moved into a grudge match with Australian Nick Kyrgios, as the Spanish third seed recovered from an opening break to post a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 defeat of Japan’s Yuichi Sugita. 

Nadal has copped personal criticism from the outspoken Kyrgios, who also has a beef with the clay king’s uncle and former coach.

 

But he  had other things to worry with as he concentrated on dispatching his Asian opponent, adding that he’s “too old” (33) for that kind of bickering.

“I’m happy for this victory,” the two-time champion said. “Playing the first official grass match in a year is always difficult.

“I have a lot to improve after winning the first match. I’m here to enjoy my sport, keeping doing what I can as well as possible.

“I have to go day by day after a tough clay season.”

Another leading seed fell, with French Open finalist Dominic Thiem exiting at the hands of American Sam Querrey 6-7(4), 7-6(1), 6-3, 6-0.

Thiem lost in the first round here a year ago and has never advanced past the second round at the All England Club.

His defeat follows those on Monday of sixth seed Alexander Zverev and No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas, both of whom were close to tears after their losses, with the  young guns failing to fire on the big stage.

Thiem admitted he came onto grass depleted after another successful  and draining clay season.

“Last year and this year together I played four grass court matches, which is not a lot at all.

“The clay court season it takes a lot out of me.

“I gave everything that I had physically and also mentally in all these six weeks until the end of the French Open.”

Thiem lost in two and a half hours and now has several weeks to prepare for a pre-announced return to clay, with ATP events in Hamburg and Kitzbuehel.

He had beaten Querrey in their last two meetings; the American reached the semi-finals in 2017..

“I had to take the decision to come here without any preparation,” Thiem said. “It’s very tough to face Querrey in the first official grass court match for me of the year.

“I would love to do better here, but with playing that deep in the French Open, it’s a tricky situation.”

Kyrgios put on another of his unpredictable performances, finally overcoming fellow Australian Jordan Thompson 7-6(4), 3-6, 7-6(10), 0-6, 6-1 in three and a half hours of drama.

The former quarter-finalist is now into the Wimbledon second round for the sixth time in seven years.Kyrgios laid on his full display of personality, complaining to the chair about loud chat from spectators.  Crowd pleaser Nick Kyrgios enjoyed his repartee with a knowledgeable, sporting Wimbledon crowd on Court 3

In one jovial exchange during the fourth set of his first round victory over compatriot Jordan Thompson, Kyrgios chastised himself yelling out “I can’t buy a first serve today”

He then proceeded to put his second serve into the net and a wag called out to him “Nick you can’t even buy a second serve!” much to the delight of the Aussie and the crowd.

dropping F-bombs and getting warned for various minor infractions.

He also took a medical timeout for a massage to loosen a hamstring but got serious about victory when it came to the fifth-set crunch. after showing continual flashes of both his top tennis and his D game.

The player who beat Nadal here five years ago came from 2-5 down in the opening set, saving two set points before winning it in a tiebreaker.

But the “who-cares”  Kyrgios came out to play in the fourth set, which he gave away 6-0 in 18 minutes – losing 12 points in a row – after struggling for well over an hour to win the third set.,

But in the fifth, Kyrgios lit up the encounter, running away to the win, which ended with 23 aces and 63 winners from the Aussie.

Kyrgios is looking forward to his next showdown.

“I go into that match as an unbelievable underdog. I know if I play the right type of tennis, I can have success against him,’ Kyrgios said.

“I have to come with the right attitude, I have to be willing to fight. If not, it’s going to be butter for him – he’s one of the best tennis players.

“I’m not going to think about it. I need to rest, recover, I have a day out, then I want to go out there and have some fun.”

Alex Di Minaur joined Kyrgios in the second round with his defeat of Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 6-0, 6-4, 7-6(5)

But Bernard Tomic served up another disaster, losing 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in 58 minutes to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a lacklustre showing, refusing to explain more than “I payed badly.”.

Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori defeated Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-4

Marcos Baghdatis lived to fight another round in the final tournament of his career before retirement as he put out Canadian lucky loser Brayden Schnur 6-2, 6-4, 6-4

 

WOMENS

Holder Angelique Kerber and top seed Ash Barty stayed in perfect sync on Tuesday at Wimbledon, with each rolling through for straight-set wins which finished within a minute or two of each other.

Germany’s three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber schooled compatriot Tatjana Maria 6-4, 6-3 while Barty won her 13th consecutive match by beating Zheng Saisai of China 6-4, 6-2 in the first round.

 

Kerber stepped back onto Centre Court as she played the traditional first match of the fortnight which is reserved for the defending champion.

“Coming back here is very special,” she said. “There are a lot of emotions.

“I had a tricky opponent, I had to find my game, play every point.

“She is tough on grass, playing slice off of both sides and coming a lot to the net. I was just trying to stay in the moment and try to find a way to win.”

Kerber had only faced her countrywoman once before, losing a decade ago, in Barcelona.

Barty lived up to expectations in her opening test against the No. 43 whom she beat from a set down last autumn in Wuhan. Zheng was facing a No.1 for

the second year in a row here, having fallen to Simona Halep in 2018.

“The first round matches are always tough,” Barty said after her 76-minute victory. “I need time to get used to the conditions on Court No. 1 under the beautiful new roof.

“I have a lot of good memories from this court; It still feels a little bizarre to be top-ranked, but I’m  going about my business in exactly the same way.

Serena Williams had to work to go past Giulia Gatto-Monticone, taking down Italy’s No. 161 qualifier 6-2, 7-5,

Williams stumbled as she lost her serve while serving for victory, with the challenger reaching 4-5 in the second set.

 

But the 11th seed got the break back and resumed normal service with a break in the final game, avoiding any chance of a second career Grand Slam opening-round loss (Roland Garros, 2012).

Williams is searching for a record 24th Grand Slam singles title as she played her 104th match at Wimbledon, while Gatto Monticone was making her tournament debut.

The 31-year-old Italian was playing only her second Grand Slam after qualifying into Roland Garros in May. She had a five-year pause between WTA-level events, April, 2014 to April of this year.

“She never gave up, it’s good for me to play matches like this,” Williams said after competing for only the 13th time this season..

“This is the best I’ve felt since February (knee injury). I had to skip most of the hardcourt season and got just a few matches (four) on clay.”

Ninth seed Sloane Stephens advanced over Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 6-4 while Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck beat former Grand Slam winner Svetlana . Kuznetsova 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to next play Barty.

Belinda Bencic got a win for Switzelrand with her 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Johanna Konta did Britain proud with her 7-5, 6-2 win over Romanian Ana Bogdan.

Compatriot Harriet Dart also moved through, defeating Christina McHale of the US 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

2014 finalist Eugenie Bouchard continued her half-decade dip, losing 6-3, 5-7, 8-6 to Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia.

The 88th-ranked Pauline Parmentier stunned Maria Sharapova when the five-time Grand Slam champion had to retire injured as an old tendon injury to her left flrearm flared up in the second set.

She lost 4-6, 7-6(4), 5-0 after playing for only the second time since returning from four and a half months out of action just two weeks ago .

The 32-year-old Russian was playing unseeded here for the first time since her 2003 debut.

France’s Parmentier emerged from the opening round at Wimbledon for only the fourth time in 10 appearances.

Maria Sharapova came close to tears on Tuesday at Wimbledon as the former champion retired in the opening round as an old forearm tendon injury struck again.

The 32-year-old five-time grand Slam winner had to quit trailing 4-6, 7-6(4), 5-0 when the problem appeared without warning.

“I’ve had a history of a tendon in my left forearm flaring up. It happened today in the second set,” she said.

“I probably couldn’t have gotten through the whole final set, but I did my best.

“It’s very rare that I withdraw in the middle of the match. That certainly means that it’s painful.”

From late January until a fortnight ago, Sharapova was working to overcome another chronic problems, her shoulder, which required 2019 surgery.

She returned to the WTA in June at Mallorca, her only grass event prior to Wimbledon.

“I thought the last five months I handled well, i knew I was doing the right thing.

“But this is certainly not easy. I got myself to a good enough place to be part of this event, not be out of the draw.

“This  was obviously not the way that I wanted to perform here.”

“For me to withdraw,  I don’t want to put anyone in that position. I’m here to play. I don’t want to be in this pain.

“Next time I come here, I want to feel great. I want to do what I’m meant to be doing at the level I believe I can,” added the teenaged 2004 champion.

“I’ve already seen a doctor, did a scan. Those things are not fun. I haven’t seen my team yet. This is part of the job,” she said post-match.

“I’ve never taken the easy route. I’ve always worked, committed, focused. Like I said, these moments are hard, but I love what I do. I still have a lot of passion for it.”

Sharapova said she will have to get further medical opinions before deciding how to proceed with her healing and future tournament scheduling.

Written by Bill Scott for Grandslamtennis.online. To read more visit grandslamtennis.online

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