The first round is in the books for the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. It’s been an eventful few days with 10 of the seeds already out of the tournament. Just the one post today to recap another sunny and windy day at SW19. It’s a bumper edition with 13 stories that map my day of watching the tennis. I’ll be at Wimbledon on Wednesday and then back at work on Thursday and Friday so it will be tough to blog again before the weekend!
Barty d. Voegele (Wimbledon, R1)
The last time that Ash Barty and Stefanie Voegele played each other in Nottingham, Voegele didn’t chalk up one break point. Three weeks later and Voegele broke Barty in her first service game! Recovering from a slow and erratic start, Barty won 10 of the last 13 games to record her first ever main draw singles win at Wimbledon, 7-5 6-3.
Barty looked more secure in her game as the match wore on and was increasingly effective behind her serve and the slice. Next up will be Eugenie Bouchard who won her sixth match on grass, half of her total wins for the year. That could be an interesting match…
Konta d. Vikhlyantseva (Wimbledon, R2)
There was little to separate Johanna Konta and Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the first match of the day up on Court No. 2. Konta played a bit better at the ends of both sets, saving two set points in the second set to win, 7-5 7-6(7). Konta needed six match points in what became a very tense second set tiebreak. I had actually switched away at the end of the first as I felt Konta had this in the bag. In the end, the Brit did well to get it done in straights. For Vikhlyantseva, I feel she has a lot to offer but seems to lacks belief in herself.
Cibulkova d. Cornet (Wimbledon, R1)
Dominika Cibulkova improved her record to 8-3 against Alizé Cornet with an impressive 7-6 (3) 6-1 first round win. I enjoyed the end of the first set where Cibulkova was the more aggressive player and up on the baseline. Cibulkova plays Konta in the second round which should be fascinating.
Hsieh d. Pavlyuchenkova (Wimbledon, R1)
Hsieh Su-Wei upset the number 30 seed, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova with a 6-4 4-6 6-3 first round victory. Hsieh blew every lead under the sun and in all three sets, Ultimately, her deft touch and ability to absorb and redirect Pavlyuchenkova’s pace was the clincher. I really enjoyed the third set which featured plenty of fun rallies. Pavs played some brilliant points, especially down break point. Watch out for Hsieh who was fabulous in Melbs and has a game that, in my opinion, translates well to the grass.
Muguruza d. Broady (Wimbledon, R1)
Garbiñe Muguruza opened her Wimbledon title defence with a 6-2 7-5 victory over Naomi Broady. Muguruza was hitting down-the-line with intent in the first set. After saving two break points in her first service game of the second set, Broady grew in confidence and her awkward unorthodox game began to unsettle Muguruza.
Muguruza looked unconvincing at times and won 10 of 19 net points with a couple of shocking misses. However, the serve remained her go to weapon and never let her down. Muguruza saved the one break point that she faced and broke Broady’s serve to love at 6-5 to claim the straight sets win. It’s hard to tell from this opener about Muguruza’s level and intensity. I’d never write Muguruza off as a title contender. I’m definitely not getting the same early vibes I had for Muguruza at the French.
Kerber d. Zvonareva (Wimbledon, R1)
While their glory days on tour didn’t overlap, I was surprised to learn that Angelique Kerber and Vera Zvonareva had never played each other before on the WTA tour! In one of the better first round matches, Kerber beat Zvonareva, 7-5 6-3 on Court No. 2. There really wasn’t much to separate the pair in the first set with Zvonareva playing catch up from the first game. Kerber hit some wonderful winners at the start of the second set, the kind that she celebrates with the extended grunt 😍. Zvonareva gave it her best shot at the end with Kerber serving out the match at the second time of asking.
I’m impressed by Kerber’s general level on grass. I do think there are some concerns in terms of her belief and confidence, as demonstrated by her struggles to close out both sets. I think this will be tested more in the third round…
Sasnovich d. Kvitova (Wimbledon, R1)
Up till Petra Kvitova’s first round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the day had been pretty quiet. Of course that was shattered in 926 pieces as Sasnovich knocked out the favourite with a 6-4 4-6 6-0 triumph on No.1 Court. I had Kvitova as my champ, naturally, but was a little worried about this first match. Sasnovich hadn’t won a set on grass this year so all the signs were there 😂.
Kvitova began with a double fault. Oh dear! The game at 3-3 in the first set sparked some concern as Kvitova started to looked tired, stumbling and generally lacking energy. Sasnovich bagged the early break and held onto it with Kvitova missing two break points in the final game of the set in unclutch fashion.
Kvitova looked marginally better in the second set and managed to win it to force a decider. The third set was just one way traffic. Kvitova looked almost passive as Sasnovich attacked it with perfect tactics. It was a sensational third set display as Sasnovich controlled the rallies, moved Kvitova around the court and exposed her movement, produced pockets of deft touch and closed it out with two aces!
All the credit to Sasnovich who even said in her interview that she could play better 😂. I’m gutted for Kvitova in what was a first opening round loss at Wimbledon since 2009. Kvitova hasn’t made the second week of Wimbledon since winning her second title here in 2014. It’s obviously a sad day for Petra and her fans. I think it needs to be put into perspective what Petra has achieved since her comeback from the attack. It’s been an amazing year and no doubt she will get over this loss and come back stronger on the hard courts.
Props to Sasnovich 👏👏👏.
Boulter d. Cepede Royg (Wimbledon, R1)
Katie Boulter joined fellow British wild card, Katie Swan in the second round with a first ever main draw singles win at Wimbledon. Boulter beat Veronica Cepede Royg, 6-4 5-7 6-4. Boulter failed to serve out the match at 6-4 *5-4 and wasted a match point as she clearly tightened up. Cepede Royg reeled off four straight games to force a decider.
Boulter showed great character to stay in contention in the decider and then break crucially at 4-4. Second time around serving for the match, Boulter made no mistake as she put first serves into the court and went after her shots. A hold to love and pretty much perfect for serving out! Beforehand, it felt like this was a very winnable match for Boulter based on her grass court form heading into Wimbledon. Credit to Boulter for taking advantage of the opportunity. Next up is rematch against Naomi Osaka who she won just three games against in Birmingham last month.
Bencic d. Garcia (Wimbledon, R1)
After Petra’s loss I struggled to focus for a time and the matches just kept coming thick and fast! Belinda Bencic boarded the upset train to take out the number six seed, Caroline Garcia, 7-6(2) 6-3. Bencic played a fantastic first set tiebreak and looked in control in the second set. I really enjoyed the end of the match which featured so many winners from both players.
This was a tough draw for CarGar who didn’t seem to play a bad match. Bencic on grass is always dangerous and it’s the second time this year that she has defeated a top eight player in the first round of a Slam.
Grass lovers paradise in the second round – Belinda Bencic vs. Alison Riske. I think that is arguably the highlight of the second round matches!
Ostapenko d. Dunne (Wimbledon, R1)
Jelena Ostapenko saved two set points to fend off a fine effort from the British wild card, Katy Dunne, 6-3 7-6(5). Big respect to all the British wild cards who competed well and showed that they deserved these opportunities in the main draw. I thought Dunne would get blown off the court but she handled the occasion extremely well and pushed Ostapenko hard in the second set. Ostapenko played the two set points she faced like a champ. Dunne felt she could have done more on the second one with a second serve as she shouted out “you’ve got to hit it!”.
Ostapenko gets Kirsten Flipkens in the second round – based on this performance, I think you could tag that with a mild upset alert.
Kasatkina d. Fett (Wimbledon, R1)
Daria Kasatkina managed to halt a run of six straight breaks of serve at the end of a break-happy second set to finally see off Jana Fett, 6-2 7-5. Spoiler alert – this was NOT a classic! Fett was very erratic in the first set. While battling back from a double break down in the second set, ultimately it was her error count that was the difference. A win is a win for Kasatkina but she’ll need to step it up in the next round.
Putintseva d. Linette (Wimbledon, R1)
What a match. Yulia Putintseva scored her first ever win over Magda Linette with a 6-3 3-6 10-8 victory. Some of the rallies were fantastic and it was just a damn good watch. My iPad battery ran out on the match point that Putintseva took which just added to the drama! Thanks to the Wimbledon YouTube account for already putting up a video of the match point. Putintseva’s reaction was everything you’d expect and then some. I can’t believe how calm she was in the third set considering the situation?!?!?!
Diatchenko d. Sharapova (Wimbledon, R1)
In the final match of the day, Vitalia Diatchenko scored her best win on tour since 2014 to stun the number 24 seed, Maria Sharapova, 7-6(3) 6-7(3) 6-4 in three hours and seven minutes! Sharapova led 7-6 5-2 and was twice up a break in the final set before double faulting down match point. I only caught the end of the match but was so intense. I didn’t have high hopes for Maria at this tournament but I am very surprised by this particular result. Diatchenko moves into the second round of Wimbledon for the first time in her career to play Sofia Kenin. Huge opportunity for both players.
And what a day. If you missed out on the action I hope this has helped to bring you up to speed. I’m still struggling to process everything that happened in the last few hours. I can’t believe that England just won a penalty shoot-out!!!!!!!!