(June 28, 2021) The Championships, Wimbledon returned on Monday after not being played in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Day 1 saw major upsets with Americans Frances Tiafoe and Sloane Stephens both knocking out Top 10 seeds. Wimbledon also welcomed back two-time winner Andy Murray, who last played at the All-England Club in 2017. The Scot won a Topsy-turvy match on Centre Court.
Matches on the outer were delayed a few hours due to rain which caused some matches to be suspended, cancelled or postponed until Tuesday.
Frances Tiafoe ousted No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in the biggest win of his career, the first time that the American has beaten a Top 5 player.
“That guy’s special,” said the winner. “He’s going to do a lot of great things and win a ton of Grand Slams. But not today.”
“At the end of the day it’s not I have to, it’s I get to,” the 23-year-old Tiafoe said. “I get to compete against a guy 4 in the world, plays Court 1 Wimbledon. These are honors. These aren’t chores. Try to have as much fun as I can out there, put smiles on guys’ faces. Try to compete my ass off.”
In an opening round battle between two major champions, two-time Wimbledon champion, 10th seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic lost to unseeded 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-4.
“I haven’t played on grass in two years,” Stephens said after the match. “This is my first match back. I think for me it was more of just executing my game. I knew I needed to serve well and return well.” Stephens said.
“Obviously a lefty on grass is like your worst nightmare. I was super prepared to be diving for balls on the return, but I knew that I had to fight for every ball and make sure that I got my racquet on a lot of those balls.
“I did that super well today. Instead of being super passive, I was super aggressive on the returns.”
Andy Murray stopped 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 to reach the second round at Wimbledon. Murray had taken a 5-0 lead in the third set, but the Georgian won the next seven straight games, saving match points along the way to take the set.
Murray, who has been on and off the tour due to hip surgery is currently ranked 118th in the world and needed a wildcard to get into the tournament.
No. 1 and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic overcame a first loss to steamroll British wildcard 19-year-old Jack Draper 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in the first match on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
The Serbian is trying to make more tennis history – attempting to win his 20th major to tie both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the all-time lead. He is also going for the third leg of the calendar Grand Slam, as he captured both the Australian Open and French Opens this year.
“He’s a youngster, only 19,” noted Djokovic. “Hadn’t seen him play too much prior to the Queen’s tournament, [where] he played pretty well and won a couple of matches against higher-ranked players. Walking onto Wimbledon’s Centre Court for him for the first time, I think he has done extremely well. He carried himself very maturely on the court. I think he behaved well, he backed himself, he believed that he could come back, and he deserves credit for that. I wish him all the best for the rest of his career.”
Other upsets among the men: No. 19 seed Jannick Sinner fell to world No. 48 Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3, Denis Kudla rallied past 30th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 5-7, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3, and the highest seeded American, the No. 27 seed Reilly Opelka, lost to Dominik Koepfer, 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-2.
More to follow….