Federer survives first-set wobble to down Wimbledon debutant
London – Roger Federer set pulses racing for around 40 minutes on Tuesday as Wimbledon debutant Lloyd Harris threatened to overthrow the established order before eventually succumbing to a 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-2 first round defeat.
Contesting his 108th match at the All England Club, the eight-times champion had been expected to ease to his 96th win at the grasscourt major considering he was facing an opponent who had yet to win a match on the green stuff. However, the South African, wearing a back-to-front baseball cap, came out swinging to break the mighty Federer serve in the sixth game and held on to the advantage to seal the first set when the Swiss swiped a backhand long.
When Federer fired a double fault in the first game of the second set and followed that up by netting an easy volley, the gasps grew louder on Centre Court. But if Harris harboured any hopes that this might be the day when he will embark on a journey that would allow him to emulate the 1951 feat of American Dick Savitt, who was the last man to win the Challenge Cup on his Wimbledon debut, his dreams were crushed brutally over the next three sets. The second seed dropped only five further games as he sealed victory with his ninth ace to set up a meeting with either American qualifier Noah Rubin or British wildcard Jay Clarke.
Maria Sharapova retired from her first-round match at Wimbledon with a left wrist injury while trailing 5-0 in the third set. The 2004 Wimbledon champion served for the match while leading 5-3 in the second set but lost to Pauline Parmentier of France 4-6, 7-6 (4), 5-0.
Sharapova, who was unseeded at the All England Club for the first time since her debut in 2003, called for a medical timeout after the second set and a trainer put some taping on her wrist. She called for the trainer a second time in the third set, and stopped just after Parmentier served for the 5-0 lead. This year’s Wimbledon was only Sharapova’s second tournament since January following shoulder surgery. She lost in the second round in Mallorca last month.
Ash Barty played her first match as the No. 1 player in the world on No. 1 Court at Wimbledon, and she won. The top-seeded Australian, who followed her victory at the French Open by winning a grass-court warm-up tournament in Birmingham, advanced to the second round at the All England Club on Tuesday by winning her 13th straight match. She beat Zheng Saisai 6-4, 6-2.
“It feels incredible,” Barty said about playing at Wimbledon as the top-ranked woman. “It’s a little bit of a bizarre feeling, to be honest. But I just try and go about my business the exact same way. “This hallowed turf that we do get to play on is sacred, it’s beautiful. And you have to enjoy every minute.”
Defending champion Angelique Kerber also advanced, beating Tatjana Maria 6-4, 6-3 on Centre Court. “I was really nervous, to be honest, because of course to (go) out there as the defending champion, it was really special,” Kerber said. “Walking on the Centre Court, playing there again, I mean, a lot of emotions, a lot of memories.”
Both Barty and Kerber are in the same quarter of the women’s draw, which means they could meet in the quarterfinals. Seven-time champion Serena Williams is also in that same quarter. Garbine Muguruza, the 2017 Wimbledon champion who was also placed in that same tough quarter of the draw, didn’t make it through her first match. The 26th-seeded Spaniard lost to Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4, 6-4.
The combative and combustible Nick Kyrgios advanced to the second round despite winning only five points in the fourth set. The unseeded Australian beat Jordan Thompson 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (10), 0-6, 6-1. Kyrgios took a medical timeout after the second set and a trainer came on court to examine his left side. He then won the third set in a tiebreaker — a set which took 1 hour, 16 minutes to complete.
The fourth set, however, lasted only 18 minutes as Thompson won 24 points while Kyrgios took only five. Kyrgios could face Rafael Nadal in the next round. The Spaniard was playing Yuichi Sugita on No. 1 Court.
Fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the French Open final, was eliminated after losing to Sam Querrey 6-7 (4), 7-6 (1), 6-3, 6-0. Thiem follows a pair of other top seeds out of the tournament in the first round. No. 6 Alexander Zverev and No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas lost on Monday.