A quartet of Wimbledon champions progressed safely into the second round of the year’s third Grand Slam as the oldest tennis tournament got under way on Monday. Defending champion Novak Djokovic made short work of a potentially tricky opponent while on the ladies side, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova notched up comfortable wins.
But one former winner was not so lucky – Lleyton Hewitt who was making his final appearance at SW19, bowed out in a five-set thriller.
Rohan Bopanna was the only Indian in action on Day 1 of the Championships. Bopanna and his Romanian partner Florin Mergea moved into the second round of men’s doubles with a straight-set victory.
Djokovic begins defense in style, but cheating controversy refuses to die down
Novak Djokovic smartly manoeuvred a tricky first round match against the 33rd ranked Philipp Kohlschreiber and emerged victorious with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 scoreline. But the focus on the defending champion unfortunately shifted to a cheating controversy that he has been embroiled in over the weekend.
Djokovic’s coach, the six-time major winner Boris Becker had invited the issue, claiming that he and the Serbian’s other coach, Marian Vajda often give signals to their protégé on the court. Djokovic had already denied in his pre-Wimbledon media conference that he and his team do not resort to cheating and he looks up to his box only to gain support. But the contentious issue, unfortunately, once again raised its ugly head on Monday, overshadowing his first round victory.
Hard work for Nishikori while Wawrinka cruises:
French Open champion Stan Wawrinka did not face a single break point in his impressive 6-2, 7-5, 7-6(3) triumph over Portuguese Joao Sousa. But it was a much tougher job for another title contender – Kei Nishikori who survived in five sets.
The fifth-seeded Japanese began in a confident fashion but was narrowly edged by Italian Simone Bolelli in a tie-break in the second set. The match ultimately headed to a deciding set where Nishikori prevailed 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
Serena, Sharapova waltz into Round 2:
World No. 113 Margarita Gasparyan gave Serena Williams a tough time in the first set but the top seed elevated her level to come through unscathed 6-4, 6-1. Serena is half-way from completing a calendar Grand Slam this year.
Fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova, who is on a collision course with the top-ranked American, carved out a solid 6-2, 6-2 win over British wildcard Johanna Konta.
Hewitt mesmerizes one last time:
Lleyton Hewitt’s ‘come-ons’ had reverberated throughout the Centre Court for years and the Australian had regaled tennis aficionados time and again with his tremendous fighting spirit.
On Monday, the 2002 winner mesmerized the audience one last time before drawing the curtains on his illustrious Wimbledon career. Showing ample glimpses of his never-say-attitude, the former World No. 1 battled for five sets before bowing out to another player making his swansong at SW19 – Jarkko Nieminen 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, 11-9.
Hewitt will retire after the 2016 Australian Open.
Double bagels for Venus, Petkovic:
Five-time winner Venus Williams and German 14th seed Andrea Petkovic were in a hurry on Day 1. Since 2009, there had not been a double bagel scoreline at Wimbledon but Monday saw two of them on the same day.
While Venus whipped Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-0 in 42 minutes, Petkovic was even faster. She needed just 38 minutes to inflict the same scoreline on Shelby Rogers.
Carla Suarez Navarro falls:
No. 9 seed Carla Suarez Navarro was the highest seed to fall on day 1 of 2015 Wimbledon. The Spanish player was left shell-shocked after a swashbuckling performance from reigning junior Wimbledon champion, Jelena Ostapenko. The Latvian needed just 52 minutes to post the 6-2, 6-0 victory.
Lucie Safarova survives:
The switch from clay to grass is not easy especially after the emotional high of reaching a Slam final. French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova, who fell in her first match on grass at Eastbourne this year, almost went the same way at Wimbledon, only to rebound from the jaws of defeat. The sixth-seeded Czech crawled back from a set and a break down to eventually triumph 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 over grass specialist Alison Riske.
Other big winners:
Some of the other big names who made an entry into the second round were – Ana Ivanovic and Victoria Azarenka in straight sets. Eastbourne winner Belinda Bencic and Birmingham runner-up Karolina Pliskova both needed three sets to see off their respective opponents.
Among the men, last year’s semi-finalists Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic both entered Round 2. While Dimitrov hardly broke a sweat, Raonic needed four sets to win. Also winning on Day 1 were Nick Kyrgios, Richard Gasquet, Marin Cilic and John Isner.
The oldest man in the singles draw – 37-year-old Tommy Haas too made a winning start.
Federer, Nadal, Murray on Wimbledon Day 2:
Day 2 of the 2015 Wimbledon is absolutely action-packed with three of the men’s Big 4 taking the court. Former champions Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray will begin their quest while the defending women’s champion Petra Kvitova too will start her hunt for her favourite Grand Slam title.