IMAGES from Day 2 of the Wimbledon Championships from the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, on Tuesday.
Nadal overcomes third set wobble to reach second round
IMAGE: Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning his first round match against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
Rafael Nadal made a stuttering but rousing return to the grass on Tuesday, beating 41st-ranked Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in Wimbledon’s first round to begin his campaign for a third Grand Slam title of the year.
The 36-year-old second seed, who has not played at Wimbledon since 2019 and stayed away from warm-up tournaments with a chronic foot problem, looked to be motoring through the match until a series of unforced errors allowed Cerundolo, 23, back in.
The Argentine upped the tempo and used his booming forehand to overpower twice Wimbledon champion Nadal, who has won 20 other Grand Slam titles, taking the third set and breaking serve in the fourth.
But Nadal, who won the Australian Open in January and the French Open earlier this month, regrouped and used all his experience to fight back, breaking a now nervy opponent twice to seal the match to the delight of a packed Centre Court.
Swiatek secures 36th straight win
IMAGE: Poland’s Iga Swiatek celebrates winning her first round match against Croatia’s Jana Fett. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters
World No 1 Iga Swiatek recovered from a dip in her level in the second set to see off Croatian qualifier Jana Fett 6-0, 6-3 in the Wimbledon first round on Tuesday and extend her winning run to 36 matches.
The 2018 junior champion, who exited the grasscourt Grand Slam in the fourth round last year, had the honour of opening the second day’s play on Centre Court in the absence of the retired Ash Barty who won the 2021 title.
Playing her first match since winning a second French Open title this month, Poland’s Swiatek powered through the opening set without losing a game — registering a 6-0 set for the 17th time this year — despite a stiff breeze swirling through the main show court.
A litany of unforced errors, including a double fault, however, led to Swiatek dropping serve at the start of the second set, allowing the 25-year-old Fett, ranked 252nd in the world, to get on the scoreboard.
Swiatek, who played with a ribbon in Ukrainian colours pinned to her cap as she did during her Roland Garros campaign, broke back immediately — only to hand back the advantage in her next service game.
IMAGE: Poland’s Iga Swiatek plays a forehand against Croatia’s Jana Fett. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
The Pole’s struggles with her delivery continued as she had to save five break points to hold serve for the first time in the second set to get to 2-3 and stay in touch with Fett.
The hold seemed to spur on Swiatek and she won five games in a row to become the first women’s player in the 21st century to win 36 consecutive matches.
She will meet British wildcard Sonay Kartal or Dutch lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove for a place in the third round.
“It’s my first match on grass this season so I knew it’s going to be tricky,” said the 21-year-old.
“At the beginning of the second set I lost my focus little bit and she used that pretty well.
“I am pretty happy that I came back and I could finish in two sets. I am just figuring out how to play here and trying to implement all the stuff we were practising. It’s pretty exciting, a new experience for me.”
Former champion Halep makes winning return to Wimbledon
IMAGE: Romania’s Simona Halep plays a forehand against Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Former World No 1 Simona Halep returned to Wimbledon for the first time since winning the 2019 title and picked up exactly where she left off with an impressive 6-3, 6-2 win over dangerous Czech Karolina Muchova on Tuesday.
The cancellation of the tournament in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and a calf injury last year meant the 30-year-old Romanian never got to defend the Venus Rosewater Dish.
But against Muchova, a player whose 81st ranking belies her quality, she looked in the mood to reclaim it.
The 16th seed, who stunned Serena Williams in the 2019 final, was just too solid for Muchova whose lack of play this year because of an abdominal injury was cruelly exposed.
Halep broke serve in the third game and again in the ninth to take an opening set in which she did not face a break point.
It was a similar story in the second set as Halep drew Muchova into long baseline exchanges which she inevitably won.
The 25-year-old Muchova, a Wimbledon quarter-finalist in 2019 and 2021 and Australian Open semi-finalist last year, saved two break points at 1-2 in the second set.
But Halep was relentless, converting a third with a volley into the open court as she closed in on victory.
Halep’s accuracy from the baseline offered Muchova no escape route and the end came after 64 minutes as the Romanian set up a clash with Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens.
She thanked coach Patrick Mouratoglou, formerly with Serena Williams, for re-igniting her career.
“It feels great to be back, great memories of 2019 and always a pleasure to be here, it was pretty emotional before this match but now I’m happy and I want to enjoy it,” she said.
Gauff hangs tough to reach Wimbledon second round
IMAGE: USA’s Coco Gauff in action during her first round match against Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters
Coco Gauff got off to a bumpy start and converted only four of 25 break points but those glitches were not enough to throw her off course as she reached the Wimbledon second round with a 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old American is the youngest player in the singles draw and after her runner-up finish at the French Open this month, many are tipping her to go all the way at the All England Club.
However, when she lost the opening seven points against the little-known Romanian, including surrendering her serve to love, her father and coach Corey could be seen frowning on a sun-soaked Court Two.
When 11th seed Gauff went on to earn and lose four break points in Ruse’s opening service game, it set the tone for a frustrating afternoon for her family.
The popular teenager, who captured the world’s attention when she made it to the Wimbledon fourth round as a 15-year-old school girl in 2019, finally got a foothold in the match when she broke for a 4-2 lead in the second set before levelling at one set all.
The 24-year-old Ruse fought back from 3-1 down in the final set to level at 3-3 but Gauff hung on despite continuing to misfire her shots on break points and secured victory when her opponent whipped a forehand wide on match point.
She will next face Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Kyrgios edges past British wildcard Jubb in five sets
IMAGE: Australia’s Nick Kyrgios celebrates winning his first round match against Britain’s Paul Jubb. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters
Feisty Australian Nick Kyrgios came through a five-set first-round Wimbledon thriller against British wildcard Paul Jubb on Tuesday as his fearsome serve, including 30 aces, eventually overpowered the 22-year-old 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-5.
It was an unexpectedly testing examination for Kyrgios as the British outsider kept his cool in the face of the Australian’s usual verbal antics, but fell just short.
“It was tough, he had nothing to lose and he played exceptional tennis at times,” Kyrgios said. “He’s going to be a good player for sure, I’m just happy to get through.
“Playing here is a lot of fun. I talk a lot on the court but off the court I’m not too bad.”
Kyrgios looked pretty flat in losing the opening set to a player whose career highlight was winning the US NCAA college title in 2019, and in his frustration he hammered a ball high and out of Court Three.
Kyrgios is a player the word “chuntering” was invented for as he seems to need to keep up a running monologue to get himself motivated.
He took great offence at a single fan uttering an almost polite boo, complaining to the umpire “You don’t accept a hat with two logos on but you accept disrespect of an athlete?”.
Kyrgios then complained about a line judge “reporting him” to the umpire. “Not one person has come here today to hear her speak,” he said.
The chat appeared to energise him as he began to find his range in a strong second set but Jubb refused to lie down, being edged out in the third and going toe to toe to take the fourth on the back of a strong tiebreak.
The Briton, in only his second Wimbledon appearance having lost in the first round three years ago, was ice-cool in ignoring any potential distraction from Kyrgios’s running commentary, which included another extended whinge over a non-signalled net cord in the tiebreak.
It is now eight years since Kyrgios stunned then world number one Rafa Nadal to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals but he has never matched that since and has reached only one other Grand Slam quarter – in Australia in 2015.
The 27-year-old has slipped to world number 40 but his serve remains out of the top drawer, demonstrated when he ripped through the third game of the deciding set to love in 43 seconds before breaking Jubb.
When serving for the set, however, Kyrgios stood back to admire a drop shot, only to be left stranded when Jubb brilliantly ran it down en route to his own break back.
Jubb then failed to convert a break point and, serving to take the match to a decisive tiebreak, leaked a couple of shots wide to help Kyrgios secure victory.