The defending champion And Murray and the French Open winner Rafael Nadal have powered their way into the second round of the Championships on Opening Day as the U.S. Open Champion Stanislas Wawrinka’s hopes of becoming the ninth men’s player to complete a career slam came to an abrupt end as he crashed out after losing to the GenNext star Daniil Medvedev of Russia. The fifth seeded Swiss who would have also become world number one had he gone on to win the title next Sunday was troubled by knee injury and lost 4-6,6-3,4-6,1-6 in two hours and thirteen minutes on center court.
As is the tradition, last year’s winner Murray, who first won the title in 2013 ending a 77 year drought to become the first British man to win Wimbledon, started the proceedings on Center court and was barely tested by the lucky loser Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in his rain interrupted 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win in one hour forty four minutes. The Scottsman saved two break points in the opening game but broke twice in the first set, got off to a quick start in the second set but saved four set points while serving out the second set 6-4. Bublik served 15 aces in his debut on the hallowed center court but was broken five times in the entire match.
The 2008 and 2010 champion, Rafael Nadal of Spain, dropped serve twice but was hardly troubled in 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 win on court no. 1 against the Australian John Millman who is playing on protected ranking after coming back from injury. The Brisbane native who reached the third round last year dropped serve eight times in the one hour forty six minute match.
There was big disappointment for the Aussies as their top player Nick Kyrgios retired due to a hip injury after dropping the first two sets 3-6, 4-6 to the Frenchman Pierre Hugues Herbert on court no. 3. The no. 20 seed entered the event carrying the injury and it flared up once more as he retired after 58 minutes. Another seeded player to lose was the 38 year old Croat Ivo Karlovic, seeded 21st.
He was pitted against the Slovak born native of Britain Aljaz Bedene in what was a serving duel. The pair split the first four sets without either playing dropping serve and it was Bedene who got the lone service break in the entire match in the 14th game of the decider as he came through 6-7(5), 7-6(6), 6-7(7), 7-6(7), 8-6 in four hours and twenty four minutes. Karlovic had 44 aces but was 0/8 on break points won, while Bedene struck 27 aces and converted on 1 out of 5 break points.
The other seeds to advance were the 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia, Kei Nishikori of Japan, Frenchmen Jo Wilfred Tsonga and Lucas Pouille, Italian Fabio Fognini, American Sam Querrey who had upset Novak Djokovic last year and Steve Johnson, Karen Khachanov of Russia, Giles Muller of Luxembourg and Spaniard Roberto Batista Agut. The 31st seeded Fernando Verdasco lost to the South African Kevin Anderson 2-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(8), 6-3.
The following is the list of matches involving seeded players on Day 2 with my pick mentioned first:-
Novak Djokovic (2) v. Martin Klizan (-)
Juan Martin Del Potro (29) v. Thanasi Kokkinakis (-)
Feliciano Lopez (19) v. Adrian Mannarino (-)
Gael Monfils (15) v. Daniel Brands (-)
Tomas Berdych (11) v. Jeremy Chardy (-)
Richard Gasquet (22) v. David Ferrer (-)
Paolo Lorenzi (32) v. Horacio Zeballos (-)
Dominic Thiem (8) v. Vasek Pospisil (-)
Roger Federer (3) v. Alexandr Dolgopolov (-)
Mischa Zverev (27) v. Bernard Tomic (-)
John Isner (23) v. Taylor Fritz (-)
Grigor Dimitrov (13) v. Diego Schwartzman (-)
Alexander Zverev (10) v. Evgeny Donskoy
Jack Sock (17) v. Christian Garin (-)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (25) v. Jordan Thompson (-)
Milos Raonic (6) v. Jan Lennard Struff (-)
The ladies section was highlighted by wins for the former five time champion Venus Williams of U.S.A. who overcame a strong challenge from Elise Mertens of Belgium in a 7-6(7), 6-4 win. The French Open champion Julia Ostapenko of Latvia, seeded 13th, also advanced after a 6-0, 1-6, 6-3 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.
Other seeds to advance were Dominica Cibulkova of Slovakia, who won 9-7 in the decider against the German Andrea Petkovic, Ana Konjuh of Croatia, American Madison Keys, fourth seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, Briton Johanna Konta, Caroline Garcia of France, the 2011 and 2014 champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, Elina Vesnina of Russia, Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, and the second seeded Simona Halep of Russia.
There was a popular win for the former world number One Victoria Azarenka, playing her first match after the birth of her first child as she overcame a slow start to beat the American Catherine Bellis, 3-6,6-2,6-1. The seeds to fall were the Italian Roberta Vinci who lost to the twin sister of Karolina Pliskova, Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-7(6), 2-6. The veteran Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni lost to the German Carina Witthoeft 3-6, 7-5, 6-8.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]