LONDON – The first day of Wimbledon saw Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic cruise to victory, while Sloane Stephens saw her Grand Slam streak snapped.
Novak Djokovic cruised and his draw got easier: Djokovic lived up to his No. 1 seeding, winning the first 11 games of his opening match and cruising to a 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 win over Andrey Golubev in a quick 88 minutes. He’ll play Radek Stepanek in the second round.
“Coming into Wimbledon with no official [grass-court] matches, it always gives you an extra reason to get that commitment and focus from the start and try to play as best as you can,” he said. “So that’s what I did. Very, very pleased with my performance overall today.”
Meanwhile Vasek Pospisil, the other seeded player in his section, lost to Robin Haase, which means Djokovic won’t have to face a seeded player in the first week.
Andy Murray… looked sharp: Murray was impressive in his Centre Court return. He walked out for his first match against David Goffin to a standing ovation, and he waved to the crowd. Then he immediately got to work, playing a high-quality, clean match to win 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.
“I hit the ball very well,” Murray said. “I hit the ball clean from the beginning of the match. There wasn’t any moments where I felt like I was mistiming balls.” Sounds like he was happy with that start.
WERTHEIM: Andy Murray thrives under the pressure on Centre Court
Li Na… did not: The No. 2 seed beat No. 175 Paula Kania 7-5, 6-2, but she looked incredibly nervous and rusty. Li hasn’t played a match since her first-round loss at the French Open, and she admitted that she’s feeling the pressure of being No. 2 in the world. It also doesn’t help that her confidence takes a dip on grass.
“I never think I can play well in the grass court,” she said. “Because for me it’s tough. I think for everyone it’s tough. Because only one month for whole the year we can play in the grass court. Also we cannot training in the grass. Is a little bit special. Pretty close French Open, Wimbledon, only two weeks. Very tough for me to change the surface.”
Li plays Yvonne Meusburger in the second round.
Seeds Sloane Stephens and Sam Stosur crashed out: The tournament was barely an hour old when No. 17 Sam Stosur lost 6-3, 6-4 to Yanina Wickmayer. Stephens followed soon after, losing 6-2, 7-6 (6) to Maria Kirilenko, and ending her streak of reaching the fourth round at Grand Slams. This was also the first time that she lost to a player in the top 20 at a Slam.
“The streak is broken,” Stephens said (joked?). “I’m so sorry to all of you who don’t have to write about me this week and next week.”
American CoCo Vandeweghe knocked out No. 27 Garbine Muguruza: Fresh off her maiden WTA title over the weekend in Holland, Vandeweghe needed more than 10 match points to finally close out the upset, beating the Spaniard 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. After a long deuce game, Muguruza (who beat Serena Williams at the French Open) threw in back-to-back double-faults to end the match.
While Americans Venus Williams and Lauren Davis will play another day at Wimbledon, there was less good news on the men’s side, where everyone in action lost (with the exception of Sam Querrey, whose match against fellow American Bradley Klahn was suspended), including Ryan Harrison, Donald Young and Steve Johnson.
Fabio Fognini was… Fabio Fognini: He was getting absolutely steamrolled by 27-year-old American qualifier Alex Kuznetsov and dropped the first two sets 6-2, 6-1. But by the time the Fognini battled back to force a fifth set, he had broken rackets, cursed out the chair umpire, yelled at a tournament supervisor and thrown water onto the court. He finally won 2-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 9-7. Tough luck for Kuznetsov. How can anyone stay focused during all that?
Play was cancelled late in the day for rain: The rain expected in the forecast arrived late in the evening and forced the suspension of seven matches. When play resumes on Tuesday, Jo-Wiflried Tsonga will be serving for a five set win over Jurgen Melzer and Sam Querrey will be serving for the match against Bradley Klahn. Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki and Sara Errani will also have to come back tomorrow.
Shaquille O’Neal watches Andy Murray on Centre Court from the royal box
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Andy Murray received a standing ovation as he returned to Centre Court to begin his title defense:
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