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Wimbledon PIX: Osaka, Venus, Tsitsipas shown the door

Last updated on: July 02, 2019 00:30 IST

Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva and Japan's Naomi Osaka shake hands at the net after their first round match at Wimbledon.

IMAGE: Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva and Japan's Naomi Osaka shake hands at the net after their first round match at Wimbledon on Monday. Photograph: Tony O'Brien/Reuters

World number two Naomi Osaka's hopes of a third Grand Slam title were shredded on Centre Court as she was dumped out of Wimbledon in the first round, losing 7-6(4), 6-2 to Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva on Monday.

 

The Japanese, who had nervelessly battered her way to Grand Slam success at the US and Australian Opens, failed to find her range on the slick lawns of the All England Club, tumbling out amid a flurry of unforced errors.

Putintseva was far from an unknown quantity for Osaka, having recently knocked her out in Birmingham, and again proved a resolute obstacle for the Japanese, fighting back after an early break to take the first set on a tie-break.

She broke the Japanese second seed twice in a dominant second set, wrapping up victory in an hour and 36 minutes when her opponent sliced a backhand into the net.

There was another surprise as French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova was knocked out in the first round.

The Czech 16th seed beaten 6-4, 6-4 by American Madison Brengle.

A few days after turning 20, the left-hander struggled to get to grips with her opponent's game as she lost in the first round for the third successive year.

Last month Vondrousova fell just short of becoming the first Czech woman to win the French Open for 38 years when she lost to Australia's Ash Barty in the Roland Garros final.

Cori Guaff sends Venus crashing

Cori Gauff

IMAGE: Cori Gauff plays a forehand against Venus Williams. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Later in the day, 15-year-old American Cori Guaff caused one of the biggest shocks in Wimbledon history by dispatching Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4 in the first round.

Aged 39, Williams is considered Wimbledon royalty as she has been part of the All England Club family for over two decades, having won the singles title five times -- including two before Gauff was even born.

But Guaff, the youngest player to qualify for the main draw in the professional era, was in no mood to play a lady-in-waiting as she made a mockery of the 24-year-age difference and 269 ranking spots that separate her from Williams.

Playing a fearless brand of tennis that belied her young age, she bullied Williams into submission.

A break in the fifth game of the opening set, which included a delectable lob over the statuesque Williams, was enough to win her the first set.

The nerveless display continued in the second set and she sealed victory on her fourth match point when Williams netted a forehand.

Tsitsipas, Zverev suffer shock exits

Thomas Fabbiano the conqueror of Stefanos Tsitsipas.

IMAGE: Thomas Fabbiano, the conqueror of Stefanos Tsitsipas. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Young guns Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev suffered shock first-round defeats, the sixth and seventh seeds bundled out within an hour of each other.

Greek Tsitsipas entered the tournament tipped as the man most likely to challenge the authority of the big three but was beaten 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-3 by lowly-ranked Italian Thomas Fabbiano who produced an inspired display on Court Two.

Tsitsipas saved two match points in the fourth-set tiebreak but Fabbiano, ranked 102nd, was relentless and when he broke in the seventh game of the decider with a cruel netcord it was clear it was not going to be Tsitsipas's day.

He found himself in good company through the exit door though as Germany's Zverev ran into Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely and was also sent packing.

The 22-year-old seemed on course for victory when he won the first set but the powerfully-built Vesely roared back for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory.

Zverev, coached by Ivan Lendl, slipped when serving at 5-6 15-30 in the fourth set, handing his opponent two match points, and netted a backhand volley to seal his fate.

Djokovic breezes past Kohlschreiber

Novak Djokovic

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic stretches for a return from Philipp Kohlschreiber. Photograph: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Novak Djokovic got the defence of his Wimbledon title off to an impressive start when, serving superbly, he overwhelmed Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets in the first match on Centre Court on Monday.

After a few early wobbles Djokovic triumphed 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 as, perhaps already buoyed by the presence of new coach Goran Ivanisevic, he really hit the mark with his serves.

"He's someone I've always looked up to and we've been friends for a long time - though usually on the opposite side of the net," Djokovic said of the 2001 champion who has come on board as part of his coaching team.

"He's coached lots of great players, so it's great to have him on my side. He's going to stay for sure through the first week then we'll see. It's a great pleasure to have such a champion and hopefully we can have a long collaboration."

Djokovic, 32, came into the tournament having decided not to play a grass-court warm-up event and he must have been a little edgy having lost to Kohlschreiber in straight sets on the hard courts of Indian Wells earlier this year.

Wawrinka means business

Stan Wawrinka

IMAGE: Stan Wawrinka in action during his first round match against Ruben Bemelmans. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Stan Wawrinka was barely mentioned in the Wimbledon build-up with all the focus on the men's 'big three' and the young guns hoping to shake things up but the Swiss means business.

Outside of eight-time champion Roger Federer, twice winner Rafael Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic, Wawrinka is the only other multiple Grand Slam champion in the draw.

Only one other player, Marin Cilic, has won a Grand Slam so with Wawrinka's obvious weapons - a beefy serve, sublime backhand and a big match mentality - the Swiss should at least be part of the conversation when it comes to discussing contenders to make a deep run this fortnight.

His record at the All England Club, where the title would complete his career Slam, suggests otherwise, although the 34-year old looked razor sharp as he belted 26 winners past Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 first round cruise.

Admittedly left-hander Bemelmans, ranked 171, was having a decidedly ordinary day with his forehand misfiring completely but it was a powerful statement by Wawrinka nonetheless.

"I think I did a great preparation. I'm happy the way I've been practising so far here, I've been playing. Really happy the way I've been feeling physically," he told reporters.

"Today was a great match, a great start. Three sets, so it's good to start like that."

Pliskova stretched by Chinese challenger Zhu Lin

Pliskova

IMAGE: Karolina Pliskova in action against China's Lin Zhu. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Third seed Karolina Pliskova bludgeoned her way into the second round of Wimbledon on Monday, using her huge serve and searing forehand to fend off tenacious Chinese challenger Zhu Lin 6-2, 7-6(4).

But Pliskova, who won the Eastbourne grasscourt tournament on Saturday, blowing away Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber in the final, had a tougher time on the All England Club's distant Court Two, against an opponent ranked 98 places behind her.

She zipped through the first set, whipping a crosscourt return into the corner to wrap it up in 27 minutes.

But, as Zhu found her feet and her range on the new grass, the 27-year-old Czech began to look a little out of sorts and produced a few loose shots among 18 unforced errors.

"My feeling was my timing was a little bit off," Pliskova said, adding the court felt slower than she expected.

"Sometimes I thought I hit a great shot, but she still was there, she was still able to make it. I don't know if she's that good or the court is that slow."

Zhu, 25, who failed to qualify for Wimbledon the last three years, scurried up and down the baseline, chasing everything down and countering the serve with some fine returning.

Pliskova had to use that booming forehand to get her out of trouble in the 12th game of the second set, saving three set points in a marathon game of seven deuces.

That game ended Zhu's resistance and Pliskova, a former number one, who could rise to the top spot again at the Championships, took the tiebreak and the match after 1 hour 21 minutes.

The last woman to win at Eastbourne and Wimbledon in the same year was Pliskova's late compatriot Jana Novotna in 1998.

Pliskova will meet Monica Puig of Puerto Rico in the second round.

Anderson makes quick work of dispatching Herbert

Kevin Anderson

IMAGE: Kevin Anderson in action against France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Returning to the lush grasscourts of Wimbledon proved to be just the tonic Kevin Anderson needed on Monday as the 2018 runner-up buried memories of an injury-hit year by easing into the second round with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

The South African, who had played only three tour-level events this year before arriving at Wimbledon due to an elbow injury, moved around a sun-kissed Court Three with ease to dispatch doubles specialist Herbert.

"I'm really, really pleased with the way I played today. I knew it was going to be a tough match. It's been a very tough year. But I feel like the way my body felt today is very, very encouraging for me," Anderson told reporters.

The straight-sets win came as a huge relief to fourth seed Anderson considering Herbert appeared to be in fine form on grass having reached his first tour level semi-final on the surface at the Halle warm-up tournament.

Herbert can now look forward to getting more vocal support from the local fans as he will be back on court alongside Andy Murray this week, with the duo bidding to win the men's doubles title as the Briton continues his recovery from hip surgery.

Anderson would also have been delighted to get off court with a win that took a mere one hour 46 minutes considering the last time he held aloft his arms in victory at the All England Club -- it was after surviving a six-hour 36 minute epic against John Isner in last year's semi-final.

That marathon match effectively ended his chances of winning the Wimbledon title as it left him with sore and swollen feet, and "jelly-like" legs.

Considering the 43-hour gap he had between the end of his semi-final and the start of the final was not enough to get his battle-weary body ready for the biggest match of his life, Anderson was glad Wimbledon had introduced a new tiebreak rule this year as it would spare others a similar ordeal.

Wimbledon opted to introduce a tiebreak at 12-12 in the final set of singles matches -- which had previously been open ended -- rather than at 6-6 as is the norm in other sets.

Next up for the South African is Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic.

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