Wimbledon Day 1 Round Up

23 Jun 2009 by Hiland in Wimbledon 2009

roger-federerQueens finalist James Blake has become the first major casualty of the men’s singles tournament as he went down 7-5 6-4 7-6 (7-5) to Andreas Seppi. What a difference a week makes eh?

The American no.17 seed was unable to reproduce the same form at AEGON Championships which saw him win three out of four matches on grass, only to be pipped to the title by world number three Andy Murray.

But the 29-year-old will take no further part in this years’ grass court season after suffering a straight sets defeat to Italian Seppi. The unseeded 25-year-old dominated control of the game with Blake producing a series of unforced errors and subsequently falls at the first hurdle, and Seppi will now take on Frenchman Marc Gicquel in round two.

Meanwhile, tournament favourite Federer got his assault on a 6th Wimbledon title off to the perfect start with a 7-5 6-3 6-2 victory over Yen-Hsun Lu.

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The world number two opened the first game of the tournament at Centre Court as the main attraction of the day. And despite dropping serve early on in the first set, the Swiss delivered a dominant display for the crowd to book his place in round two.

The 27-year-old will now face a tougher test as he meets Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez who beat Agustin Calleri in three comfortable straight sets earlier in the day.

novak-djokovicFourth seed Novak Djokovic came from a set down to secure a 7-6 6-7 2-6 4-6 first round win over Julien Benneteau.

Benneteau has now lost 11 of his last 12 opening round matches on the Grand Slam circuit but threatened to stage a major upset after battling his way to the first set with a dramatic tie break win.

He was unable to claim the second set as they reached another tie break, this time Djokovic showed no mercy as he powered his way through with a series of mini breaks and square up the contest.

And the Serbian world number four was galvanised by the tie break win as the match was turned on its head and the 22-year-old cruised to the finish line by taking the next two sets with games to spare.

Elsewhere, 9th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battled his way to a 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) win over Andrey Golubev on Court Two. The Frenchman was forced into tie breaks in the final two sets as his Kazakhstani opponent refused to lie down.

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The match was a contender for the best of the day, however that award must surely go down to Karol Beck and Feliciano Lopez as fans on court 18 were treated to an epic five set thriller.

Beck took victory over his number 24 seed opponent with a 10-8 triumph in the final set after the two fought out an openly close four sets prior to the classic finale.

Meanwhile, French Open finalist Robin Soderling also got off to a winning start despite falling a set behind to Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller. The Swede, 13th seed, recovered to run out a 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-1 6-2 winner.

The 24-year-old did not participate in a grass court tournament to warm up for the third grand slam of the season, so will be particularly pleased at passing his first test since his French Open defeat to Federer.

In the women’s tournament there were few surprises on day one as the big names each pulled through to secure second round challenges.

serena-williamsSecond seed Serena Williams made light weight of Neuza Silva with a 6-1 7-5 win on Centre Court after Federer has previously opened proceedings.
The Portuguese qualifier was out powered by Serena’s superior serve as the two time Wimbledon queen took just short of an hour and a quarter to dispatch of the 26-year-old Silva.

Fellow former Queen of the grass court tournament Maria Sharapova also progressed on Day One as she fought out a 7-5 6-4 win over Ukrainian qualifier Viktoriya Kutuzova.

The Russian babe did not have everything her own way however as she found herself 4-1 and 5-3 down at stages in the first set. However, the 2004 Champion regained her stability and showed great fight to overturn the early pressure and take the set.

The 22-year-old has slipped down the rankings this year as shoulder surgery has restricted her participation on the ATP tour. However, a good showing at the AEGON Classic tournament in which she reached the semi finals, Sharapova has been tipped as an outsider for the tournament and showed the kind of determination on day one which suggests she not just here to make up the numbers.

Aside from the front runners, English teenager Laura Robson suffered defeat on her senior debut at the hands of Daniela Hantuchova. Much was unfairly expected of the wildcard entrant, who is still only 15, as she suffered a creditable 3-6 6-4 6-2 defeat to the Slovakian, ranked number 32 in the world.

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Some impressive serving from the teenager, who was born in Australia, enabled her to take a shock lead as she powered to the first set and had Hantuchova rattled early on.

However, the 26-year-old proved her hugely superior world ranking over Robson was justified as she capitalised on a series of double faults as the youngsters serve lost its way following the early promise.

Hantuchova will now face a much bigger task as she takes on sixteenth seed Jie Zheng in the second round after she beat unseeded Kristina Barrois 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4).

Meanwhile Englishman James Ward was unable to cause a first-round upset as he went down to number seven seed Fernando Verdasco in straight sets. The Spaniard used his experience to breeze past the British hopeful 6-1 6-3 6-4 in what looks like another disappointing year for the hosts’ English representatives. Verdasco will now face Serbian front runner Novak Djokovic in the second round in the first big name dual of the tournament.

And so the All English Club’s desperate wait for another English winner of their tournament continues with only Scot Andy Murray offering a realistic chance of producing a British winner in either tournament, and he will open his tournament assault on day two of the 123rd Wimbledon tournament.

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