Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Konta and Edmund triumph as Kvitova and Sharapova lose Wimbledon openers

Johanna Konta made it through to the second round of Wimbledon on Tuesday Johanna Konta made it through to the second round of Wimbledon on Tuesday
Cary Erickson | 06 July, 2018, 01:44

The players Nadal and Halep downed in the French Open finals made quick Wimbledon exits.

That includes two-time champion Petra Kvitova, who was sent home by Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 a few hours before 2004 titlist Sharapova folded against Vitalia Diatchenko in a 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-4 loss she seemingly controlled time and again before dropping the last three games.

Last year Wimbledon marked Kvitova's third tournament back after she was attacked in her home and needed surgery on her left, playing hand to save her career. She closed it out as Garcia lost her footing early in the second set and Bencic would build mountains of confidence out of this win and try to get back to where she rightly belongs.

But Konta could feel very satisfied when she surveyed the destruction of the women's draw, with four of the top eight seeds failing to make it through the first round. [It] was a first round.

"The nerves were there again, " Kvitova said.

"I was the biggest opponent I could have".

"I tried", Kvitova added. "I think it's all of the seeded players". While that was on clay, the style of Sharapova's grass court would be put to the test as she got no time in competition the last 26 days. "Everyone is equal here; everyone wants to win", Sasnovich said. Both tallied 19 double faults in their marathon match with the 30-year-old having one too many that ultimately cost her.

Sharapova, the 2004 champion, was joined at the exit by 2011 and 2014 victor Petra Kvitova who was stunned by Belarusian world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Champion Garbine Muguruza described winning Wimbledon as a "priceless" experience after she opened traditional "ladies day" on Wimbledon's Centre Court with a 6-2, 7-5 win over British wildcard Naomi Broady in the first round yesterday.

Though she struggled to finish in round one, this should be Konta's match to win.

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It is these ventures that have won her some grudging respect from her fellow players and shown her a potential alternative life outside the tennis bubble. The Brit is the better player overall and on grass, though her recent inconsistency means there is a chance for a surprise. I was thinking a little bit too much. "She was there to win it, and she did".

On match point, Sharapova dumped her 10th double fault into net bringing a timid conclusion to her first opening-round exit in 14 career appearances at The Championships.

Yeah, she was there to win it, and she did.' Sharapova also commented on her schedule in the previous weeks and months: 'I would have loved to have played Birmingham.

"Kept doing that in the third, as well".

That was the case today.

Kvitova is the fourth top 10 women's seed to lose in the first round. Sharapova, the No. 24 seed, managed to fend off world No. 132 Vitalia Diatchenko of Russian Federation through a first-set tiebreak before losing the second set tiebreak and eventually the third set, 6-4.

Australia's Nick Kyrgios, who famously stunned Nadal at the tournament in 2014, marked his 50th match at the majors with a 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 win over Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.

But Serena Williams and Roger Federer looked in ominous form as they eased through to round three.

Seventh seed Karolina Pliskova, meanwhile, won a battle of former No. 1s with Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round for the first time yesterday.