At Wimbledon it was a day of few surprises. Even so, many matches managed to entertain and many seeds remained on-course for later round clashes.
In a match that perhaps did not receive much thought before the tournament started, Jarkko Niemenen defeated Lleyton Hewitt in a thrilling five setter. Interestingly, this year’s Wimbledon is the last of each man’s career and that finality provided an added layer of suspense.
Niemenen outlasted Hewitt 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, 11-9 and eventually prevailed in a fifth set in which both players struggled to gain an advantage. Niemenen managed to get a break and match point in a deuce game at 9-10 on Hewitt’s serve and capitalized on his first match point. Hewitt received an ovation and displayed his customary salute before leaving the court.
Elsewhere at the All England Club, Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Stan Wawrinka, and Serena Williams all won straight-set matches on a day in which few seeds suffered losses.
There were few upsets, but two young Americans were able to topple seeded players. Denis Kudla, a 22 year-old ranked 105th, defeated 28th seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay in a five set thriller. And in the women’s draw talented youngster Sloane Stephens, also 22, defeated 27th seed Barbora Strycova in straight sets. U.S. tennis is searching for stars in the younger generation of players and these results give some encouragement to the American faithful.
Other young players posted impressive wins, as the 18 year-old German Alexander Zverev won a 9-7 fifth set over Teymuraz Gabashvili. In a matchup of rising players, Zverev will play Kudla in the second round. Seeded young guns Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios won in straight sets with Dominic Thiem winning in four.
The lower half of each draw begins play tomorrow with seven-time champion Roger Federer taking on Damir Dzumhur in the latter’s first tour-level grass court match. 2013 champion Andy Murray takes the court tomorrow along with sixth seed Tomas Berdych and tenth seed Rafael Nadal.
On the ladies’ side, defending champion Petra Kvitova squares off against Kiki Bertens. Third seed Simona Halep and tenth seed Angelique Kerber will also be in action.