Live again from Centre and around the Courts (Day 2 Wimbledon 2018).

Another eventful day at the Championships and another few upsets. One in particular that I wasn’t expecting. More of that later.

I was on Centre so watched Garbine Muguruza open up as defending champion against Naomi Broady. Now, Broady gave this a real go today, firing that backhand of hers all over the gaff. She lost 6/2 7/5 but had the Spaniard worried, no two ways about it. A poor game at the end cost her the match. It will be interesting to see if anyone can get to Muguruza in the early rounds. This one was seen through in the end.

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Then the moment my missus was waiting for. Her debut at a Rafa match. She was almost as buzzing as me yesterday, almost! He was playing Dudi Sela. Sela came out aggressively and hit through Nadal’s defence early on. From 3/3 in the opener though Nadal took control to quickly lead by a set and a break. Sela still made a game of it but the result was never really in doubt after that. I was loving Rafa’s overheads today. Classy and secure. He will face Mikhail Kukushkin next, this should be a good matchup for Rafa as indeed Sela is. Nadal beat the Russian 6/7 6/1 6/1 6/1 in 2014.

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It was time for a break from Centre after that, I did my usual random thing. I wanted to watch a bit of Sofia Kenin against Maria Sakkari on Court 9. Kenin got over the line in three. There was some good hitting in this by and large. Sakkari made far too many unforced errors in the decider though as it raced away from her. She will like her chances of going a few rounds now, Kenin, especially after Sharapova’s loss to Vitalia Diatchenko from a set and 5/2 up.

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Next we were back up to Centre to watch an additional match to the court’s order of play. Jelena Ostapenko against the WC Brit Katy Dunne. This was patchy from Ostapenko today as is quite often the case. Dunne acquitted herself well but you always felt this was a match on the racket of the Latvian. She had a 5/1 lead in the first set and 5/2 lead in the second but only managed to get over the line 7/5 7/6. Kirsten Flipkens should like her chances in the second round against the Latvian, she beat Heather Watson. By all accounts Watson played well but just not well enough on the big points, it’s been a familiar story.

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My final piece of the jigsaw for today was Sachia Vickery v Marketa Vondrousova. I got a bit caught up in Ostapenko v Dunne and ended up missing the first set of Vickery as she had raced away with it 6/1. Her form was much the same in the second as she won it 6/2. Her balanced game was far too strong for Vondrousova whose error count kept creeping up. Nice controlled aggression from Sachia today, Elise Mertens next up. I would like to see her win that, nothing against the Belgian.

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Away from my eyes, there were straight sets wins for Simona Halep, Angie Kerber (over Zvonareva), Naomi Osaka and Daria Kasatkina. Ash Barty had a few issues early on in her straight sets win over Voegele but got it done. Anett Kontaveit comfortably beat Alllertova, she will possibly face Muguruza in the third round. On Brit watch, there was a victory for Katie Boulter over Veronica Cepede Royg. This looked like it was going to be a straight sets wins for the Brit but by the end, she had done well to hang in there and win in three. She has a decent game for grass and faces Osaka next. Osaka beat her recently in Edgbaston, so she can go in with no pressure there. Gabriella Taylor gave Eugenie Bouchard a scare but the Qualifier won in three and Jo Konta wasn’t entirely convincing against Natalia Vikhlyantseva but managed to get over in straights. The Russian has a lot of ability on grass and this wasn’t an easy draw. Especially considering the pressure Konta is under. A lot of points to defend from last year remember.

The biggest upset came from Aliaksandra Sasnovich beating Petra Kvitova. I don’t know where this has come from either, to be honest. I had a lot of faith in Petra this year. It sounds like she wasn’t well and things were certainly a miss as her serve deserted her. Getting bageled in the third kind of points to that. She wasn’t the only seed to suffer though as you have seen from this tournament. Belinda Bencic added to that list by ousting an out of form Caroline Garcia in straights. I think I saw that 11 men’s seeds have fallen so far and 10 ladies in the two days.

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In the men’s, Matty Ebden beat 10th seed David Goffin in straights. In truth, this wasn’t that much of an upset. The Ozzy said he expected the result himself and there was certainly no arrogance in that. Marcos Baghdatis upset Dominic Thiem, albeit by retirement. The Austrian was two sets down when he withdrew with a back problem, apparently from a fall in the first set. Frances Tiafoe beat Fernando Verdasco, the Spaniard looking past his best at the moment, good win for Frances though. Obviously, Jack Sock kept up his horrendous form, losing from two sets up against Matteo Berrettini.

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Karen Khachanov held firm by beating David Ferrer, who almost scrapped his way back into it. Kei Nishikori struggled against Christian Harrison and will have to be a lot more on the ball when he faces Bernard Tomic next. I really fancy Tomic here but you can never be quite sure if the ‘really Bernie’ will turn up. If he does he should have too much for Nishikori on the grass at the moment. Seeds that had less stress were Kyle Edmund, Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic (apparently Sandgren has had an elbow injury and didn’t ever really look in it yesterday). Diego Schwartzman hammered Mirza Basic and in doing so claimed his first win on grass, good on ya lad. Delpo got off to a convincing start with a routine win over Peter Gojowczyk as did Sascha Zverev over Jack Duckworth. Both opponents who have had recent or long-term injuries, as of course Delpo has. Denis Shapovalov claimed a good win over Jeremy Chardy in a battle of former junior champions. It was disappointing to see Jay Clarke go out. Great effort from him though to take Ernests Gulbis to five sets. He maintained his level over the entire match which is impressive and he is starting to reap the rewards for all his hard work. Onwards and upwards for Jay. I would like to see Gulbis go a few rounds now.

 

Andy Del Potro

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