Djokovic Slides To Victory As Wimbledon Makes Soggy Return

Djokovic Slides To Victory As Wimbledon Makes Soggy Return 2
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns towards Britain’s Jack Draper throughout their males’s singles first spherical match on the primary day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 28, 2021. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Novak Djokovic overcame an early scare earlier than getting his bid for a sixth Wimbledon and record-equalling twentieth Grand Slam title off to a successful begin on Monday whereas rain introduced havoc to the schedule, one 12 months after the match was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Defending champion and world primary Djokovic, trying to turn into simply the third man in historical past to finish a calendar Grand Slam, claimed a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Britain’s 253rd-ranked Jack Draper.

However, the 34-year-old Serb struggled on the slippery Centre Court floor with the roof closed above it because of the rain.

Left-handed Draper, taking part in simply his fifth match on the primary tour, saved seven of seven break factors within the opener to stun the highest seed.

But Djokovic quickly snuffed out any hazard of him turning into solely the third defending champion to lose within the first spherical, by sweeping by the rest of the tie.

He completed with a formidable 25 aces and 47 winners as his 19-year-old opponent, who grew up simply six miles (9.5km) from the All England Club, wilted.

– ‘Extremely well’ –

“He’s a youngster and I hadn’t seen him play too much prior to Queen’s and he played pretty well, won matches against high-ranked players,” mentioned Djokovic.

“Walking onto Wimbledon Centre Court for the first time, he’s done extremely well.”

Next up for Djokovic might be both former runner-up Kevin Anderson or Chilean qualifier Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera.

It was the 34-year-old Djokovic’s first match on the courtroom since his epic five-set win over Roger Federer within the 2019 remaining, the longest title match in match historical past and the place he saved two championship factors.

His match on Monday was preceded by a standing ovation for Professor Sarah Gilbert, one of many key scientists behind the Oxford Asra-Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine who was a particular visitor within the Royal Box.

Wimbledon seems to be very totally different with Covid-19 protocols in place and a 50% capability till finals day, however one acquainted characteristic was the summer season rain.

Play on the skin courts began 5 hours late with 16 of the day’s scheduled 64 matches cancelled till Tuesday.

Belarus second seed Aryna Sabalenka had the honour of being the primary winner on the match in two years when she downed Romanian qualifier Monica Niculescu 6-1, 6-4 underneath the roof of Court One.

Sabalenka fired 48 winners previous Niculescu.

Elsewhere on Monday, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, promoted to 3rd seed within the absence of Rafael Nadal, has a troublesome opener towards 57th-ranked Frances Tiafoe of the United States.

Tiafoe gained a second-tier grass courtroom Challenger occasion in Nottingham this month earlier than making the quarter-finals at Queen’s Club.

Tsitsipas, who misplaced a five-set remaining to Djokovic on the French Open two weeks in the past, made the final 16 at Wimbledon in 2018.

However, he was a first-round loser two years in the past and comes into Wimbledon with simply 15 matches on grass in his profession.

Two-time champion Andy Murray is on Centre Court towards Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili, a semi-finalist in Halle.

– Hotel bubble –

Murray, now ranked at 118, is taking part in his first singles match at Wimbledon since 2017 after a prolonged battle with hip and groin accidents.

Petra Kvitova, the 2011 and 2014 champion, begins towards former US Open winner Sloane Stephens.

Players are confined to a lodge ‘bubble’ in central London this 12 months.

However, there have already been two virus-related withdrawals.

Britain’s Johanna Konta was recognized as a detailed contact of a optimistic coronavirus case and should self-isolate.

The world quantity 31, a semi-finalist on the match in 2017, had been drawn to face Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.

The 30-year-old’s place might be taken by 123rd-ranked fortunate loser Wang Yafan of China.

On Saturday, former males’s doubles champion Frederik Nielsen was compelled to withdraw after additionally being recognized as a detailed contact.

“This is not unexpected,” mentioned All England Club chief government Sally Bolton.

“It’s terribly sad for the players but it’s something we plan for. We have protocols in place.”

AFP

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Djokovic Slides To Victory As Wimbledon Makes Soggy Return

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