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First Round Kicks Off At Wimbledon

Caroline Wozniacki won her opener in 59 minutes - elsewhere, Sloane Stephens set up a second round clash with a former Top 10 player on the rise again. The first round got underway on Monday.

Published June 24, 2013 12:03

First Round Kicks Off At Wimbledon
Caroline Wozniacki

LONDON, England - The first round of Wimbledon kicked off on Monday and things went pretty much to form - among the winners were two players who haven't always seen their best days at the grass court Grand Slam, two players who have been to the quarterfinals of every Slam but this one.

Andrea Petkovic, a wildcard into the draw, blasted 18 winners to just nine unforced errors - and won 76% of her first serve points - to swat aside the challenge of Pauline Parmentier in straight sets, 63 62.

This has been the elusive Grand Slam for former World No.9 Petkovic. She has been to the quarters of the other three, but never here - she has never even been past the third round of Wimbledon.

"It awkwardly has to do with the head a lot," Petkovic commented. "Normally when I went into the grass season I was already pissed before I hit one ball. This time I was just in this mood of gratefulness for my second chance career. I just see it really as a second career. I was just like, 'Okay, you're just going to go for the grass and love it and try to start a romance with it. And if it doesn't want to, you're going to force it to love back. So I'm just enjoying myself out here on the grass this year, to be honest.

"It's never going to be my favorite surface, but as I said, I'm working on at least a romance."

Next up for Petkovic is No.17 seed Sloane Stephens, who beat Jamie Hampton, 63 63, just a few days after Hampton made her biggest breakthrough on the same surface - her first WTA final in Eastbourne.

"Even though it was three and three, it was a really tough match - I think we played a pretty high quality of tennis," Stephens said. "Obviously now she's the third-highest-ranked American. I told her after the match I was really excited for her. Obviously she's been playing really well - she played great at the French Open and had a really good week last week in Eastbourne. I'm really happy for her now.

"Everyone has their time to move up in the rankings and push. And we all want to see each other do well - but especially Jamie, I'm so happy for her because she's one of my favorites. It's good."

Petkovic beat Stephens in their only previous meeting, at Carlsbad two years ago.

"I played her when she was still very young - she's still young, but she was even younger back then," Petkovic said. "I played a solid match - she was missing a lot, so I cannot take a lot out of there.

"I remember her shots are very heavy and she hits the ball very clean. The ball has a lot of spin on it and it just moves in your racquet. I already said in Carlsbad she's a great talent and is going to make big things - she proved that already. I'll have to sort it out, watch a few YouTube videos. She has developed so much as a player, so I will have to prepare myself and see what's going to happen.

"But I'm very excited to have won my first round. I was never that excited to win a first round, too."

Another player looking to complete her Grand Slam quarterfinal collection this fortnight, the No.9 seed, Caroline Wozniacki, needed just 59 minutes to cruise past Estrella Cabeza Candela in two, 60 62.

"I found the conditions quite slow today, actually," Wozniacki said. "I think the practice courts are a little faster. But it was good to play. No wind, a little cloudy - perfect to play tennis out there, really."

Meanwhile, No.8 seed Petra Kvitova - who has had her best Grand Slam result here, winning the title in 2011 - recovered from losing the second set and eventually beat Coco Vandeweghe in three, 61 57 64.

Other favorites moving on were No.2 seed Victoria Azarenka (read more here) and No.3 seed Maria Sharapova (read more here), but No.5 seed Sara Errani lost in the first big upset (read more here).

Another upset saw Czech qualifier Eva Birnerova beat No.26 seed Varvara Lepchenko, 62 46 64.

Other seeds moving through were Ana Ivanovic, Marion Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic, Carla Suárez Navarro, Kirsten Flipkens, Sorana Cirstea, Ekaterina Makarova, Lucie Safarova and Alizé Cornet.

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