WIMBLEDON, England - Day 1 at Wimbledon saw two Top 5 seeds bow out in the first round for the first time in the Open Era at Wimbledon, while Agnieszka Radwanska provided the nail-biting dramatics, as the 2012 finalist saved six match points to keep her clean sheet at the All England Club.
History made as No.4 Sloane Stephens and No.5 Elina Svitolina fall.
For the first time in the Open Era, two Top 5 seeds lost in the first round at Wimbledon. Donna Vekic, who has found herself on the losing end of some heartbreakers at Wimbledon, scored the first Top 5 win of her career in a 6-1, 6-3 win over reigning US Open champion and French Open finalist Sloane Stephens in the first match on No.1 Court. The upset bug continued on No.2 Court later in the day, as newly-christened Mallorca Open champion Tatjana Maria stunned No.5 Elina Svitolina 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1 to score her first Top 5 win as well.
"It's unfortunate," Stephens told reporters after the match. The American had an outside shot of unseating No.1 Simona Halep with a title run. "The same thing I said to you is the same thing I said to my coach: Man, that was unfortunate. She played well. It was not too much you can do. I'm not going to go cry a bit, bang my racquet. No.
"Look, what happened, what did you learn, let's work on it. It happened. Can't dwell on it. Can't take it back, yeah."
In addition to Stephens and Svitolina, No.16 CoCo Vandeweghe suffered an ankle injury but still found herself in a winning position against Katerina Siniakova, leading 5-3 in the third set only to lose 6-7(3), 6-3, 8-6. The loss snapped Vandeweghe's three-year streak of making the second week a Wimbledon.
Also out on Day 1: No.21 Anastasia Sevastova (l. Giorgi 6-1, 2-6, 6-4), No.19 Magdalena Rybarikova (l. Cirstea 7-5. 6-3), and No.31 Zhang Shuai (l. Petkovic 6-4, 4-6, 6-2).
Agnieszka Radwanska now 13-0 in Wimbledon first rounds.
Radwanska held the longest-active streak of Slam main draw appearances before she was forced to skip the French Open last month due to injury. So what a way to start a new streak. Radwanska saved six match points in a single game to fend off a strong upset bid from 20-year-old Romanian qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
Mothers go 4-1 on Day 1.
Serena Williams (d. Arantxa Rus, 6-5, 6-3), Victoria Azarenka (d. 7-6(4), 6-3), Tatjana Maria (d. Svitolina, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1), and Evgeniya Rodina (d. Lottner, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4) were victorious on Monday, making it a very strong day for the moms on tour.
After her 7-5, 6-3 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova, Azarenka was asked about the All England Club's decision to seed Serena at No.25 on her Wimbledon return:
Q. Last year you didn't get a seeding after becoming a new mother. Serena has got a seeding this year after becoming a new mother. Wondered what your thoughts are on that?
Azarenka: It's as simple as you just said it. I didn't get it last year. She got it this year.
I think it's an important conversation that has been started. This conversation has led to numerous meetings, numerous occasions where we are discussing the rules and how can we be a leader in sports to have the best maternity policy for not -- I don't think just women, but I think all sports. And that conversation is ongoing.
A couple days ago we had a big meeting, and I feel like we are moving in a really good direction. I feel that our voices, as a player council, are heard. We do implement things that are going to be important for players.
But my main thing is that it has to be for everyone, and the rules have to be applied for everyone. So that is one thing that we haven't come to the conclusion yet, but it's coming. I think I'm pretty proud of what kind of conversations we have been having.
Day 1 Stats:
- She wasn't able to get the win, but Aryna Sabalenka is now tied with Petra Kvitova for the most three-set matches played so far in 2018, playing her 16th three-set match of the season.
- Two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova lost in the first round to No.23 Barbora Strycova 7-6(6), 7-5. Kuznetsova's streak of 831 consecutive weeks in the Top 100, dating back to August 12, 2002, will end on the Monday after Wimbledon.
- With Sloane Stephens' first-round exit, only No.2 Caroline Wozniacki can overtake Simona Halep at No.1 after Wimbledon.
Photo of the Day:
Quote of the Day:
Take it away, Serena!
Q. Roger Federer was telling us earlier on that he'd like to carry on playing long enough so his four-year-old twin boys can remember him playing tennis. Would you like to carry on playing long enough for your little girl to remember you playing here?
Serena Williams: Oh, I'm just playing until Roger stops (laughter).... We in it. We in it together. As long as he's here, I'm going to try to be here.