WIMBLEDON, England -- After more than 24 hours of rain at the All England Club, a disjointed disorder was restored on a damp Wednesday.
The No.8-seeded Maria Sakkari, playing her first-round match a day late, produced a scintillating first set -- only to lose to Marta Kostyuk 0-6, 7-5, 6-2. Wimbledon remains the only Grand Slam in which Sakkari has failed to reach the second week.
The unseeded Kostyuk beat Sakkari for the first time in three tries -- and a Top 10 player for the first time in her career. Previously, Kostyuk had been 0-for-14, including five such matches in 2023 alone. Perhaps that was why when it ended, the unseeded 21-year-old from Ukraine fell to her knees, sobbing tears of joy.
A simply remarkable turnaround 🤯@marta_kostyuk stages a brilliant fightback against the No.8 seed Maria Sakkari to make her way into the second round, 0-6, 7-5, 6-2 👏#Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/zGieUfKTLz— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 5, 2023
Afterward, Kostyuk suggested she might not have won the match if there hadn’t been a second rain break in the second set.
“It helped me to calm down even more [than the first],” she told reporters. “I had that extra time to put myself together, in a way. I don’t know, honestly, I don't know how the match would turn out if there was no rain breaks.
“This one means a lot, because it was my 15th attempt to beat Top-10 player. Yeah, I had to do a check on my list. Very happy that that pressure is off my shoulders.”
Kostyuk will face Paula Badosa in the second round. The Spaniard advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Alison Riske-Amritraj.
While No.2 Aryna Sabalenka, No.3 Elena Rybakina and No.6 Ons Jabeur got their first-round matches in on Tuesday under the roofs of Centre Court and No.1 Court, the rest of the draw’s bottom half was not as fortunate. With the rain gradually, grudgingly drifting away from the All England Club, there was a frenzy of activity around the grounds with 42 scheduled women’s singles matches -- across two rounds and both halves of the draw.
The good news? All five of Monday’s top-half matches left hanging were completed. Anett Kontaveit, who has announced this is her last tournament, will live for another day after defeating Lucrezia Stefanini 6-4, 6-4 in the first round. Sloane Stephens, Donna Vekic, Danielle Collins and Elisabetta Cocciaretto also advanced.
3 - Marta Kostyuk is the 3rd player to defeat a top-10 seeded player at Wimbledon in the Open Era after losing the first set 0-6 after Sandrine Testud (1997 v Monica Seles) and Shinobu Asagoe (2003 v Daniela Hantuchova). Triumphant. #Wimbledon | @Wimbledon @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/IhFFPBLgOp— OptaAce (@OptaAce) July 5, 2023
Wednesday began the way Tuesday ended -- with rain delaying the 11 a.m. matches. There were subsequently two more rain stoppages, and at 3 p.m. local time, there had been more rain delays (3) than completed matches (0). At 3:02 p.m., Daria Kasatikina completed the first match, a 6-0, 6-2 over British wild card Jodie Burrage to advance to the third round.
That was about the time blue skies began to emerge and the results began to, as it were, pour in. For the most part, the rest of those postponed Day 2 matches were a day late but hardly a dollar (or a British Pound) short. Now, those winners likely will be scheduled to play their second-round matches on Thursday without a day of rest.
No.9 Petra Kvitova got a last-minute call-up to Centre Court and needed three sets to defeat Jasmine Paolini 6-4. 6-7(5), 6-1 in her opener. She now awaits the winner between Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Nuria Parrizas Diaz. Their match was suspended due to light, after Sasnovich took the first set 6-2.
No.10 Barbora Krejcikova handled Heather Watson of Great Britain 6-2, 7-5. Next up for the 2021 Roland Garros champion: The winner of the later match between Mirra Andreeva and Wang Xiyu.
No.13 Beatriz Haddad Maia came back to defeat Yulia Putintseva 3-6, 6-0, 6-4. She’ll face Jaqueline Cristian, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Lucia Bronzetti.
No.17 Jelena Ostapenko beat qualifier Greet Minnen 6-1, 6-2. Ostapenko, who won the title in Birmingham last month -- defeating Krejcikova in the final -- plays Sorana Cirstea, a 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 winner over Tatjana Maria.
No.21 Ekaterina Alexandrova was a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Emma Navarro and will meet Madison Brengle. The head-to-head is 1-all, with Brengle winning the most recent match a year ago in Cleveland. Alexandrova successfully defended her grass-court title in s'Hertogenbosch two weeks ago.
No.25 Madison Keys was a comprehensive 6-0, 6-3 winner over British wild card Sonay Kartal. The American is now 36-5 record in the opening round of a Slam, including a 9-0 mark at Wimbledon. Keys is coming off last week’s title in Eastbourne. She’ll get the winner of the match between Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Viktorija Golubic.
Here are the second-round matchups for the three high seeds that completed their matches Monday:
No.2 Sabalenka meets Varvara Gracheva, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Camila Giorgi. They have never played.
No.3 Rybakina plays Alizé Cornet. Rybakina holds a 2-0 career edge, with wins in Strasbourg and Hobart in 2020.
No.6 Jabeur takes on Bai Zhuoxuan, who defeated Ysaline Bonaventure 7-6(0), 6-1. This is a first-time encounter.