On a wet opening day at Wimbledon, former champions Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both dropped sets but French finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas was bundled out by Frances Tiafoe in routine fashion 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
Tiafoe broke Tsitsipas immediately and that set the tone for the American to collect his first career Top 5 win.
Tiafoe never dropped serve, took away the net and overall dominated the Greek who has never excelled on the grass.
“I woke up this morning like, ‘Yeah, I’m beating Stefanos.’ It happened. I think believing it when nobody else does is so big,” said Tiafoe.
“This is definitely one of my best performances. From start to finish it was pretty clean. If you want to play against the best in the world, in the best atmosphere in the world, this is what you train for and what it’s all about.
“I live for these kind of moments. I love this, playing in front of you guys. It feels unbelievable to hear a crowd like this again – you guys are great. From early on, you guys were really behind me. I was having fun with it and saw a ton of smiles. I’m glad you enjoyed it, because I definitely did.”
Tsitsipas has now lost his last six sets.
“It’s just not easy. But I don’t want to put emphasis to that too much. My opponent played significantly better than me. There wasn’t the drive that I was hoping for. There wasn’t that same fighting spirit that I usually put out on the court,” said Tsitsipas.
Earlier, Djokovic came from a set down to deny 19-year-old Jack Draper 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
Playing in his first Slam, the Brit Draper got some help from a flat Djokovic to grab an early break. The teen held on for an improbably first set lead over the 19-time Slam winner. But Djokovic dominated with his serve after, finishing with 25 aces and 14 straight holds to win his 15th straight Slam match and 15th straight at Wimbledon.
“”It feels great seeing everyone and being back on probably the most special, the most sacred tennis court in the world,” said Djokovic. “Obviously, alongside many other players, I was very sad last year that Wimbledon was cancelled. Very difficult times for everyone, but I’m really glad that the sport is back and hopefully you guys have enjoyed it and you will enjoy it in the next couple of weeks.”
Two-time champion and home favorite Murray was on in the evening against the seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili. Playing in his first Wimbledon since a 2017 quarterfinal, Murray surprisingly raced out to a two lead and up 5-0 in the third it looked all but over.
But the Goergian scraped and clawed his way back as Murray got tight. Murray missed two match points at 5-3 and 30 minutes later, Basilashvili had won seven straight games to force a fourth. After the 25 minute break to close the roof, Murray found some much needed energy in the fourth and hung on for a tough 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 victory.
“It’s amazing to be back playing out here on Centre Court again, in such a brilliant atmosphere,” Murray said on court.
“It’s something I’ve really missed. I was obviously so disappointed to have lost the third set and had to remember what I was doing that got me in a winning position. I managed to turn it back round.
“It’s been extremely tough to back to this stage. I’ve had such little momentum over these last few years. I just kept trying, kept working hard, doing all the right things to get me back in this position. I feel very lucky I get to do it again.”
Elsewhere, after a near 5-hour delay to start on the outside courts, Russians Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov were winners while American Reilly Opelka fell in straight sets to Dominik Koepfer and Jannik Sinner went down to former Wimbledon junior champion Marton Fucsovics.
Some 16 matches were either cancelled or postponed including those involving Denis Shapovalov, Alex De Minaur and Diego Schwartzman.
Also tomorrow, Roger Federer opens his bid for a 9th career Wimbledon title against familiar French lefty Adrian Mannarino. Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Nick Kyrgios returns to take on Ugo Humbert.
TUESDAY WIMBLEDON SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT – 1:30PM
1. Ashleigh Barty v Carla Suarez Navarro
2. Roger Federer v Adrian Mannarino
3. Aliaksandra Sasnovich v Serena Williams
NO.1 COURT – 1:00PM
1. Tallon Griekspoor v Alexander Zverev
2. Angelique Kerber v Nina Stojanovic
3. Jan-Lennard Struff v Daniil Medvedev
NO.2 COURT – 11:00AM
1. Daniel Evans v Feliciano Lopez
Not Before: 12:30pm
2. Diego Schwartzman v Benoit Paire
3. Francesca Jones v Coco Gauff
4. Lucas Pouille v Cameron Norrie
5. Alize Cornet v Bianca Andreescu
NO.3 COURT – 11:00AM
1. Mihaela Buzarnescu v Venus Williams
2. Clara Tauson v Barbora Krejcikova
3. Fernando Verdasco v Grigor Dimitrov
4. Felix Auger-Aliassime v Thiago Monteiro
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