Serena Returns Tuesday At Wimbledon; Raducanu, Kerber, Jabeur Win

by Staff | June 27th, 2022, 6:49 pm
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A wide open Wimbledon women’s event got underway Monday with few if any upsets.

British teen queen Emma Raducanu made her Centre Court debut a good one holding off the nerves to top Alison van Uytvanck 6-4, 6-4. The Belgian who had a strong grass lead-up pushed the 19-year-old early in both sets but failed to hold leads in the break-fest.

“From the moment I walked out through those gates, I could really just feel the energy and the support and everyone was behind me from the word ‘go’,” Raducanu said. “I just really tried to cherish every single point on there, played every point like it could have been one of my last on that court.

Raducanu shrugged off any rib ailments which forced her out of lead-ups.

“I didn’t play tennis for two weeks, then this week I’ve hit like an hour a day. My preparation wasn’t necessarily the greatest,” she went on. “But I know that when it comes to the matches, I feel like I really especially switch on. I don’t feel like I need massive amount of preparation. Of course, I do to build physically.

“I think a lot of it is mental, and I definitely went out with the belief today. I know that I can compete with anyone on the other side of the court when I really go for it.”

Former champion and 2021 semifinalist Angelique Kerber held off a late charge by Kiki Mladenovic to win it 6-0, 7-5.

Hot-handed Ons Jabeur, now ranked No. 2 in the world, rolled in 54 minutes over Mirjam Bjorklund 6-1, 6-3. Following a stunning opening round loss at the French, Jabeur was ready today.

“I don’t like to make the mistake twice,” said Jabeur. “I learned a lot from the first round in Roland Garros. Obviously everything feels different here. I feel more ready. Starting Monday, not Sunday, is much better for me. Scheduling, playing few matches, just get the perfect amount of playing on grass was great.”

Second-seeded Anett Kontaveit quietly found good form with a 7-5, 6-1 win over American Bernarda Pera.

“I’m really excited to be playing again and really happy that I can compete here,” Kontaveit said after dealing with long COVID. “A month ago, I was really having a hard time. I really wouldn’t have come here if I wasn’t feeling like I could play a match, compete at the highest level. I’ve been feeling better. I mean, there’s some times I felt dips in my energy from time to time. But I’ve been managing it, trying to prepare the best that I can take the most out of the situation I’m in.”

Elsewhere, Danielle Collins was the lone Top 10 seed to fall going down Marie Bouzkova and the the red-hot Beatrice Haddad Maia succumbed to an early exit to Kaja Juvan.

Caroline Garcia, Elise Mertens and Alison Riske were also winners.

Tomorrow, Serena Williams returns for his first match in a year since injuring her right hamstring at Wimbledon. The 40-year-old will take on Frenchwoman Harmony Tan.

On a busy day for the women, top ranked Iga Swiatek will look to improve her win streak to 36 against Jana Fett, Simona Halep appears in her first Wimbledon since her 2019 title as she takes on 2-time Wimbledon quarterfinal Karolina Muchova.

Coco Gauff, Petra Kvitova, Garbine Muguruza and 2021 finalist Karolina Pliskova are also in action.

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