Kenin Knocks Out Gauff, Venus Falls, Swiatek Rolls At Wimbledon; Rybakina, Sabalenka Tues.

by Staff | July 3rd, 2023, 7:46 pm
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While world No. 1 Iga Swiatek had her way in her Wimbledon opener easing past Lin Zhu 6-1, 6-3, the focus on Monday was the Americans.

Venus Williams at 43 returned to Centre Court to take on former No. 3 Elina Svitolina. The 5-time champion jumped out ahead a break and led serving 2-0 when Williams slipped at the net injuring her right knee. She screamed in agony but after treatment was able to continue.

Venus dropped four straight games and while she started moving better, Svitolina moved on 6-4, 6-4.

“It’s always a pleasure to play against Venus,” said Svitolina who is now 4-1 against Venus. “It is a really special moment today to play here in front of you guys on the special court as well, against a big legend of the sport. It’s a really humble feeling.”

The all-American showdown between former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and Coco Gauff lived up to the hype as Kenin took it 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. Kenin, a qualifier, fought off multiple break points in an epic fourth game of the third then hung on to put away the speedy Gauff who was plagued again by her forehand which donated 18 unforced errors.

“I knew I had to play my best to win,” Kenin said. “I just took it point by point, not getting anxious or excited. I really battled out there. I’m so happy I was able to finish it before it got dark – I didn’t want to come back tomorrow.”

Gauff suffered her earliest exit at Wimbledon. She’s the first Top 10 seed out of Wimbledon.

“She had nothing to lose,” said Gauff. “I knew, coming in, she would play with a lot of motivation. It was all about how I would play today and how I would take care of my end of the court.

“Defeat makes me want to work even harder. Right now I feel very frustrated and disappointed. I feel like I have been working hard, but clearly it’s not enough.”

American No. 1 Jessica Pegula scraped past the pesky Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-7(8-10), 6-3.

Earlier, Swiatek said she had no issues with the illness from Friday in Germany.

“I’m happy that I had time to recover,” said Swiatek. “Before a Grand Slam, you never want to risk being too fatigued, so I think we did everything well and I feel prepared. I had a chance to practise yesterday and (it’s) all good. I feel like I’m in the rhythm.”

Elsewhere, 5th-seeded Caroline Garcia beat 21-year-old Katie Volynets 6-4, 6-3. The 11th-seeded Daria Kasatkina overcame Caroline Dolehide 6-1, 6-4.

Twelfth-seeded Veronika Kudermetova topped Kaia Kanepi 7-6(7-4), 6-4. No. 14 seed Belinda Bencic ousted Great Britain’s Katie Swan 7-5, 6-2. Ana Bogdan upset No. 15 seed Liudmila Samsonova 7-6(7-1), 7-6(7-4). And two-time semifinalist Victoria Azarenka edged (3Yue Yuan 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

Tuesday, Elena Rybakina opens her Wimbledon title defense against Shelby Rogers. Rybakina has won three of five tour-level head-to-head encounters when facing Rogers with Rogers winning last year on grass in Den Bosch.

Rogers won their most recent collision in the 2022 s Hertogenbosch R16.

No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka faces Panna Udvardy in a first-time tour-level collision. 2022 finalist Ons Jabeur faces Magdalena Frech, No. 8 Maria Sakkari takes on Marta Kostyuk, two-time champion Petra Kvitova meets Jasmine Paolini, No. 10 Barbora Krejcikova battles Brit Heather Watson, French semifinalist Beatriz Haddad Maia faces Yulia Putintseva and French runner-up No. 16 Karolina Muchova meets 2022 quarterfinalist Jule Niemeier.

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