The lateness of this post can be blamed on a reimagined racing bandicoot (cryptic perhaps). But suffice to say that such were the goings on throughout Day 1 here that you would have stumbled across the headlines by now, rendering this post to a mere pause for breath and a chance to recap.
I can’t quite remember such an eventful start to Wimbles in recent times, not least of all in the men’s game. There was something almost comfortingly traditional in the early exits of Sasha Zverev (lost to Veseley) and Tsitsipas (lost to Fabbiano). Could it be that the grass still isn’t for everyone? Perhaps, but for whatever reason these next gen stars did fall today (and the German seemed to suggest his was mental amidst personal issues which I hope prove brief) both players were refreshingly frank of their performances.
No such trouble for the other contenders in this half of the draw as Djokovic, Edmund, Anderson, Wawrinka and Raonic amongst others all progressed with little fuss. Djokovic and Anderson’s victories particularly impressive given their opposition.
Elsewhere we lost Monfils to injury but Feliciano Lopez and Ivo Karlovic are through as usual.
The women would have the final say on the opening day’s drama however. Whilst we lost Sabalenka (Rybarikova), Ostapenko (Hseih), Cornet (Azarenka), Garcia (Zhang) and Giorgi (Yastremska), this was but the tip of the iceberg for major stories.
The above results were not all ‘shocks’ per se, but certainly talking points, albeit now likely to be eclipsed by the exits of Osaka (Putintseva) and -most of all – Venus to the 15 year old Cori Gauff.
A word on these matches. Putintseva, with her heavy use of the slice and wonderfully disguised drop shot was a joy to watch. Osaka had no answer and clearly no Plan B that she was willing or able to execute.
In Gauff we have a Hollywood story, but as undeniably impressive as her performance was – Venus played very well – this is but one (admittedly very memorable) victory, let’s not get ahead of ourselves people
Elsewhere Halep survived and there were more comfortable wins for Pliskova, Svitolina and Wozniacki.
Day 2 ones to watch
Maria Vs Kerber
Thiem Vs Querrey
Cillic Vs Mannarino
Tomic Vs Tsonga
Fritz Vs Berdych
Vekic Vs Riske
Kuznetsova Vs Van Uytvanck
Tiafoe Vs Fognini