Wimbledon Day 1: Murray, Djokovic survive, Tsitsipas out

  • Matt Trollope

Andy Murray let slip a huge lead, and Novak Djokovic dropped the first set, but both former Wimbledon champions refocused to win in four sets at the All England Club on Monday.

Murray earned a four-set win over No.24 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili to join Djokovic in the second round, after the world No.1 rebounded to beat another British wildcard in Jack Draper.

On a rain-affected day in London, No.3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas fell at the first hurdle to Frances Tiafoe; also bowing out was two-time champion Petra Kvitova, the 10th seed who lost to Sloane Stephens.  

Other big names in the women’s draw including Aryna Sabalenka, Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek and Garbine Muguruza all progressed in straight sets.

Murray, Djokovic stretched at Centre Court

Playing for the first time at Wimbledon in four years, Murray built a 6-4 6-3 5-0 lead over Basilashvili before faltering with the finish line in sight, losing seven straight games after serving for the match three times.

Departing the court as the roof closed, the 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon champion shrugged off that disappointment and broke Basiliashvili in the opening game of the fourth, and later broke the Georgian twice more to seal a heart-warming win.

Djokovic’s four-set victory was simpler; after struggling with his footing and losing the opener to his inspired, big-hitting opponent, the defending champion snapped into action, dropping only five more games to beat the teenager 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2. 

The win sets up a rematch of the 2018 final against former world No.5 Kevin Anderson, who beat qualifier Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera in four sets. 

Also advancing on Monday were fifth seed Andrey Rublev and No.8 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, four-set winners over Federico Delbonis and John Millman respectively. 

Young seeds Jannik Sinner and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who both reached the second week at Roland Garros, were eliminated; Davidovich Fokina won the first two sets before losing to qualifier Denis Kudla, while Sinner fell in four to Marton Fucsovics.

Upset of the day

The most notable loss of the opening day was Roland Garros finalist Tsitsipas’ 6-4 6-4 6-3 defeat to Tiafoe. 

Tiafoe entered the tournament full of confidence given he had won the recent Nottingham Challenger on grass before advancing the quarterfinals at Queen’s Club.

And he maintained that momentum, striking 43 winners to just 22 errors in a clean performance on Court No.1.

Tsitsipas’ struggles at Wimbledon continue; the Greek star has now lost in the first round in three of his four visits to SW19, and has not won a match on grass since Queen’s in 2019. 

Kvitova ousted while other big names progress

Unlike Tsitsipas, Kvitova’s comfort on grass was expected to serve her well as she chased her third title at the All England Club.

But despite a semifinal finish in Bad Homburg last week, she was unable to continue that form, managing just eight winners in her 6-3 6-4 loss to fellow major champion Stephens. 

Stephens, who reached the Wimbledon quarters back in 2013, next faces fellow American Kristie Ahn, who recovered from 4-2 down in the third set and saved a match point to beat Brit Heather Watson.

In the first match of the day, No.2 seed Sabalenka belted 48 winners to Monica Niculescu’s eight in beating the Romanian 6-1 6-4.  

Even more dominant was 2017 champion Muguruza, who routed France’s Fiona Ferro 6-0 6-1. 

Major champions Kenin and Swiatek, the fourth and seventh seeds respectively, notched victories; Swiatek’s 6-4 6-4 win was especially notable over a tricky grass-court opponent in Hsieh Su-Wei, considering her inexperience on the surface. 

Stat of the day

Tsitsipas’ exit means that for the fourth straight year, the Roland Garros men's finalist has been eliminated from the first round of Wimbledon.

Dominic Thiem fell in the first round in both 2018 and 2019, while Stan Wawrinka lost to Daniil Medvedev in his opening-round match in 2017.

The last Roland Garros runner-up to win a match at Wimbledon was Murray in 2016 – the year he went on to win his second title at the All England Club.

Tweet of the day

Said Tiafoe: “I saw her (Stephens) today right before, she was coming up, I was going to practice. I was just like, Sloane, I back you to win today. I'm not even worried about it. She's cracking up laughing. She's like, You better do the same thing. I was like, hey, don't worry about it."

Both Tiafoe and Stephens, good friends, did win their matches. And Stephens tweeted this in celebration of their upset victories.

Quotes of the day

“Of course in the beginning I was really nervous to open the Wimbledon and also be first playing on first court. I was nervous a little bit because I haven't play on the stadiums at Wimbledon. But, yeah, really happy that I won that match. The atmosphere there was unbelievable. Yeah, I was enjoy(ing) it.”
- Aryna Sabalenka

“I think I probably had one of the best serving performances that I can recall on any surface. I think I matched, someone told me, the record I had whether it was earlier this year or last year in Australia, also 25 aces in four sets.”
- Novak Djokovic

“I was actually very emotional when I got inside of the court, and it was a lot of people waiting for us. I felt very happy to be back. It was a nice feeling. I play for the people to come and watch. That gives me the motivation, the strength. I feel like it has always been like this with me. The bigger the stage, I feel like, the more motivated I am.”
- Garbine Muguruza

“The transition from clay to grass, in my opinion, is probably the most difficult one, if not the biggest challenge in our sport. I just wasn't able to adapt.”
- Stefanos Tsitsipas

“It was great. I love that whole tradition, the whole atmosphere that we had on court. Coming back at the same court that I played as a junior, it bring back so many memories. I was pretty excited to play there. I just feel like my coach prepared me really well. We used like the best tactics possible for Su-Wei. I wanted to play powerful, really strong, not let her use her touch and all that tricky balls with weird spin.”
- Iga Swiatek

Day 2: Ones to watch

A star-studded line-up is set for Centre Court on Tuesday, with world No.1 Ash Barty opening play against Spanish comeback star Carla Suarez Navarro.

Roger Federer and Serena Williams, both seeded No.6 and who have combined for 15 Wimbledon singles titles, will follow Barty and Suarez Navarro onto the same court, facing Adrian Mannarino and Aliaksandra Sasnovich respectively. 

ORDER OF PLAY: Wimbledon Day 2

On Court No.1, Angelique Kerber and Daniil Medvedev – players who won grass-court events last week – will kick off their Wimbledon campaigns, with second seed Medvedev handed a tough assignment against Jan-Lennard Struff.

Several matches held over from Monday, due to rainy weather and then fading light, will also appear on the Tuesday schedule.