Wimbledon 2019 singles round-up: Naomi Osaka eliminated in first round; Prajnesh Gunneswaran beaten by Milos Raonic

  • World number two Naomi Osaka’s hopes of a third Grand Slam title were shredded on Centre Court as she was dumped out of Wimbledon in the first round, losing 7-6(4), 6-2 to Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva on Monday

  • On a sunny Court Two against Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans Stan Wawrinka belted 26 winners in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory that took less than an hour and a half

  • After an early wobble, defending champion Novak Djokovic got right back on track on Centre Court at Wimbledon

Prajnesh Gunneswaran loses to Milos Raonic

India's top singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran crashed out of the Wimbledon Championships after going down in straight sets to world number 17 Milos Raonic of Canada.

 Wimbledon 2019 singles round-up: Naomi Osaka eliminated in first round; Prajnesh Gunneswaran beaten by Milos Raonic

Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Milos Raonic shake hands after their match. Reuters

The 29-year-old Indian, ranked 94 in the world, lost 6-7 (1), 4-6, 2-6 to 15th seed Raonic. It was Prajnesh's third first-round exit after losing in the opening round at both Australian Open and French Open.

The Left-handed Prajnesh, who made his maiden appearance at the Wimbledon, had his chances but unforced errors put paid to his hopes.

He fought really hard in the opening set. He seemed solid on serve for six games but dropped the first set in the tiebreak. The experienced Raonic converted the first of five set points to take it 7-6(1) in 42 minutes.

The match didn't reach this intensity after the opening set as Raonic walked away with it to enter the second round.

Prajnesh was the only Indian in the singles main draw after Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina bowed out after losing their respective second round qualifying matches. Saketh Myneni had lost in the first round of the qualifiers.

Naomi Osaka knocked out in first round

World number two Naomi Osaka’s hopes of a third Grand Slam title were shredded on Centre Court as she was dumped out of Wimbledon in the first round, losing 7-6(4), 6-2 to Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva on Monday.

Naomi Osaka in action at Wimbledon. Reuters

Naomi Osaka in action at Wimbledon. Reuters

The Japanese, who had nervelessly battered her way to Grand Slam success at the US and Australian Opens, failed to find her range on the slick lawns of the All England Club, tumbling out amid a flurry of unforced errors.

Putintseva was far from an unknown quantity for Osaka, having recently knocked her out in Birmingham, and again proved a resolute obstacle for the Japanese, fighting back after an early break to take the first set on a tiebreak.

She broke the Japanese second seed twice in a dominant second set, wrapping up victory in an hour and 36 minutes when her opponent sliced a backhand into the net.

 

Novak Djokovic survives second-set scare to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber

After an early wobble, defending champion Novak Djokovic got right back on track on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic in action at Wimbledon 2019. Reuters

Novak Djokovic in action at Wimbledon 2019. Reuters

Djokovic was broken in the opening game but recovered right away to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 and reach the second round.

Djokovic, who is looking for his fifth Wimbledon title, lost to Kohlschreiber at Indian Wells this year but never looked in serious danger after that opening game, breaking his opponent five times.

Djokovic was playing with former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic looking on from his player's box, having added the Croatian to his coaching staff for the tournament.

Stan Wawrinka gets off to blistering start

Stan Wawrinka was barely mentioned in the Wimbledon build-up with all the focus on the men’s “big three” and the young guns hoping to shake things up but the Swiss means business.

Outside of eight-time champion Roger Federer, twice winner Rafael Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic, Wawrinka is the only other multiple Grand Slam champion in the draw.

Stan Wawrinka in action at Wimbledon. Reuters

Stan Wawrinka in action at Wimbledon. Reuters

With the weapons at his disposal, a beefy serve and a sublime backhand and a big match mentality, Wawrinka should at least part of the conversation when it comes to discussing contenders to make a deep run this fortnight.

The 34-year-old needs a Wimbledon title to complete his career Grand Slam and while, for whatever reason, he has never thrived on the All England Club lawns, he looked razor sharp as he began his 15th successive appearance.

On a sunny Court Two against Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans he belted 26 winners in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory that took less than an hour and a half.

Admittedly left-hander Bemelmans, ranked 171, was having a decidedly ordinary day with his forehand misfiring completely but it was a powerful statement by Wawrinka nonetheless.

A year ago Wawrinka arrived at Wimbledon ranked outside the top 200 having had knee surgery after the 2017 Championships.

On that occasion, he beat Grigor Dimitrov in the opening round but then lost to qualifier Tomas Fabbiano.

Surprisingly for a player of his class Wawrinka has only reached two quarter-finals at Wimbledon, in 2014 when he lost to Roger Federer and in 2015 when beaten by Richard Gasquet.

It is his worst Grand Slam, with his win over Bemelmans improving his career record there to 20-14, compared to 42-14 at Roland Garros, 40-12 at the U.S. Open and 38-13 in Australia.

He has not been into the third round since 2015 and to end that sequence he will have a stern test next against giant American Reilly Opelka.

Karolina Pliskova storms past Zhu Lin

Third seed Karolina Pliskova bludgeoned her way into the second round of Wimbledon on Monday, using her huge serve and searing forehand to fend off tenacious Chinese challenger Zhu Lin 6-2 7-6(4).

Karolina Pliskova in action at Wimbledon. Reuters

Karolina Pliskova in action at Wimbledon. Reuters

But Pliskova, who won the Eastbourne grasscourt tournament on Saturday, blowing away Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber in the final, had a tougher time on the All England Club’s distant Court Two, against an opponent ranked 98 places behind her.

She zipped through the first set, whipping a crosscourt return into the corner to wrap it up in 27 minutes.

But, as Zhu found her feet and her range on the new grass, the 27-year-old Czech began to look a little out of sorts and produced a few loose shots among 18 unforced errors.

Zhu, 25, who failed to qualify for Wimbledon the last three years, scurried up and down the baseline, chasing everything down and countering the serve with some fine returning.

Pliskova had to use that booming forehand to get her out of trouble in the 12th game of the second set, saving three set points in a marathon game of seven deuces.

That game ended Zhu’s resistance and Pliskova, a former number one, who could rise to the top spot again at the Championships, took the tiebreak and the match after 1 hour 21 minutes.

The last woman to win at Eastbourne and Wimbledon in the same year was Pliskova’s late compatriot Jana Novotna in 1998.

The Czech has fine grasscourt credentials having won Eastbourne twice and Nottingham once and having now racked up 27 grasscourt victories over the last four years.

And she has some grasscourt expertise to back her up. Her coach, Spaniard Conchita Martinez, won her only Grand Slam title at the All England Club, beating Martina Navratilova in the 1994 final.

Pliskova will meet Monica Puig of Puerto Rico in the second round.

Kevin Anderson eases past Pierre-Hugues Herbert

Returning to the lush grass courts of Wimbledon proved to be just the tonic Kevin Anderson needed on Monday as the 2018 runner-up buried memories of an injury-hit year by easing into the second round with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Kevin Anderson in action at Wimbledon. Reuters

Kevin Anderson in action at Wimbledon. Reuters

The South African, who had played only three tour-level events this year before arriving at Wimbledon due to an elbow injury, moved around a sun-kissed Court Three with ease to dispatch doubles specialist Herbert.

The straight-sets win would have come as a huge relief to fourth seed Anderson considering Herbert appeared to be in fine form on grass, having reached his first tour level semi-final on the surface at the Halle warm-up tournament.

Herbert can now look forward to getting more vocal support from the local fans as he will be back on court alongside Andy Murray this week, with the duo bidding to win the men’s doubles title as the Briton continues his recovery from hip surgery.

For Anderson, he would have been delighted to get off the court with a win that took a mere one hour 46 minutes considering the last time he held aloft his arms in victory at the All England Club — it was after surviving a six-hour 36 minute epic against John Isner in last year’s semi-final.

Next up for the South African is either Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic or Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.

 

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Updated Date: Jul 04, 2019 18:23:02 IST