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The Roar


Nadal wins on his Wimbledon return as Serena Williams drops comeback match

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Roar Guru
29th June, 2022

Rafael Nadal has successfully cleared the first hurdle in his bid to claim a first Wimbledon title since 2010 and keep alive his chances of completing the Calendar Grand Slam.

The Spaniard arrived at the All England Club fresh off a record-extending 14th French Open title but there were still some doubts over a foot injury he carried at Roland Garros which threatened his participation at Wimbledon.

Alas, the King of Clay passed his first test on Centre Court, defeating Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo in four sets in a three-and-a-half hour battle to claim his first win on the grass courts of London since 2019, having bypassed Wimbledon last year due to injury.

His next assignment is facing Ricardis Berankis, who was a straight-sets winner over former giant killer Sam Querrey. Among the other male winners included Taylor Fritz, Denis Shapovalov and Diego Schwartzman.

Sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime became the tournament’s highest-ranked casualty so far, losing to American Maxime Cressy in four sets. That came 24 hours after last year’s semi-finalist, Hubert Hurkacz, lost to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in five sets on Monday.


Nadal’s win came as two high-profile players were forced to withdraw after testing positive to COVID-19 – 14th seed Marin Cilic, whom the Spaniard was projected to meet in the fourth round, and last year’s beaten finalist Matteo Berrettini.

Their would-be first round opponents, Mackenzie McDonald and Cristian Garin, instead faced lucky losers and progressed to the second round with straight-sets victories over Nuno Borges and Elias Ymer, respectively.

Australian Nick Kyrgios moved one step closer to a third round showdown against Stefanos Tsitsipas, overcoming British wildcard Paul Jubb in five sets, but not without the typical drama that comes when he is on the tennis court.

After losing his serve in the eighth game of the opening set to lose it 6-3, the Canberran was quick to hit back, saving several break points in the third game of the second and turning it around to take it 6-1, levelling the match at a set apiece.


A break late in the third saw him take a two-sets-to-one lead, but Jubb was not to be outdone, claiming the fourth in a tiebreaker to send the match to a deciding set which Kyrgios would win 7-5 after breaking his British opponent right at the death.

It was a mostly successful day for the Australian male contingent at Wimbledon, with Alex de Minaur, Jason Kubler and Jordan Thompson also among the winners.

Thompson set up a second round clash against Tsitsipas after defeating Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets; the Greek star, who had lost three straight matches at Wimbledon dating back to 2018, ended his barren run by defeating Swiss qualifier Alexander Ritschard in four.

19th seed Alex de Minaur was a straight-sets winner over Hugo Dellien, but Alexei Popyrin wasn’t so fortunate, losing to Hugo Gaston in five sets despite having led by two sets to one.


On the women’s side of things, last year’s quarter-finalist Ajla Tomljanovic was the only Australian winner as she dispatched 18th seed Jil Teichmann in straight sets.

The new Australian number one lived up to her billing securing victory in one hour and 17 minutes, and is the last remaining player from the country following the earlier exits of Zoe Hives, Astra Sharma and Daria Saville.


She now faces American qualifier Catherine Harrison for the possible right to face Barbora Krejcikova in the third round, and beyond that a likely fourth round showdown against top seed Iga Swiatek.

Swiatek extended her winning streak to 36 matches – now the longest by any woman on the WTA Tour since 2000 – by dispatching Croatian qualifier Jana Fett in straight sets.

The 21-year-old had not played since winning her second French Open title earlier this year but has successfully made the quick transition to the grass courts as she bids to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to complete the Channel Slam.

Speaking of Williams, her singles comeback ended in heartbreak as she lost a thrilling final set tiebreaker against Frenchwoman Harmony Tan, who recorded her first main draw win at the All England Club on Centre Court.


It was her first singles match anywhere since being forced to retire in her first round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Wimbledon last year, after which her world ranking plummeted to 1,204th.

Her latest defeat will raise more questions about her immediate future in the sport, especially with her 41st birthday coming up and her latest bid to match Margaret Court’s all-time haul of 24 majors singles title over once again.

Among the other Americans, 11th seed Coco Gauff came from a set down to defeat Elena-Gabriela Ruse in three while Lauren Davis won her first round clash against compatriot Madison Brengle to set up a clash with another of her countrywomen, Amanda Anisimova.

Former champions Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep also progressed to the second round with victories over Jasmine Paolini and Karolina Muchova, respectively, while fourth seed Paula Badosa sent American qualifier Louisa Chirico packing in straight sets.

Karolina Pliskova had won the first set of her match against Tereza Martincova in a tiebreak, and it was 5-all in the second set when that match was suspended due to poor weather.

2017 champion Garbine Muguruza’s campaign is also left hanging in the balance, dropping the first set of her match against Greet Minnen before play was also stopped.

This will leave a backlog of first-round matches still to be completed, but thankfully there will be play on Middle Sunday this year (and going forward), so barring any further bad weather the schedule should be back on track by the time the quarter-finals begin.

Men’s defending champion Novak Djokovic will kick off play on Day 3, taking on resurgent Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in what will be a huge test for the latter, who has been plagued by injuries which have threatened a promising career.

Local favourites Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray round out the Centre Court schedule, with the reigning US Open champion facing Caroline Garcia while two-time champion Murray is up against American talisman John Isner, against whom he owns an 8-0 record.

Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza are still to complete their suspended first round matches, while another former champion, Angelique Kerber, is up against Magda Linette on No.2 Court.

Matches to watch on Day 3

Centre Court – from 1:30pm (10:30pm AEST)
[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)
Caroline Garcia (FRA) vs [10] Emma Raducanu (GBR)
Andy Murray (GBR) vs [20] John Isner (USA)

No.1 Court – from 1:00pm (10:00pm AEST)
Jule Niemeier (GBR) vs [2] Anett Kontaveit (EST)
[6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) vs Tereza Martincova (CZE) – to finish 7-6 (7-1), 5-5
[9] Cameron Norrie (GBR) vs Jaume Munar (ESP)
[5] Maria Sakkari (GRE) vs Viktoriya Tomova (BUL)

No.2 Court – from 11:00am (8:00pm AEST)
[3] Casper Ruud (NOR) vs Ugo Humbert (FRA)
[9] Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) vs Greet Minnen (BEL) – to finish 4-6
[15] Angelique Kerber (GER) vs Magda Linette (POL)
Tallon Griekspoor (NED) vs [6] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)
Wang Qiang (CHN) vs Heather Watson (GBR)