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Pro Media & News

2022 Wimbledon: Serena loses emotional opener, 13 U.S. men to Round 2

Dan Levinsohn | June 28, 2022


Was that the best Wimbledon opener ever? The story of the first round unfolded at the 11th hour: In a late-night thriller on Centre Court on Tuesday, France’s Harmony Tan stunned Serena Williams in a three-hour clash that contained all the drama of a final.

 

It was the former world No. 1’s first singles match in a year, since injury forced her to retire from her 2021 Wimbledon opener against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. 

 

Meanwhile, American men dominated Wimbledon’s opening two days: The singles draw saw 13 players advance, including all six seeds. That’s the highest number of men from the United States to win their opening matches since 1995, which saw 15 men make Round 2. Hours ahead of Williams' return vs. Tan on Tuesday, for example, the highest-seeded American man—No. 11 Taylor Fritz—swept his unseeded Italian opponent Lorenzo Musetti in straight sets to run his grass-court winning streak to six. Fritz could potentially find himself facing compatriot Marcos Giron in Round 3, should both win again. 

Williams waves to fans after the match. Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.

The U.S. led all nations in singles coming into this year’s event with 34 players in the main draws: 18 women and 16 men. When play concluded Tuesday evening, 20 total—seven women and 13 men—had advanced. Notably, eighth-seeded American Jessica Pegula had yet to play her first-round match against Croatia’s Donna Vekic; the match was scheduled for Tuesday but postponed 24 hours due to fading light. It's one of four women's matches that will be played or completed on Wednesday.

 

As always at a major, there were some unexpected setbacks. In the women’s draw, seventh-seeded Danielle Collins, the Australian Open finalist and highest-ranked woman from the U.S. at world No. 8, fell to the Czech Republic’s unseeded Marie Bouzkova. But there were also pleasant surprises: The dream run for former UCLA Bruin Catherine Harrison, a qualifier ranked No. 262, continued with a first-round win in her first-ever Grand Slam singles match.

 

A U.S. woman is also assured of reaching the third round: No. 20 seed Amanda Anisimova handily defeated Chinese lucky loser Yuan Yue, setting up an all-American Round 2 match with unseeded Lauren Davis, who bested another U.S. woman, Madison Brengle, in Round 1.

 

Here are some highlights from Wimbledon’s first two days: 

Serena loses epic, emotional three-setter

Williams gave everything she had and then some against Tan, in what was the longest women's match of Wimbledon so far and the sixth-longest singles match on the WTA tour this year. But despite a blowout second set and 4-1 lead in the third, she couldn’t complete the comeback: Her French opponent—currently ranked world No. 115—ultimately prevailed during a nail-biting tiebreak played to 10 points, 7-5, 6-1, 7-6(7).

 

“I’m so emotional now,” Tan said in an on-court, post-match interview. Referring to Williams, Tan said: “[She's] a superstar. When I was young, watch her so many times on the TV. For my first Wimbledon, it’s just ... wow.” 

 

This year's Wimbledon is just the seventh Grand Slam that 24-year-old Tan has played on the professional circuit. Williams, now 40, owns 23 Grand Slam titles—seven from Wimbledon. 

Cressy in action. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images.
Maxime Cressy takes out No. 6 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime

In the tournament’s biggest upset so far, unseeded world No. 45 Maxime Cressy defeated Canada’s sixth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(9), 7-6(5) in a tit-for-tat blockbuster. 

 

The 6-foot-6 Cressy and 6-foot-4 Auger-Aliassime both smashed big first serves and posted nearly identical match stats, except in one key metric: points at net. Cressy's classic serve-and-volley style paid dividends over 4 hours and 10 minutes: He came to net a staggering 134 times, winning 71% of those points.

 

"Against a player like him, you have to stay extremely sharp all the time,” Cressy said after the match. “I'm incredibly proud of myself for what I've done today."

Auger-Aliassime reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2021, while Cressy failed to qualify for the main draw. But the 25-year-old American has found his footing in 2022, advancing to the fourth round of the Australian Open and finishing runner-up at ATP 250 tournaments in Melbourne and Eastbourne. 

 

Five Americans are through to the second round in the bottom quarter of the draw vacated by Auger-Aliassime and anchored by No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal. One is guaranteed to reach the last 32: Round 2 sees Cressy face Jack Sock, who won his first main-draw match at Wimbledon in five years after coming through qualifying.

Coco Gauff drops set, wins tight opener

Eleventh-seeded Coco Gauff has enjoyed a stellar few months, advancing to both the singles and doubles finals at Roland Garros. But momentum doesn’t guarantee success: The 18-year-old American survived a bumpy, two-and-a-half-hour opener against world No. 54 Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. 

 

Ruse rocketed through the first set, while Gauff found her form during the second. The third saw the two evenly matched, with both players trading points and games. After leading by a service break early in the decider, Gauff only took control after facing, snatching three straight games from 4-5 down. 

 

“We both gave our all in that match today,” the American said post-match. “I'm just glad I was able to come out with the win.”

Gauff in action in Round 1. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images.

Gauff will face Mihaela Buzarnescu, also from Romania, in her second-round match on Thursday.

TEAM USA RESULTS | 2022 WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIPS, ROUND ONE 

 

WOMEN

  1. Marie Bouzkova (CZE) def. (7) Danielle Collins 5-7, 6-4, 6-4

  2. (11) Coco Gauff def. Elena-Gabriela Ruse (ROU) 2-6, 6-3, 7-5

  3. (20) Amanda Anisimova def. (LL) Yuan Yue (CHN) 6-3, 6-4

  4. (28) Alison Riske def. Ylena In-Albon (SUI) 6-2, 6-4

  5. Petra Martic (CRO) def. (30) Shelby Rogers 6-2, 7-6(5)

  6. Claire Liu def. Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) 7-5, 6-3

  7. (Q) Catherine Harrison def. Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-1, 6-4

  8. Zheng Qinwen (CHN) def. Sloane Stephens 7-6(1), 7-5

  9. Bianca Andreescu (CAN) def. (Q) Emina Bektas, 6-1, 6-3

  10. (17) Elena Rybakina (KAZ) def. (LL) CoCo Vandeweghe, 7-6(2), 7-5 

  11.  (4) Paula Badosa (ESP) def. (Q) Louisa Chirico, 6-2, 6-1

  12.  Lauren Davis def. Madison Brengle, 6-2, 7-5

  13.  (32) Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) def. (Q) Christina McHale, 6-2, 6-1

  14.  Harmony Tan (FRA) def. (WC) Serena Williams, 7-5, 6-1, 7-6(7)

  15.  Ann Li def. Lucia Bronzetti (ITA), 6–1, 6-4 

  16.  (2) Anett Kontaveit (EST) def. Bernarda Pera 7-5, 6-1 

*Note: (8) Jessica Pegula has yet to play her first-round match against Croatia’s Donna Vekic.

 

MEN

  1. (11) Taylor Fritz def. Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 6-4, 6-4, 6-3

  2. (15) Reilly Opelka def. Carlos Taberner (ESP) 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4

  3. (20) John Isner def. (Q) Enzo Couacaud (FRA) 6-7(6), 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3, 7-5  

  4. (23) Frances Tiafoe def. (Q) Andrea Vavassori (ITA) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

  5. (29) Jenson Brooksby def. (Q) Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3

  6. (30) Tommy Paul def. Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-1, 6-2, 7-6(4)

  7. (Q) Christian Harrison def. (WC) Jay Clarke (GBR) 7-6(3), 6-1, 7-6(6)

  8. Steve Johnson def. (18) Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 4-6, 5-2 (ret.)

  9. (12) Diego Schwartzman (ARG) def. (LL) Stefan Kozlov, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

  10.  Brandon Nakashima def. (Q) Nicola Kuhn (GER) 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-2

  11.  Maxime Cressy def. (6) Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(9), 7-6(5) 

  12.  (Q) Jack Sock def. (Q) Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP, 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4

  13.  Marcos Giron def. (24) Holger Rune (DEN) 6-3, 7-5, 6-4

  14.  Mackenzie McDonald def. Nuno Borges (POR) 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(3) 

  15.  (27) Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) def. Denis Kudla 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2

  16.  Ricardas Berankis (LTU) def. Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 6-3

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