AMERICAN SEEDS START STRONG
ON WIMBLEDON DAY 1
Ashley Marshall | July 2, 2018
It was business as usual for most of the American seeds on Day 1 of Wimbledon, but it was a day of mixed results overall, as the pomp and circumstance of the year’s third major kicked off in the English capital.
Of the seven U.S. seeds in action in London on Monday, five progressed to the second round, where they’ll be joined by some lesser-known, up-and-coming Americans.
But while Serena and Venus Williams, Madison Keys, John Isner and Sam Querrey all punched their tickets to the round of 64, the top-ranked American in London, Sloane Stephens, fell at the first hurdle, as did 2017 US Open semifinalist Coco Vandeweghe.
There were 17 Americans in action on Day 1 – more than any other nation has in the men's and women's singles championships combined – and the U.S. sent nine into the next round on a warm and blustery day on the freshly manicured lawns of the All England Club.ADVERTISEMENT
While Serena’s return to SW19 – a 7-5, 6-3 win over Arantxa Rus in her first trip back to Wimbledon since giving birth to daughter Olympia in September – will grab many of the headlines, it was far from the only notable victory.
Tenth-seeded Madison Keys rolled past Croatian-born Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic, 6-4, 6-2, to book a spot in the second round, while No. 9 seed Venus Williams shook off a slow start to defeat Johanna Larsson of Sweden. After dropping the first-set tiebreak, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus won 12 of the final 15 games to seal a 6-7, 6-2, 6-1 win and set up a second-round match against Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania.
Keys will face Luksika Kumkhum in the second round, while Serena will play qualifier Viktoriya Tomova of Bulgaria. Madison Brengle defeated Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, and was rewarded with a second-round match against Camila Giorgi, who upset No. 21 seed Anastasija Sevastova earlier in the day.
On the men’s side, No. 9 seed John Isner hit 28 aces in a routine 6-2, 7-6, 7-5 win over German qualifier Yannick Maden of Germany, and No. 11 seed Sam Querrey saved all four break points he faced in toppling Jordan Thompson of Australia, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.
World No. 103 Mackenzie McDonald earned a win in his Wimbledon debut after rallying from a set down for a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3, 7-6 win over Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania; Jared Donaldson prevailed in straight sets against Malek Jaziri of Tunisia, 7-6, 6-3, 6-1; and Ryan Harrison dropped just seven games in his victory over Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain.
Isner will play Ruben Bemelmans next and is now on track to possibly play unseeded Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round, while Querrey will next take on Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine. Harrison will face No. 22 seed Adrian Mannarino of France in the round of 64; Donaldson will meet No. 31 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece; and McDonald will play Nicolas Jarry of Chile.
However, almost half of the Americans in action on Day 1 were eliminated, headlined by Stephens, the No. 4 seed and French Open finalist, who crashed out to Donna Kevic on No. 1 Court, 6-1, 6-3, in just 71 minutes. No. 16 seed Vandeweghe also lost to Katerina Siniakova, unable to shake off an early ankle injury that hampered her throughout her opener.
Stephens, who did not play a grass-court event in the build up to Wimbledon, has now lost in the first round in three of her past five Grand Slam tournaments, including last year at Wimbledon. The silver lining is that her other two majors saw her lift the trophy in New York last September and reach the final of the French Open in May.
Elsewhere on Day 1, Varvara Lepchenko lost to No. 2 seed and Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki, 6-0, 6-3, on the second match on Centre Court, and Bernarda Pera fell to Kumkhum of Thailand in three sets.
In the men’s draw, Denis Kudla lost to No. 17 seed Lucas Pouille in four sets, and Michael Mmoh dropped a tight five-setter to Gilles Muller of Luxemburg. In the final men’s match of the day featuring American interests, Steve Johnson lost to Bemelmans of Belgium, 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7, 8-6, in a three-hour, 47-minute thriller on Court 15.
Christina McHale's first-round match against Vero Lapko of Belarus was suspended, with the match in the third set, on serve, and Lapko leading, 5-7, 7-5, 3-2.