Wimbledon Day 1:
Gauff's Big Win
Craig Ellenport | July 1, 2019
While tourists gather at London’s Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard, fans at the nearby All England Club Monday may have witnessed a different sort of changing of the guard in American women’s tennis, as 15-year-old Coco Gauff won her first career Grand Slam main-draw match at Wimbledon, defeating fellow American and five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams.
Williams, 39, had already won Wimbledon twice before Gauff was born. The rising star from Delray Beach, Fla., earned a spot in the tournament after breezing through last week’s qualifying tournament. She didn’t lose a set in those three matches, and she disposed of Williams in her first-round match, 6-4, 6-4.
“After every point, I was just telling myself to stay calm,” Gauff said after the match.
Gauff broke Williams to go up 4-2 in the second set, but Williams fought back to tie it at 4-all with a break of her own. ADVERTISEMENT Gauff went up 5-4, then Williams staved off two match points in the 10th game before Gauff wrapped it up. Both players were all smiles when they met at the net on Centre Court.
“She just told me congratulations and to keep going and good luck,” said Gauff. “I just told her thank you for everything she did. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her. She’s so inspiring, and I always wanted to tell her that. Even though I met her before, I never had the guts to.”
Next up for Gauff: Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova, who upset No. 10 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the first round. If Gauff wins that match, she could face fellow American Madison Keys in Round 3.
Keys won her opening match in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, over Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum. Keys, the 2017 US Open finalist, reached the quarterfinals last month at the French Open but has not played on grass this season leading up to Wimbledon.
“I was kind of dealing with a couple of things here and there after Paris,” she told reporters after Monday’s match. “I wanted to be 100 percent healthy coming into the grass. Obviously it's a surface that you need to be 100 percent ready to go, so I thought it was better to take that time to get my body back to 100 percent before coming onto it.”
Keys’ second-round opponent will be Slovenia’s Polona Hercog.
In all, 16 Americans were in action Monday at Wimbledon—12 women and four men.
Sofia Kenin, the 27th seed, dispatched Australia’s Astra Sharma, 6-4, 6-2. Kenin will play Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska in the second round.
Madison Brengle upset 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, 6-4, 6-4. Vondrousova, from the Czech Republic, was the No. 16 seed in the tournament. Brengle faces another Czech, Karolina Muchova, in the second round.
Danielle Collins defeated Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan, 6-3, 7-5. Her second-round opponent will be No. 12 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia.
American women who lost in the first round include Caty McNally, Jennifer Brady, Bernarda Pera, Shelby Rogers, Kristie Ahn and Jessica Pegula.
On the men’s side, Reilly Opelka was a straight-sets winner vs. Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, 6-3, 7-6, 6-1. Opelka’s second-round opponent will be No. 22 seed Stan Wawrinka.
Denis Kudla was also a straight-sets winner, defeating Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. Kudla takes on top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the second round.
American men who lost in Monday’s first-round action were Marcos Giron and Bradley Klahn.
Day 2 at Wimbledon features several Americans on the schedule, with Serena Williams, Christina McHale, Alison Riske, Lauren Davis, Taylor Townsend, Sloane Stephens and Amanda Anisimova playing on the women's side, and Sam Querrey, Tennys Sandgren, Frances Tiafoe, Steve Johnson, Taylor Fritz, John Isner and Noah Rubin in action on the men's.