It wouldn’t be Wimbledon without drama and an assault on British finger-nails, but this year’s championships look to have gotten off to one of the biggest starts in history this week.
First things first, the second round will feature not one, but two British players after a routine victory for Andy Murray and a hugely impressive win for Laura Robson. It wasn’t all good news and joy for British players however; Heather Watson, Elena Baltacha, James Ward, Kyle Edmund, Samantha Murray and Anne Keothavong and Tara Moore, despite a valiant effort against Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, all fell at the first hurdle.
There has been no shortage of shock results at Wimbledon so far and with the tournament still in its infancy, the seeded players who still remain will be hoping they can avoid any upsets in the next few rounds. The fifth seeds in both the men’s and women’s draws were both ousted from the tournament yesterday as Sara Errani was beaten by Puerto Rican Monica Puig 6-3, 6-2 and, in perhaps one of the biggest shocks in Wimbledon history, Rafael Nadal suffered a straight sets 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 defeat to world number 135 Belgian Steve Darcis, who played the match of his life to advance to the second round.
Laura Robson kept the trend going as she powered past the 10th seed Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-4 to complete yet another victory against top 10 opposition. The 19-year-old was on top form as she simply outplayed the Russian on Court number one of SW19. Her victory will come as a welcome bit of respite for British players who have once again received criticism from small sections of the public over their defeats.
There are high hopes for Andy Murray every year at Wimbledon, but perhaps none higher than this year’s championships. The 25-year old returns to the All England Lawn Tennis Club with Olympic gold and silver medals from London 2012 and last year’s US Open title in his trophy cabinet and the British public will be hoping he can add his name to the winner’s board of Wimbledon this year.
Nadal’s surprise exit from the tournament will have potentially helped Murray’s chances of being crowned champion on the 7th of July, but it will also have done Roger Federer a favour. The Swiss is in the same half of the draw as Murray and was due for a potential meeting with Rafa in the quarter-finals. Federer, who was as majestic as ever in his straight sets victory over Victor Hanescu, is now likely to meet either John Isner or Nicholas Almagro in the last 8.
Men’s tournament favourite Novak Djokovic has also safely progressed through to the second round following a straight sets win over Florian Mayer, whom Nole beaten in the quarter-finals last year. The world number one completed a solid 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 win over the Belgian and will be looking for a similar style victory in the next round.
Elsewhere, there were straight sets wins for Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Li Na, David Ferrer, Juan Martin Del Potro and Victoria Azarenka, who survived an injury scare in her opener.
No doubt there’ll be more drama and excitement over the next fortnight as the world’s top players do their utmost to give us the best tennis of the year at arguably the best tournament of the year.