Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Mark Gregory
3:34 PM 2nd July 2022

Wimbledon 2022 At A Glance

Wimbledon Day 14 – Saturday 9th July

It was number 21 for Novak Djokovic today on Centre Court at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships as he came back from a set down to defeat Australian Nick Kyrgios 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3) to clinch his fourth straight Wimbledon title.

Once again, Djokovic had to recover from a sluggish start to overcome his opponent, with Kyrgios looking in imperious form in the early stages of a much-anticipated final. But as he does so often, Djokovic moved up a gear and ground down his opponent, taking sets two and three before a tight fourth set was decided in a tiebreak. With the crowd urging Kyrgios onward so that they could enjoy the final for longer, Djokovic shut them all out and eased through the tiebreak to secure his seventh Wimbledon title and his fourth in a row.

Elsewhere on the final day of the Championships, Alfie Hewett came away disappointed again after his second defeat in a Final of these Championships. After yesterday’s defeat in the Men’s Wheelchair Doubles, he succumbed to a narrow defeat against Japan’s Shingo Kunieda, 4-6 7-5 7-6(5), just falling short at Wimbledon once again – Hewett had previously reached the semi-finals here three times, but never the final. Meanwhile, British Quad Wheelchair Doubles competitor Andy Lapthorne and his American partner David Wagner also lost in their final against young Dutch pair Sam Schroder and Niels Vink.

That’s all for this year’s Wimbledon – let’s hope next year is just as good!

Wimbledon Day 13 – Friday 8th July

In a hard-fought and competitive Women’s Singles Final, Kazakh Elena Rybakina defeated Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur to clinch her first ever Grand Slam title, also becoming the first Kazakhstani to win a major title and the first player to win the Women’s Final from a set down since Amelie Mauresmo in 2006.

It was a historic final for many reasons, with third-seed Jabeur also representing a nation not often seen at this level of professional tennis – Jabeur was the first Arab to ever reach a major singles final, and the first African to do so in the Open Era. And it was Jabeur who started the stronger, breaking serve early on and looking confident to claim the first set 6-3. But Rybakina stormed back in the second and third sets, breaking serve twice in each to come away with her maiden major, 3-6 6-2 6-2.

Elsewhere, Argentinian Gustavo Fernandez exacted revenge on Britain’s Alfie Hewitt in the Men’s Wheelchair Doubles Final on Court 3, following Hewitt’s comeback victory against the Argentine in yesterday’s Singles semi-final – Hewitt and his partner Gordon Reid’s streak of seven consecutive Grand Slam titles was ended by Fernandez and his Japanese partner Shingo Kuneida, who handily beat the British pair 6-3 6-1 in a one-sided final. Hewitt has his own chance at revenge tomorrow when he plays Kunieda in the Singles final.

Tomorrow will see Novak Djokovic take on Nick Kyrgios in the Men’s Final, with Djokovic looking to secure his 21st Grand Slam title and his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title.

Wimbledon Day 12 – Thursday 7th July

British interest in the main Singles competitions at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships came to an end today after Cameron Norrie exited in the semi-final after being somewhat inevitably defeated by 20-time Grand Slam Champion Novak Djokovic on Friday afternoon.

Fans of the Brit may have had cause for optimism early on in the match, with three-time defending champion Djokovic starting sluggishly – as he had done in several of his previous matches at SW19 – and Norrie looked superlative early on, taking the first set 6-2 after breaking serve twice. Norrie was hitting all the lines and flashing down winners which Djokovic was simply unable to handle.

But gradually the tide turned in the Serb’s favour, as he cranked up the pressure and Norrie’s accuracy and consistency began to falter. Djokovic took the second set 6-3, and from then on it seemed like a foregone conclusion – Djokovic didn’t look back and took sets three and four, and the match, leaving British tennis fans not quite heartbroken, but at the very least disappointed.

But there was reason to cheer for the home crowd on Court 1, as Alfie Hewitt completed a frankly phenomenal comeback in the Men’s Wheelchair Singles semi-final against Argentinian Gustavo Fernandez. Hewitt was dead and buried – he was down a set and two breaks at 1-5 in the second – but began to hit freely and deeply and all of a sudden had won five games in a row – with three breaks of serve – to lead 6-5 in the second. He was inexplicably broken as he served for the second set but marched through the tiebreak, and with all the momentum clinched the third set and his place in the final.

Hewitt is a five-time Grand Slam Singles Champion, but in the Doubles he has been even more successful. He and his partner Gordon Reid have won the last seven Grand Slam titles together, and they were on Court 1 again later in the day in their Doubles semi-final, which they won handily.

Tomorrow will see the Women’s Singles Final between Ons Jabeur and Elena Rybakina, both of whom are looking to become Grand Slam Champions for the first time.

Wimbledon Day 11 – Wednesday 6th July

Ons Jabeur today became the first African woman, and the first North African or Arab player, male or female, to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open Era, after defeating German Tatjana Maria in three sets to reach the final of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships on Thursday.

Jabeur had a slight wobble in the second set after taking the first convincingly by six games to two, with the German mother-of-two capitalising to level the match at one set all. But Jabeur regrouped and dominated the final set, clinching the match and reaching her first ever Slam final, 6-2 3-6 6-1.

In the final she will play Kazakh Elena Rybakina, who surprised a few by taking out 2019 Champion Simona Halep in straight sets, 6-3 6-3, in the other semi-final. Rybakina dominated the match from start to finish, facing just a single breakpoint in the match, enjoying seven easy service holds, and returning 86% of Halep’s serves into the court. On this kind of form, even with history on Jabeur’s side, it’s difficult to see how Rybakina will be beaten.

British interest in the Men’s Doubles faded today as Joe Salisbury and his American partner Rajeev Ram were defeated in five sets by Aussie duo Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell. The Aussies saved five match points in the third set to avoid a straight sets defeat, and there was no way back for Salisbury and Ram thereafter, with the Aussies playing very much with house money in the final two sets. Elsewhere, British teenager Jasmine Conway exited the Girls’ Doubles in the quarter-finals, losing to Czech Linda Klimovicova in three.

And bad news for fans of Rafael Nadal – the Spaniard revealed that he had suffered an abdominal tear in his match against Taylor Fritz yesterday, and therefore would be unable to compete in his scheduled semi-final match against Nick Kyrgios. The Aussie therefore moves straight into the final against either Novak Djokovic or Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who play tomorrow.

Wimbledon Day 10 – Tuesday 5th July

Rafael Nadal defied science yet again to somehow win through to the semi-finals of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships on Day 10 after a mammoth effort to overcome America Taylor Fritz in the final match of the day on Centre Court.

Nadal found himself two-sets-to-one down and facing a medical timeout as fans watched nervously to see if their man would be able to get through the match unscathed. As Nadal walked off the court to receive further treatment, it looked as if Fritz was going to benefit from the Spaniard’s retirement, but Nadal returned and somehow dug out two phenomenal sets of tennis to claim the match in five – an astonishing achievement, given that many of those in his players’ box were urging him to retire midway through the match.

Nadal will play maverick Nick Kyrgios in the semi-final after the Aussie breezed past Chile’s Cristian Garin in straight sets. The Aussie looked cool, calm, and collected – something which cannot often be said about him – and finally appears to be in the mindset which may allow him to earn his first ever Grand Slam title. But Nadal in the semi-final and potentially Djokovic in the final is not an easy route to victory. The men’s semi-finals will take place on Thursday.

In the women’s draw, 2019 Champion Simona Halep will face Kazakh Elena Rybakina tomorrow for a place in Saturday’s final. Halep saw off American Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-4 in a superlative performance, while Rybakina had to come from a set down to overcome Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6 6-2 6-3.

Elsewhere 17-year-old British junior hope Jasmine Conway become the only junior standing in either the Boys’ or Girls’ Singles after defeating Japan’s Hayu Kinoshita in straight sets, while Brit Joe Salisbury and his partner Rajeev Ram reached the semi-finals of the Men’s Doubles after a five-set thriller against French pairing Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Wimbledon Day 9 – Monday 4th July

It was a great day for British tennis fans at the All England Club, as the home crowd watched as Cameron Norrie won through to the Wimbledon 2022 semi-finals on Tuesday afternoon, the first Brit to do so since Andy Murray.

While Murray was eliminated in the second round, Norrie has been quietly working his way through the field, and today he was up against Belgian David Goffin, who, despite being unseeded at this year’s Championships, was still a formidable opponent, having previously been ranked as high as 7th in the world and currently returning from a long injury layoff to be in the best form of his recent career.

And indeed, it looked as if the Belgian might be too hot for Norrie to handle, after taking the first and third sets, with Norrie only clinching the second late on, 7-5. But Norrie roared back to level the match at two sets all before a hard fought final set saw the Brit win through, 3-6 7-5 2-6 6-3 7-5.

He will now face possibly the toughest match of his career in the semi-finals – an in-form Novak Djokovic. Djokovic also looked down and out in his match against Italian up-and-comer Jannik Sinner after the young world number 13 led by two sets to love and needed just one of the next three to claim his biggest career victory. But Djokovic, as he has done so often, came back from dead and blasted past the Italian in the final three sets, coming through 5-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-2.

In the women’s draw, Tunisian third seed Ons Jabeur scraped past Czech surprise package Marie Bouzkova, dropping the first set and looking very rusty before eventually finding her feet to win 3-6 6-1 6-1. She’ll face the winner of the all-German quarter-final Tatjana Maria, who came past Jule Niemeier 7-5 in the third.

Wimbledon Day 8 – Monday 4th July

With no Brits in singles action on Monday at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships, fans of tennis were left to enjoy the final matches of the fourth round, which saw the likes of Nick Kyrgios, Rafael Nadal, and Simona Halep march onward to the quarter-finals.

Centre Court was treated to a tight early encounter as temperamental Australian Nick Kyrgios eventually overcame American Brandon Nakahima in five sets to set up a quarter-final against Chilean Cristian Garin, who also won in five after coming back from two sets down against Alex de Minaur. Kyrgios looked far more calm and collected than he was in his previous match against Stefanos Tsitsipas, but needed to go the distance to overcome an accomplished performance from Nakashima on the other side of the net.

Following Kyrgios’ victory, 2019 champion Simona Halep stormed to a 6-1 6-2 victory over fourth seed Paula Badosa of Spain, before Rafael Nadal also secured a smooth victory over Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp, despite a few wobbles towards the end of the third set.

Nadal will play Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals, and interestingly, Fritz won the pair’s last meeting, in the final of the Indian Wells Masters competition back in March – so this could well be Nadal’s first real test of the competition so far. Meanwhile, Halep will take on American Amanda Anisimova after she defeated Harmony Tan 6-2 6-3. The other women’s quarter-final will see Australian Alja Tomljanovic take on seventeenth seed Elena Rybakina.

A mention must go at this stage to 14-year-old Brit Mingge Xu, who is through the the last 16 of the Girls’ Singles. Xu is one to watch for the future – she’s currently ranked 130th in the Girls’ junior rankings, which incorporates girls up to 18 years of age – and defeated the 15th seed Lucia Peyre of Argentina in the second round earlier today. With at least three more years of eligibility for the Girls’ rankings, and being already almost inside the top 100, she could well be the future of British tennis.

Wimbledon Day 7 – Sunday 3nd July

British Men’s Number 1 Cameron Norrie became the only Brit left in the singles competition at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships as compatriot Heather Watson fell in straight sets in the opening match on Centre Court on Sunday.

Watson was up against unseeded German Jule Niemeier in a draw that looked on paper to be somewhat fortuitous. However, the German had defeated second seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round and is enjoying a fine run of form, having won a WTA event in Croatia two months before the Championships. And so it proved to be the case in the first match on Centre Court, as Watson was unable to put up much of a fight against the 22-year-old, with the Brit eventually falling 6-2 6-4 in her first ever Grand Slam fourth round match.

Attention then turned to ninth seed and world number 12 Cameron Norrie to carry British hopes for the remainder of the tournament. Norrie has grown into the tournament over the course of the first week, and was also enjoying his first ever experience of the second week of a Grand Slam. And he was not fazed by British expectation on Court 1 this afternoon, as he triumphed over America’s Tommy Paul in straight sets to secure his place in the quarter-finals. Norrie looked calm and professional throughout the entire match, and has a real chance of making the semi-finals against former world number 7 David Goffin on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Novak Djokovic will face young Italian Jannik Sinner in the other quarter-final in Norrie’s half of the draw. Djokovic overcame Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven in four sets, ending the Dutchman’s dream grass-court season, while Sinner knocked out hot prospect Carlos Alcaraz, also in four sets, in what was seen by many as a shock result.

In the women’s draw, Watson’s conqueror Niemeier will face a fellow German, Tatjana Maria, in her quarter-final match, after Maria shocked former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in three sets. Meanwhile, third seed Ons Jabeur defeated Elise Mertens to set up a quarter-final clash against Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic.

Wimbledon Day 6 – Saturday 2nd July

It was a disappointing day for British interest at Wimbledon on Middle Saturday as both remaining wildcards in the men’s and women’s draws – Liam Broady and Katie Boulter – were outclassed by higher-ranked opponents in the third round.

Both Brits were on court early on, with Boulter opening proceedings on Court 2 against Serena Williams’ conqueror Harmony Tan. But Boulter’s afternoon didn’t last very long, with the crafty Frenchwoman proving her victory over Williams in the first round was no fluke with a rampant 6-1 6-1 victory over the British 25-year-old.

For Boulter, she must be happy with her progress in this grass court season, having reached the last 16 in Nottingham and Eastbourne and the quarter-finals in Birmingham, as well as the third round here, but today it seemed to be a case of one step too far – the Brit won only 20% of points on her second serve, and hit just 8 winners against 21 unforced errors, with nerves appearing to finally catch up with her.

Broady opened proceedings on Court 1 against young Australian Alex de Minaur, who had put out fellow Brit Jack Draper in the previous round. Broady was a heavy underdog against the 14th seed, and the hard-hitting Aussie took the first two sets 6-4 6-3, despite Broady battling hard. The Brit almost fought back in the final stages of the third set, breaking de Minaur’s serve as the Australian was serving for the match at 5-4, but Broady went on to drop his own serve in the very next game, giving de Minaur a his second opportunity to serve for the match – an opportunity which he took convincingly.

Broady may have mixed feelings about his grass-court season, having only really made an impact at the Nottingham Challenger earlier in June, but a third round run at Wimbledon is not something everyone manages to achieve, so he will be leaving the All-England Club with his head held high.

Elsewhere in the draw, it was a day of shocks across the board, as two of the heavy favourites for the women’s title lost – 18-year-old prodigy Coco Gauff was beaten in three sets by fellow American Amanda Anisimova, while world number one Iga Swiatek’s winning streak of 37 matches, which dated back to February of this year, was finally broken. Her conqueror was unseeded Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, who goes on to face Aussie Alja Tomljanovic in the fourth round.

In the men’s draw, Rafael Nadal is safely through to the fourth round, but a late-night encounter on Court 1 between Nick Kyrgios and Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas saw Tsitsipas eliminated in a match that was memorable for many of the wrong reasons. Both players are known for being eccentric and hot-headed, and the entire match was dominated by rather unsportsmanlike yet hugely entertaining behaviour from both sides. Do check out the highlights if you can!

Wimbledon Day 5 – Friday 1st July

It was a clean sweep of British success on Day 5 at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships, as both British players – men’s British Number One Cameron Norrie and former women’s British Number One Heather Watson – both made it to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Watson was up first on Court 1 against Slovenian World Number 60 Kaja Juvan. It was a fortuitous draw, in reality: Watson could have been up against Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia at this stage, who won two of the lead-up competitions in Nottingham and Birmingham but was shocked by Juvan on the opening day of the championships.

But Juvan it was, and the first set was predictably nervy and tight, but Watson was able to wriggle through the first set tiebreak 8-6 to clinch the first set. This seemed to fill her with confidence, and she raced into a 5-0 lead – with three breaks of serve – in the second set. However, the nerves returned as she was serving for the match, and Juvan broke back before holding to threaten a comeback. Watson once again served for the match at 5-2, and despite being taken to deuce and saving a handful of break points, she eventually got over the line.

She’ll now face another unseeded player, German Jule Neimeier, whom she actually beat earlier this year in Mexico. Watson will certainly fancy her chances of reaching the quarter-finals.

Things were even easier for Norrie on Centre Court – we’ve been treated to several late-night tussles on Centre Court so far in this tournament, but this certainly wasn’t one of them – Norrie was on and off before 8pm after Ons Jabeur and Novak Djokovic both won in straight sets earlier in the day, and although Norrie was tested in the first set by his American opponent Steve Johnson, his resistance was broken after Norrie clinched the first set, and the Brit eased to victory 6-4 6-1 6-0, offering only three break points to Johnson all match and saving them all.

Norrie is likely to face a tougher test on Sunday, though, against another American, 30th seed Tommy Paul. The pair have met four times previously and have shared the spoils, but Norrie has won their last two meetings, including a last-16 win at Indian Wells last year, a tournament that Norrie went on to win.

Elsewhere, young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz destroyed German Oscar Otte 6-3 6-1 6-2 to further enhance his burgeoning reputation, while Italian Jannik Sinner defeated Andy Murray’s conqueror John Isner in straight sets.

There was a shock defeat for women’s fifth seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, though, and keep an eye on Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven: he won an ATP 250 competition at home in the Netherlands a couple of weeks before Wimbledon, also as a wildcard, and having never won an main draw ATP match in his career! Today he beat Georgian 22nd seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, and will now face Novak Djokovic in the last 16 of Wimbledon!

Wimbledon Day 4 – Thursday 30th June

It was a phenomenal day for British tennis shocks on Day 4 of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at the All-England Club, with two British wildcards disposing of highly-seeded opponents to make it through to the third round of the championships.

But first, it was down to former British Number One Heather Watson to complete her second round match against China’s Qiang Wang. The 30-year-old was a game away from victory after bad light suspended her match on Wednesday evening, but she made quick work of the resumption, winning the first game of the day to secure her place in the third round, winning 7-5 6-4. She’ll play Slovenian World Number 60 Kaja Juvan on Friday afternoon.

Then along came Katie Boulter, who was first on Centre Court against Czech seventh seed Karolina Pliskova. On paper, the Brit looked out of her depth, but keen tennis fans will have noticed that she actually beat Pliskova in Eastbourne the week before Wimbledon after coming back from a set down. This victory must have given her confidence and belief, because when she dropped the first set again, she roared back to clinch the second on a tiebreak and secure a crucial break in the third to earn the best win of her career, 3-6 7-6(4) 6-4. She’ll now face Serena Williams’ conqueror Harmony Tan for a place in the last 16.

It was a less jaw-dropping day for Alastair Gray, the 24-year-old wildcard in the men’s draw, who faced eleventh seed Taylor Fritz and was soundly beaten in straight sets. Perhaps the highlight of the game was in the second set tiebreak, with Fritz on set point, when Gray placed a delicate drop shot over the net and reeled away in celebration, only for Fritz to somehow dig the ball out and lift it over the net to clinch the set, much to Gray’s – and the crowd’s – amazement and disbelief. Still, a decent tournament for the Brit who has otherwise had a disappointing grass-court season.

On Court 3, 28-year-old Liam Broady, who is playing some of the best tennis of his career right now, took on Argentinian twelfth seed Diego Schwartzman, and the pair served up an incredible match of tennis which ultimately saw the Brit emerge triumphant. Broady took the first set 6-2, but collapsed from a break up in the second set, losing eleven straight games to concede sets two and three 4-6 0-6. But the Brit was able to steady himself and won a competitive fourth-set tiebreak, before roaring into life in the decider and securing passage to the third round, much to the delight of the raucous home crowd.

Broady may have hoped to face a fellow Brit in the third round, as youngster Jack Draper was taking on hard-hitting Aussie 19th seed Alex De Minaur late on Court 1, with the winner taking on Broady in the third round. But despite taking the first set, it wasn’t to be for the British 20-year-old, as De Minaur’s consistency and hard-hitting wore down Draper in four sets, meaning the Aussie will now face Broady for a place in the last 16.

It also wasn’t to be for Harriet Dart, who took on eighth seed Jessica Pegula of the United States on Court 2. Despite taking the first set 6-4, Dart was eventually overcome by the American, eventually losing 4-6 6-3 6-1.

Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal continued his campaign for the calendar Grand Slam with a four-set victory over Latvian Ricardas Berankis, while American 18-year-old Coco Gauff also sailed through to the third round. There were also wins for the women’s top seed Iga Swiatek, men’s 4th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, and eccentric Aussie Nick Kyrgios, who looked superb against 26th seeded Serbian Filip Krajinovic.

Tomorrow, the action on Centre Court sees Ons Jabeur open proceedings in the women’s bottom half, before Novak Djokovic and then Cameron Norrie take on their third round opponents. Heather Watson opens up on Court 1 as the only other Brit in singles action on Day 5.

Wimbledon Day 3 – Wednesday 29th June

Two big British hopes were eliminated from Wimbledon 2022 on Centre Court on Wednesday as Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray, both at opposite ends of their careers, fell to defeats in front of expectant crowds at SW19. But hope remains in the form of men’s British Number 1 Cameron Norrie, who safely navigated a five-set match against Jaume Munar to reach the third round.

19-year-old Raducanu, the reigning US Open Champion, has been thrust into the limelight since her victory at Flushing Meadows last year, but has struggled with injury and couldn’t quite find the form that took her to the title in the USA last year against former world number four Garcia of France. Raducanu went down 6-3 6-3 following an assured performance from Garcia, who outgunned and out-thought the British youngster.

There were high hopes for Andy Murray after Raducanu’s defeat – despite having been through well-publicised injury struggles over the past few years, Murray had won eight out of eight encounters with Isner before their encounter today, but at 6 foot 10, if Isner’s serve is firing, it can be nearly impossible to break. And so it proved this evening, with Murray simply unable to touch Isner serve – he didn’t break the American once during the entire match – and the Scot went down in four sets.

So Norrie is the leading hope for the British men this year now, although he didn’t make it easy for himself either – his opponent, clay-court specialist Jaume Munar, was firing on all cylinders, and Norrie had to be at his persistent best to stay in several rallies and always ensure Munar always had to hit one more shot. Despite dropping the second and third sets, Norrie was able to reverse the momentum and dominate the final two sets, eventually winning 6-4 3-6 5-7 6-0 6-2. He’ll go on to face American Steve Johnson in the third round, who defeated British wildcard Ryan Peniston in straight sets – Peniston apparently finally running out of steam after a career-defining grass-court season.

The only other Brit in singles action today was Heather Watson, who was last onto Court 2. She had a chance to finish her match before the light faded too much, but was unable to do so, so she’ll resume tomorrow just one game away from the third round against Chinese player Qiang Wang.

There are several Brits in action tomorrow, including Katie Boulter, who plays last year’s runner-up Karolina Pliskova first on Centre Court. Meanwhile, Liam Broady, Jack Draper, Harriet Dart and Alastair Gray will all be looking to secure passage into the third round.

Elsewhere, Novak Djokovic’s title defence continued successfully with a straight-sets victory over Thanasi Kokkinakis in the opening match on Centre Court, but women’s second seed Anett Kontaveit, and men’s third seed and French Open finalist Casper Ruud both suffered shock defeats.

Wimbledon Day 2 - Tuesday 28th June, 2022

It was a mixed day for British interest on Day 2 of Wimbledon 2022, with several youngsters impressing with début wins at the All-England Club, but other contenders failing to live up to expectations at the first round came to a close on Tuesday.

Several matches carried over from Monday had to be decided in the early stages of Tuesday afternoon, and only one of them had a positive result from a British point of view. Wildcard Ryan Peniston, who made the quarter-finals at Queen’s Club a couple of weeks before Wimbledon, completed a straight-sets victory over Swiss Henri Laaksonen to secure his first ever Grand Slam match victory, but fellow wildcards Katie Swan and Jay Clarke were unable to secure victory in their interrupted matches, with Katie losing the final set 6-4 against Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk and Jay Clarke going down in straight sets against American qualifier Christian Harrison.

But as the day went on, things began to look a little brighter – although young wildcard Paul Jubb was eliminated in the end by volatile Aussie Nick Kyrgios, he put up a great fight against the former World #13, taking the first and fourth sets and pushing Kyrgios all the way. Meanwhile, there were maiden first round victories for fellow wildcards Alastair Gray and Jack Draper, who both won in straight sets.

Draper in particular looked formidable and belied his young years with a convincing victory over the Ilkley Challenger winner Zizou Bergs of Belgium, while Alastair Gray snapped a four-match losing streak to pick up his first ever ATP Tour main draw victory over Taiwan’s Chun Hsin Tseng.

The day got even better when wildcards Liam Broady and Katie Boulter won their first round matches – Boulter got the job done a little quicker than Broady, defeating French 21-year-old Clara Burel 7-5 6-3, while Broady needed all five sets to overcome Slovakian qualifier Lukas Klein. Harriet Dart followed Boulter on Court 18 and eased through to the second round as well with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Spaniard Rebeka Masarova.

There was late disappointment on Court 2, though, as British Number Two Dan Evans was soundly beaten by Aussie qualifier Jason Kubler. Evans, ranked 33rd in the world but 28th seed at the tournament, is the highest-ranked player that Kubler has beaten this year, and the Brummie will be disappointed not to go any further in this year’s tournament.

Elsewhere, there were wins for Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the men’s draw, while women’s top seed Iga Swiatek also eased through to the second round. There was disappointment for 40-year-old Serena Williams late on Centre Court though – she fell in three tough sets against Frenchwoman Harmony Tan in her first competitive match since last year’s Wimbledon.

Tomorrow will see the Second Round get underway, with Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray both due to be on Centre Court against Caroline Garcia and John Isner respectively.

Wimbledon Day 1 - Monday 27th June, 2022

It was, generally speaking, a brilliant opening day for British interest at Wimbledon 2022, with five out of eight Brits in action moving into the second round, including both British Number 1s Cameron Norrie and Emma Raducanu, as well as two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.

Norrie, the current World #12 and ninth seed in this year’s competition, got the day off to a swift and successful start by securing a straight-sets victory over Spaniard Pablo Andujar on Court 2. The British left-hander, who has overseen a steady rise in the world rankings over the past couple of years, looked solid and comfortable on court, winning 6-0 7-6(3) 6-3 to set up a second-round clash against another Spaniard, Jaume Munar.

There was early disappointment for British interest on Court 18, though, as British wildcard Jodie Burrage fell 6-2 6-3 to Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko. Burrage won the hearts of the crowd, though, after she saved an unwell ball boy with fluids and food and sat with him until he felt better. Burrage will have enjoyed her grass season, though, having reached the final of the ITF tournament in Ilkley earlier in June.

Fellow wildcards Jay Clarke and Katie Swan were both unable to complete their matches due to fading light towards the end of the day – those tussles will be completed early on Tuesday.

It was a good day on Centre Court, though, with US Open Champion Emma Raducanu winning on her Centre Court debut 6-4 6-4 against tricky Belgian opponent Alison van Uytvanck. Raducanu had been struggling with injury leading up to the tournament, and it was encouraging to see her moving well and securing a confidence-boosting victory. She was followed onto Centre Court by Andy Murray, who had to come back from a set down to emerge victorious against Aussie James Duckworth in a late-night finish.

Elsewhere, there were victories for former British Number 1 Heather Watson, who squeezed past German Tamara Korpatsch in three sets, while popular wildcard Ryan Peniston is leading his first ever match at the All-England Club – he’ll need to finish his match against Swiss Henri Laaksonen tomorrow.

Outside of the British interest, in the men’s draw there were victories for reigning champion Novak Djokovic despite a slow start, young Spanish contender Carlos Alcaraz, but seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz lost in five to Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. On the women’s side, second seed Anett Kontaveit and third seed Ons Jabeur both won, but American seventh seed Danielle Collins suffered a shock exit to Czech Marie Bouzkova.