Wimbledon: Kerber, Barty enter 2nd round

London, Jul 2 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 7/2/2019 11:27:05 AM IST

Angelique Kerber solved the problem of the Tatjana Maria forehand slice as she began her Wimbledon title defence with a straight-sets win on Centre Court.

An all-German battle juxtaposed the conventional game of left-hander Kerber with the peculiar sight of Maria repeatedly swishing squash shots across the net, often drawing unusual spin and swerve.

Kerber broke serve seven times, but the 31-year-old was outfoxed on her own delivery four times while battling to a 6-4 6-3 first-round victory.

Although born just five months apart, compatriots Kerber and Maria have barely encountered each other on court.

Their one previous meeting came on clay in qualifying at Barcelona in 2009, and went Maria’s way, yet that was hardly a gauge of how this match would run.

Kerber landed her third grand slam singles title last year at Wimbledon, surprising many with the way she soundly beat Serena Williams in the final.

She has not won a title since but a run to the Eastbourne final last week, despite losing out to Karolina Pliskova for the trophy, appeared to bode well for this fortnight.

The first set was wrapped up with a terrific lob on the run, and Kerber made sure of the win with a powerful two-handed backhand down the line that Maria could only jab wide.

In the closing stages an entertaining rally had seen Kerber play a gratuitous exhibition shot between her legs, only to be trumped by a stop volley from Maria.

It was that sort of match, unpredictable in all areas but for the outcome.

Meanwhile, world number one Ashleigh Barty progressed into the second round of Wimbledon on Tuesday beating Zheng Saisai of China 6-4, 6-2.

The 23-year-old Australian, bidding to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season, did not have things all her own way being pegged back to 4-4 in the first set after leading 3-0.

However, she had too much in the locker for her opponent and easily took the second set to extend her unbeaten record to 13 matches.

Barty plays Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck for a place in the last 32. 

Nishikori beats Thiago Monteiro

Kei Nishikori eased into the Wimbledon second round with a straight-sets victory over Brazilian Thiago Monteiro on Tuesday.

The Japanese eighth seed took 2 hours, 10 minutes to complete the 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-4 win over his 113th-ranked opponent on Court 12 at the All England Club.

Nishikori, who reached the French Open quarterfinals last month, started the match aggressively.

He held serve throughout the opening set but allowed Monteiro to force his way to a tie-breaker in the second.

The 29-year-old world No. 7 saved a break point in the third before closing out a comfortable win.

“It’s been a while since my last tournament on grass, but I made a good start and played confidently,” Nishikori said.

“I want to play with this kind of rhythm as much as possible. There are a few things I’ll try to fix for my next match.”

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