Petra Kvitova came off to a winning start in her fairytale comeback to Wimbledon. Though she can't clench yet the fingers on her left hand into her usual fist pump, the two-times champion celebrated a 6-3 6-4 win over Johanna Larsson, her fifth in as many clashes, to secure a place in the second round.
The Czech won the point of the day in the eight game of the first set, changing at the last minute from a defensive shot to an aggressive solution, delivering the forewand winner down the line that gave her the crucial break at 5-3.
After a nervy serving game, as she made life hard for herself after a a backhand error and a double fault, Kvitova forced to finally forced Larsson to put a slice forehand wide on the set point. The World No.52 took her first service game of the second set after five trips to deuce but the big effort produced just a little glimpse of hope for the Swede.
Kvitova soon found herself a set and a break up, though she led Larsson fight her way back into the match. Larsson broke Kvitova for the first time to 4-4, only to hand an immediate break in the next game. And offer Kvitova the chance to seal her sixth consecutive victory.
Wimbledon's first day became a Czech fest. Also Strycova and Kristyna Pliskova, in fact, goes through to the second round. The No.22 seed comfortably beat the Paraguayan Cepede Royg 6-3 6-3 while Pliskova, Karolina's twin-sister, ruthlessly delivered 30 winners in her 7-6 6-2 success over Roberta Vinci.
The Italian, N.31 seed, lost the third consecutive clash against the Czech, able to save a set point down 4-5 in the first with a clinical passing winner. Pliskova sealed the 8-6 in the tiebreak at the second chance as Vinci sent a return wide, and easily went 3-0 up in the second.
Vinci seemed to lack confidence and surrendered at the second match point when her last forehand flew wide. Dominika Cibulkova survived a tense first round clash before beating 6-3 3-6 9-7 Andrea Petkovic in a match that featured 23 breaks of serve.
The German may have been knocked mentally and phisically by a heavy fall in the final part of this heavily contested encounter. "It was extremely tough match," said Cibulkova. "I knew it was going to be a tough one against Andrea.
We know each other pretty well. I think my game suits her game, so I knew it's gonna be tough one." A quarterfinalist in 2016,Cibulkova sealed her first grass court win of the year thanks to a different approach. "In the previous matches I wasn't in my best form.
I mean, I was feeling good at practices but I just couldn't make it on the matches" she added in her post-match press conference. "But I approached the match in completely different way. I knew it's gonna be tough one.
So, you know, I used my experience. I knew it's a Grand Slam, and I have a lot of experience in these matches". Wimbledon remained the hardest major for the German, the only she hadn't yet reached the quarter-finals.
Johanna Konta otherwise has seemingly recovered from her own fearsome fall in Eastbourne. The Brit didnt't let Hsieh to dictate the pace. She executed her gameplan based on aggressive returns and sealed a comfortable 6-2 6-2 win thanks to a final ace on the match point.
Azarenka completed a tense comeback win over CiCi Bellis and will now face Elena Vesnina. The American, after playing her first semifinal at the WTA international level, lost 36 62 61. "I didn't start well and I was very nervous not playing my game in the first set" said Azarenka.
"I understand I need to be patient though the competitor in me wants to be quick". Bellis started much better, bossing the rallies and earning a 4-0 lead. Azarenka cut the lead down to one break and missed three crucial chances when the American was serving for the first set.
Bellis close the set thanks also to a couple of Azarenka misses but soon the momentum dramatically shifted. The former number 1 increased pressure with her big return and cut down her unforced error tally losing just three games before sealing her first Wimbledon victory since 2015.
Jelena Ostapenko kicked off her Wimbledon campaign with a 60 16 63 win over Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich. On Court 18, the Roland Garros champion took the first set in 23 minutes. Down two break points in the beginning of the second set, the Belarusian showed glimpses of her best tennis and forced Ostapenko to the decider.
The Latvian, at her highest seeding ever, struck 24 winners to win her 15th third setter out of 21 during her best campaign No.25 seed Carla Suárez Navarro outlasted 2014 runner-up Eugenie Bouchard 16 61 61 collecting just the third comeback win of the season.
The Spaniard will now face the former Chinese N.1 Peng Shuai who knocked ot Marketa Vondrousova, the in-form Czech teenager, 67 60 64.