Putintseva pastes Osaka as Djokovic sails in opener - GulfToday

Putintseva pastes Osaka as Djokovic sails in opener

Yulia Putintseva

Yulia Putintseva returns to Naomi Osaka during their first round match of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships on Monday. Agence France-Presse

The opening day at Wimbledon on Monday saw its biggest upset when second seed Naomi Osaka’s bid to win a third Grand Slam title came to a premature end as she lost to Kazakh Yulia Putintseva, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in the first round.

In a repeat of her performance against Osaka in the recent Birmingham event, Putintseva simply franked the form in bundling the US Open and Australian Open champion out of the singles tournament at the All England Club.

The 21-year-old Japanese star had said before the start of the tournament that she had felt a weight lifted from her after losing her number one world ranking but it did not show against a talented opponent on Centre Court.

Russia-born Putintseva on the other hand  was far from over-awed in the manner she played her Japanese opponent.

“I did a good job out there and I was fighting great,” said the 24-year-old. “It is amazing.”

Putintseva said she was getting more accustomed to grass, although, she still feels clay is her best surface, and added having a good record against Osaka counted for nothing when they walked out onto Centre Court.

“Honestly every match is a battle I don’t know what is going to happen,” she said after her third win in three against the Japanese.

“I do my best, that is all I can do.”

Earlier, defending champion Novak Djokovic got his campaign for a fifth Wimbledon title off to a winning start on Monday with newly-hired coaching team recruit, and 2001 winner, Goran Ivanisevic helping steer the ship.

Seventh seed Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas meanwhile crashed out in the first round in stunning fashion after losing in five sets 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (8/10), 6-3 to world number 89 Thomas Fabbiano of Italy, to become the biggest men’s seed to be knocked out on day one.

Tsitsipas, 20, was tipped by many as a potential Wimbledon champion. His vanquisher, world number 89, Fabbiano, next faces 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic.

Tsitsipas had reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January and the last-16 at Roland Garros as well as the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.

Djokovic, chasing a fifth title at the All England Club, saw off 35-year-old Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.

But he had to recover from early breaks in both of the first two sets against a player who beat him at Indian Wells this year, as well as a nasty fall on the Centre Court grass.

Djokovic, chasing a 16th career major, will face Denis Kudla of the United States for a place in the last 32.

If his victory was routine, there was nothing predictable about the Serb’s surprise decision to bring Ivanisevic into his inner sanctum over the weekend.

Djokovic said that he and Ivanisevic have been long-time friends.

“I have always looked up to Goran. When he won here in 2001, I feel I was part of that as he had trained in Germany at the same base as me when I was 13-14,” said Djokovic.

“I feel as if I contributed to his victory,” he joked.

Fourth seed Kevin Anderson, runner-up to Djokovic in 2018, eased into the second round beating Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Anderson will now play Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic who registered his first win at the tournament in seven years when he defeated Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

In the women’s event, third seed Karolina Pliskova made it through, beating China’s Zhu Lin 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).

Czech former world number one Pliskova, fresh from winning the Eastbourne title, has never got past the fourth round at Wimbledon.

She will next face Olympic champion Monica Puig.

Meanwhile, Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova, a semi-finalist in 2017, caused the first big upset of day one, when she put out 10th seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-2, 6-4 in just 70 minutes.

It was Sabalenka’s second successive loss in the first round Former French Open champion Simona Halep overcame an injury scare to make the second round with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Halep, seeded seven and a semi-finalist in 2014, needed to have her left ankle strapped after a worrying fall on Court One.

She then slipped at 2-5 down in the second set before recovering to beat her Belarus opponent who knocked out two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at the same stage in 2018.

Agencies

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