London, July 4 (EFE).- Carlos Alcaraz, Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka, three of the highest seeds in the Wimbledon men’s and women’s draws, advanced to the second round of tennis’ grass-court Grand Slam with convincing victories on Tuesday.
But many other players either did not take the court or were unable to complete their first-round matches due to persistent light rain at the All England Club.
Rybakina, the No. 3 seed and women’s singles defending champion, kicked off the day’s action on Centre Court with a come-from-behind 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory over American Shelby Rogers.
In a battle of two of the bigger hitters on the WTA Tour, Rogers held her own in the early going and even bested the Kazakh player in the winner department – 13 to 11 – in the first set.
But Rybakina evened the contest thanks to outstanding play on both serve and return in the second set, highlighted by her five aces, 93 percent winning percentage on her first-serve points and 87 percent winning percentage on Rogers’ second-serve points.
In the decider, the world No. 3 jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and then secured a key insurance break in the seventh game en route to a comfortable victory.
For the match, Rybakina struck 12 aces to Rogers’ two and 31 winners to her opponent’s 20. She also put 65 percent of her first serves in play, eight percentage points above her average for 2023.
“I didn’t start that well. I was not moving that great and straight away was a break,” she said in the post-match press conference, acknowledging that the fact that retired Swiss great Roger Federer was watching from the stands contributed to her early nerves.
“First matches, I think they’re always tough … mentally to get into the rhythm of the tournament. So hopefully the next match is going to be easier.”
Playing on Court 1, Alcaraz showed no signs of tension early on against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
The top-seeded Spaniard won the first two sets with the loss of just two games and then clinched a more tightly contested third set for a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5.
Alcaraz did not face a single break point in the first two sets but lost his serve in the fifth game of the third when Chardy found the lines with a pair of forehands.
The Spaniard, however, came alive with his return game to earn two service breaks late in the set and then clinch the match with his 10th ace.
“I like to play rallies. I like to play battles, let’s say. I’m really happy to have played a great level, both of us, in the third set,” Alcaraz said afterward.
In other action on Centre Court, Belarusian No. 2 seed Sabalenka, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2021, looks primed for a deep run once again after dispatching Hungary’s Panna Udvardy 6-3, 6-1 with a convincing display of power tennis.
Sabalenka was banned from playing Wimbledon last year – along with all players from Russia and Belarus – because of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and her homeland’s role as a staging ground for Russian troops.
The reigning Australian Open champion overpowered Udvardy from start to finish on Tuesday, striking 29 winners to her opponent’s four during the contest, including one final untouchable forehand blast on match point.
She also registered eight aces.
In other results on Tuesday, 2022 women’s runner-up Ons Jabeur of Tunisia moved through with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Poland’s Magdalena Frech, and two-time Wimbledon men’s singles champion Andy Murray of the United Kingdom cruised to a 6-3, 6-0, 6-1 win over countryman Ryan Peniston. EFE