World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Sabalenka enter second round
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is eyeing a world record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title, started his Wimbledon campaign on a winning note getting past local boy Jack Draper 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to enter the second round.
WIMBLEDON: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is eyeing a world record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title, started his Wimbledon campaign on a winning note getting past local boy Jack Draper 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to enter the second round.
Djokovic, who has won 19 Grand Slam titles including five at SW 19, lost the first set to the 19-year-old but bounced back to win the remaining three sets in convincing fashion.
"It feels great seeing everyone and being back on probably the most special, the most sacred tennis court in the world," said Djokovic after the match.
"Obviously, alongside many other players, I was very sad last year that Wimbledon was cancelled. (It was) a very difficult time for everyone, but I am really glad that the sport is back and hopefully you guys have enjoyed it and you will enjoy it in the next couple of weeks," he added.
The top seed hammered 25 aces against the hapless teenager and won six of the 15 break points he got.
He won 87% of the points on first serve. Draper committed six double faults.
Second seed Aryna Sabalenka struck a barrage winners to blitz past Romanian qualifier Monica Niculescu 6-1, 6-4 and reach the second round.
With persistent rain preventing play on the outside courts, the Belarusian kicked off the Championships under the closed roof on Court One and set the green grass on fire with her aggressive tennis.
The 23-year-old Sabalenka, 10 years younger than 191st-ranked Niculescu, produced winners at will off both her forehand and backhand to leave Niculescu powerless and rooted to the baseline for most of the match.
Sabalenka, who hit 47 winners to the eight managed by her opponent, faced problems with her serve in the second set and was broken twice before sealing victory in 75 minutes with a crushing forehand down the line.
The first day's play was affected by rain. Scheduled to start at 11.30 a.m. local time, matches on the outside courts began at 3.40 p.m. Agencies