|Venue: All England Membership Dates: 28 June-11 July|
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British teenager Jack Draper wowed the returning dwelling crowd by taking the opening set off Novak Djokovic earlier than the defending champion fought again to win on day one at Wimbledon.
Draper was given a wildcard for his senior SW19 debut and surprised the Serb prime seed with a assured begin.
It was the primary set that 34-year-old Djokovic had dropped within the Wimbledon first spherical since 2010.
However the five-time champion got here by means of 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2 on Centre Court docket.
Djokovic will play South Africa’s Kevin Anderson – who he beat within the 2018 remaining – within the second spherical.
“It feels nice seeing everybody and being again on essentially the most particular, or sacred, tennis court docket on this planet,” stated Djokovic, who’s aiming to equal Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer’s all-time males’s document of 20 main titles.
“It has been very troublesome occasions for everybody however I am very glad the game is again, hopefully you guys loved it and can benefit from the subsequent couple of weeks.”
The Championships has returned after being cancelled final 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic and Centre Court docket is allowed to carry 50% of its 15,000 capability as a part of the federal government’s occasion analysis programme.
That led to a particular second earlier than Djokovic and Draper walked out within the opening match on Centre. The gang gave a spontaneous and extended standing ovation when it was introduced NHS employees and scientists accountable for creating vaccines had been sat within the Royal Field.
Is a brand new British star born? Draper thrills Centre Court docket
Considered one in every of Britain’s brightest abilities, 19-year-old Draper was given the hardest take a look at within the males’s sport with the plum draw in opposition to Djokovic.
He has tasted success on the All England Membership earlier than, having reached the ultimate of the boys’ singles in 2018, however was making his senior debut after being given a wildcard.
That got here simply earlier than an eye catching run at Queen’s final week, the place he earned a primary ATP Tour match win and confirmed on an even bigger stage why he’s extremely regarded.
Draper surprised Italian third seed Jannik Sinner – one of many sport’s greatest younger abilities – in his opening match, backing that up with one other win over Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik. He then misplaced to fellow Briton Cameron Norrie within the quarter-finals.
Already seemingly confident, that run additional boosted his confidence that he may compete with the world’s greatest and he stated he would purpose to indicate Djokovic what he had bought.
Definitely that occurred within the first set, the place his strong and typically spectacular backhand troubled Djokovic.
Djokovic was additionally bothered by the slick floor, slipping over a number of occasions on the baseline however capable of keep away from any critical points.
The decisive break for 2-1 got here with a whopping backhand winner which dusted the road and with Djokovic unable to transform any of seven break factors, the younger Briton stored his nerve to serve out the set on an excited Centre Court docket.
Finally, and never surprisingly, he couldn’t preserve that stage as Djokovic shortly gained the subsequent three units.
However there had already been sufficient from Draper to counsel he has the expertise to succeed on the prime stage, in addition to profitable over some new British followers and drawing reward from his illustrious opponent.
Djokovic warmly positioned his arm across the Briton’s shoulder on the web and gave him some phrases of encouragement earlier than Draper walked off to a standing ovation.
“He undoubtedly deserves a spherical of applause, he is a teen, solely 19, and hadn’t performed an excessive amount of previous to Queen’s,” stated Djokovic.
“Strolling on to Wimbledon Centre Court docket for the primary time, I believe he has finished extraordinarily nicely and performed maturely. I want him all the very best for the remainder of his profession.”
Boulter, Broady and Murray attain second spherical
British 24-year-old Katie Boulter fought again from a set right down to beat American Danielle Lao 6-7 (6-8) 6-Three 6-Four and progress to the second spherical.
Having misplaced a good first-set tie-break during which she saved two of three set factors, Boulter, a wildcard entry, battled again impressively as she recovered a 3-1 deficit within the deciding set – profitable 5 of the ultimate six video games.
Subsequent up for Boulter, who’s ranked 219 on this planet, is Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka. The world quantity 4 dominated Monica Niculescu within the first match of the 2021 Championships, profitable 6-1 6-4.
Additionally within the girls’s draw, Boulter’s compatriots Heather Watson, 29, Katie Swan, 22, and Jodie Burrage, 22, all suffered first-round defeats.
After her match was moved onto Court docket One, Watson dominated the primary set in opposition to Kristie Ahn, however allowed the American to combat her approach again as day become evening, finally shedding 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 8-6.
Ahn will play compatriot Sloane Stephens subsequent as she takes her place within the Wimbledon second spherical for the primary time.
American 23rd seed Madison Keys triumphed 6-Three 6-Four in opposition to Swan on court docket three after the Briton misplaced serve early in each units.
In the meantime, wildcard Burrage misplaced 6-2 6-1 to Lauren Davis regardless of a optimistic begin which noticed her break the American – ranked 183 locations larger – within the opening sport.
Within the males’s draw, Andy Murray made his Wimbledon singles return with a dramatic 6-Four 6-Three 5-7 6-Three victory in opposition to 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Liam Broady additionally progressed, recording a straight-set victory over Italian Marco Cecchinato.
Broady, 27, gained 6-Three 6-Four 6-Zero to arrange a gathering with Argentine ninth seed Diego Schwartzman or France’s Benoit Paire.
Jay Clarke will resume his opening match in opposition to Belarusian Egor Gerasimov on Tuesday, with the Briton trailing 3-6 6-Three 7-6 (7-5) when play was suspended.
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