There were plenty of Big Matches on Day 2 at SW19 but the majority of the country’s population was focused on the one at Wembley where England hoped to beat Germany for the first time in a knockout competition since 1966!
I feel for a lot of players – it’s super key to get through those first two rounds because the grass is more slippery, it is more soft Roger Federer
Consequently players were keen to get their matches finished in time for the late afternoon kick-off so the arrival of rain didn’t help as the outside courts were covered for a good part of the day.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev was fortunate to be on first match on Court No.1 and he made light work of his meeting with Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor requiring just 89-minutes to ease into round two, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.
Zverev’s record against previous qualifiers at Wimbledon had been poor losing twice, in 2018 (Ernests Gulbis) and 2019 (Jiri Vesely), and as the fourth seed, was no doubt happy at avoiding a third embarrassing result.
Not even a 15-minute break for the roof to be closed when the rain arrived, upset his concentration and rhythm.
“I was great on the court! Without the roof and then with,” he said, and in reference to the Big Match at Wembley, told the crowd with a broad smile that he hoped the result would hinge on penalties at which England had shown difficulties in converting in previous matches.
Fortuntely no penalties as England won 2-0.
Another keen follower of football is Aston Villa fan and British No.1 Dan Evans who battled past the popular Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, no slouch on grass, in their match delayed 24-hours by rain.
The Briton, seeded 22, who has had an excellent run of results on the tour this season – including a win over Novak Djokovic – but not so much at the majors, won 7-6(7-4) 6-2 7-5 to reach round two and break that sequence of four consecutive first round losses at Grand Slams.
“It was great. It’s amazing to be back playing at Wimbledon again. I didn’t realise it was going to be as busy,” the 31-year-old Evans said following his victory.
“I’m delighted to win. I played some good tennis.
“The first set I was probably a bit too into myself, once I let go a bit I really got rolling.
“It was a good mental effort.”
For much of his early career Evans was known as the ‘Bad Boy of British Tennis’ but while he liked to enjoy a good social life, he was a pussy cat in comparison to France’s version of a ‘bad boy’, Benoit Paire.
The heavily black bearded Frenchman was handed a code violation for lack of effort during his Wimbledon first round 6-3 6-4 6-0 defeat by the Argentine ninth seed, Diego Schwartzman.
The match was another which had been suspended overnight with the South American leading by two sets to love.
On resumption on Court No.2, Schwartzman required just 16-minutes to hand out a third set bagle prompting one frustrated spectator during that third set rout to declare his dissatisfaction and pointing out “You’re wasting everybody’s time!”
A code violation for unsporting conduct was issued by umpire Mohamed Lahyani at 5-0 and 30-0 in the third, who thought it appropriate as Paire was clearly not trying.
The 32-year-old, world ranked 46, immediately requested medical help: “Call the physio, I have pain,” he said to Lahyani who simply refused, telling him: “You cannot play like this. You have to show more sportsmanship.”
Speaking afterwards, he aired his dissatisfaction with the bubble life and dismissed fan complaints about his conduct.
“I think it is a bit ridiculous. I find it difficult to accept this decision.
“I try my best when I am in the bubble, but for me playing tennis like this is impossible.
“So I try my best. It is tough for me.”
And as far as he was concerned, the heckling by fans was irrelevant. “I do not care about the people. I play for me and that is it. I do not play for people.
“I just try to stay in my room, do my Covid test. I disagree with everything. I like the tournament.
“The thing I don’t like is how they treat us, like ‘stay in bubble’ and everybody is out in the city.”
Paire is no stranger to on-court controversy, with the French tennis federation banning him from the Tokyo Olympics after repeated instances of “deeply inappropriate behaviour”.
In fact in 2016, he was sent home from the Rio Olympics for poor behaviour and breaching team rules.
Meanwhile back on Court No.1 the opportunity for Daniil Medvedev, the second seed from Russia, to avenge his first-round defeat by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff in Halle was duly fulfilled.
Medvedev in the interim had gone to the Balearics and won the Mallorcan Championships to reboot his confidence on grass and it showed as he got past the big-hitting and dangerous German 6-4 6-1 4-6 7-6(3) to establish himself as a potential Wimbledon title challenger.
While dominating the opening two sets, the 31-year-old German struck back and while there was little between them in the fourth, Medvedev regained control in the tie-break to prevent a fifth set.
“I was surprised I won the first two sets so easy but then he started showing some unbelievable tennis,” Medvedev said on court. “Until the last point it was not over. It was a rollercoaster of a match.”
Another player who arrived at the AELTC brimming with confidence was Alex de Minaur, the Australian No.1, who had won his first title on grass down in Eastbourne on Saturday.
Unfortunately in a battle between two players destined for future stardom, the 22-year-old Aussie, seeded 15, fell to the 20-year-old Sebastian Korda, ranked 50 and son of Petra Korda the former Australian Open champion (1998) and world No.2.
De Minaur had hoped for a good run at Wimbledon following his Eastbourne triumph but he couldn’t find an answer to Korda’s blistering ground strokes which produced 41 winners during his 6-3 6-4 6-7(5) 7-6(5) victory after three-hours and 25-minutes.
Korda, making his Wimbledon debut, described the last few days as ‘crazy’ for on Sunday, his big sister Nelly triumphed at the Women’s PGA Championship to become women’s golfing world number one.
His other sister, Jessica is also a top 20 golfer, leading Korda to say: “The last few days have been pretty crazy.
“My sister winning her first major and now at number one in the world is incredible, she’s 22 and already doing crazy stuff and it’s inspirational. But it’s my first Wimbledon and I’m having a lot of fun as well.”
Petr Korda must have found it difficult to decide where to be and which child to support but eventually decided on travelling to London.
“It’s super special having my dad here, we don’t travel too often together so it’s super cool – especially here at Wimbledon,” his appreciative son added.
Finally Nick Kyrgios opened up his Wimbledon campaign on Court No.1 after an 18-monh lay-off without lifting a racket because of the pandemic.
The controversial Aussie didn’t need long before he found something to complain about as he attempted to oust the talented French youngster Ugo Humbert out of The Championships.
“Guys, for you watching at home, it should be fast in here. It should be fast, that’s grasscourt tennis,” Kyrgios told the world in general.
“They’ve made it slow. This isn’t grass anymore. This is slow. Slow.
“Try watering it. Make it a grass court again, thanks.”
The match was suspended at two sets apiece five minutes before 11pm local time on Tuesday to comply with a London curfew, to boos and jeers from the crowd.
The pair were locked at 3-all in the deciding set and will have to resume on Wednesday.
The day had earlier seen two physical casualties virtually limp off court. Adrian Mannarino of France was forced to retire from his first-round match with Roger Federer with a knee injury and Serena Williams, as reported elsewhere, joined him on the injured list in tears with a badly strained leg after just 6 games.
Federer, who learned of Williams’ injury during his news conference, said the court felt drier during the day.
“I feel for a lot of players – it’s super key to get through those first two rounds because the grass is more slippery, it is more soft,” he said.
“As the tournament progresses, usually it gets harder and easier to move on.”
Men’s results Day Two
Dan Evans (GB)(22) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 7-6(4) 6-2 7-5
Diego Schwartzman (Arg)(9) bt Benoit Paire (Fra) 6-3 6-4 6-0
Fabio Fognini (Ita)(26)) bt Albert Ramos-Vinolas (Esp) 7-6(4) 6-2 6-4
Alexander Zverev (Ger)(4) bt Tallon Griekspoor (Ned) 6-3 6-4 6-1
Sebastian Korda (USA) bt Alex de Minaur (Aus)(15) 6-3 6-4 6-7(5) 7-6(5)
Soonwoo Kwon (Kor) bt Daniel Masur (Ger) 6-7(2) 6-3 6-4 6-4
Egor Gerasimov (Blr) bt Jay Clarke (GB) 6-3 3-6 7-6(5) 6-2
Denis Shapovalov (Can) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) 6-4 4-6 6-3 5-7 6-4
Antoine Hoang (Fra) bt Zizhen Zhang (Chn) 4-6 7-6(5) 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2
Roger Federer (Sui)() bt Adrian Mannarino (Fra) 6-4 6-7(3) 3-6 6-2 retd
Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt Yulchi Sugita (Jpn) 7-6(4) 4-6 6-2 6-1
Dusan Lajovic (Srb) bt Gilles Simon (Fra) 6-4 7-5 3-6 4-6 6-3
Alex Bolt (Aus) bt Filip Krajinovic (Srb) 7-6(3) 6-4 7-5
Marc Polmans (Aus) bt Yen-Hsun Lu (Tpe) 6-2 7-5 4-6 7-6(3)
Hubert Hurkacz (Pol)(14) bt Lorenzo Musetti (Ita) 6-4 7-6(5) 6-1
Daniil Medvedev (Rus)(2) bt Jan-Lennard Struf (Ger) 6-4 6-1 4-6 7-6(3)
Pablo Cuevas (Uru) bt Laslo Djere (Srb) 5-7 6-4 6-4 6-4
Tennys Sandgren (USA) bt Norbert Gombos (Svk) 6-4 6-7(5) 6-1 6-3.