Teenage sensation Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff’s fairytale run at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships continued with a battling win over Polona Hercog.
The American 15-year-old showed huge guts – and talent – to come from a set down, the first she has dropped in these Championships, to beat the Slovenian in three sets, 3-6, 7-6, 7-5.
Gauff, who hit the headlines on Monday for beating five-time winner Venus Williams, followed up that victory with a convincing performance against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova, a semi-finalist at the All-England Club two years ago, 6-3, 6-3.
And now the teenager – the youngest person ever to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon, will play in the second week, next facing a challenge against Romania’s seventh seed Simona Halep.
Gauff said after her win: “It’s my first match on Centre Court, People say Court One is my court but maybe it can be Centre as well. I always knew I could come back. I went for my shots and I’m happy.
“The crowd was amazing, even when I was down match point they were cheering me on and I am super thankful.”
In the men’s draw Kevin Anderson, the South African No.4 seed, is out, having been outplayed in Centre Court’s opener against Argentinian Guido Pella.
Pella found a winning formula by simply knocking the South African’s huge serve back into court – and then relying on his passing strokes to do the rest in his convincing 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 win.
Former World number one Victoria Azarenka from Belarus was knocked out in straight sets by Halep on Centre Court, while many people’s favourite for this year’s Ladies’ Singles title, third seed Carolina Pliskova, beat Su-Wei Hsieh from Taiwan, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
Halep said after her win over Azarenka: “I’m very satisfied. I think it was my best match this year. I played really well. I felt actually very confident. I’ve been aggressive all the match, even if I was 3-1 down first set.
“I expected a tough one. I expected she’s going to play well and she’s going to hit strong, so I knew that. I was ready for the match. I’m really happy that I could win against a player like Vika because she’s a great one.”
Reigning men’s champion and world number one Novak Djokovic was tested early on in his match against Hubert Hurkack, but eventually pulled through 7-5, 6-7, 6-1, 6-4.
Out on Court No.2, in one of the game’s earlier contests, Caroline Wozniacki was defeated by China’s Shuai Zhang, but in controversial circumstances.
The former world number one player saw two crucial points overruled by Hawk-Eye. Wozniacki led 4-0 in the first set when she unsuccessfully challenged a call on the Chinese player’s serve which she felt was out.
A similar call two games later went against the Dane, and Zhang took six games on the spin to take the first set 6-4. She added the second set in more straightforward circumstances, 6-4, but Wozniacki was incensed, saying on court: “This is supposed to be a championship match. It’s out. It’s crazy – how am I losing two points on Hawk-Eye?”
After the game in her press conference she said: “I thought there were a few ones that I saw way differently. But it is what it is. You can’t really change a Hawk-Eye call. Maybe it was right. I just saw it differently.
“Maybe the Hawk-Eye was right. Maybe I just saw it wrong. I don’t know. But you trust Hawk-Eye normally.
“You trust that it tells you the right thing. Sometimes you do see the balls a little differently than what the Hawk-Eye is. At least you know, OK, you can get it out of your mind. I do believe that it was not in the ideal place today.”
Elsewhere Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain recovered from a nasty fall to beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov in straight sets, and Belgian David Goffin eventually overcame Russian Daniil Medvedev in a five-set epic – 7-5 in the fifth.
Canada’s Milos Raonic won in straight sets against Reilly Opelka of the USA, and in the Ladies’ Singles Elina Svitolina, the Number 8 seed, beat Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-7, 6-2.
Andy Murray’s first round match with Serena Williams in the mixed doubles was cancelled for the day as the light faded.
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