• Thursday, July 25, 2024

Sport

Wimbledon Day 1: Alcaraz & Sinner progress, India’s Nagal exits

Jannik Sinner, world no.1, overcame a mid-match wobble to defeat Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Jannick Sinner of Italy plays a backhand against Yannick Hanfmann of Germany in the first round match during day one of Wimbledon 2024. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

DEFENDING champion Carlos Alcaraz and world number one Jannik Sinner progressed to the Wimbledon second round on Monday (1). However, Australian Open winner Aryna Sabalenka withdrew due to injury.

Alcaraz defeated 269th-ranked qualifier Mark Lajal of Estonia 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 6-2, recovering from breaks in the first two sets. The 21-year-old Spaniard is aiming for his fourth Grand Slam title and hopes to become the sixth man to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back. “He played a really good match, he obviously surprised me a little bit because I didn’t have the chance to see him play a lot,” Alcaraz said after the match.

Sinner overcame a mid-match wobble to defeat Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. He will face compatriot and 2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini next. “He played really well, he was serving well, I missed a couple of shots,” said Sinner.

India’s top singles player Sumit Nagal exited in the first round, losing to Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in four sets. Nagal, making his debut in the men’s singles main draw, lost 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6. Despite hitting 47 winners, he struggled on the grass court and committed 44 unforced errors. This was Kecmanovic’s second win against Nagal.

Nagal is the first Indian in five years to play a Wimbledon men’s singles main draw match. He had a notable season, qualifying for the Australian Open and becoming the first Indian male tennis player to beat a seeded player in a Grand Slam in 35 years. He also qualified for the Indian Wells Masters and Monte-Carlo Masters and won two Challenger events this season.

Andy Murray, 37, kept his fans guessing about his participation. The two-time champion had surgery to remove a cyst on his spine and has yet to fully recover. Murray will decide on Tuesday whether he will play against Tomas Machac, with the match scheduled last on Centre Court to give him more time.

Two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Sabalenka, ranked third in the world, is one of eight players to withdraw since the draw was made. She had been struggling with a shoulder injury. “Heartbroken to have to tell you all that I won’t be able to play the Championships this year,” Sabalenka wrote on X.

China’s world number eight Zheng Qinwen was the biggest casualty of the day, losing to New Zealand qualifier Lulu Sun 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. US Open champion Coco Gauff advanced by defeating compatriot Caroline Dolehide 6-1, 6-2.

Former world number one Naomi Osaka won her first Wimbledon match since 2018, beating Diane Parry of France 6-1, 1-6, 6-4. “It feels like a dream because I haven’t played here many times,” said Osaka, whose daughter celebrates her first birthday the next day.

Russian fifth seed Daniil Medvedev hit 16 aces in his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Aleksandar Kovacevic of the United States. “I’ve still never lost on Court One so hopefully I can play a lot more matches on this court,” said Medvedev.

Eighth seed Casper Ruud, who had been ill since reaching the French Open semi-finals, defeated Alex Bolt of Australia in straight sets. “I was mostly in bed for 10, 11 days,” Ruud said.

Stan Wawrinka, 39, won his opener against British wild card Charles Broom 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. “I think there is enough reason to keep playing. I don’t want to go home,” Wawrinka said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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