Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Kvitova, Sharapova fall in first round at Wimbledon

2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova, who have combined for three Wimbledon singles titles, lost on Tuesday in the first round at the All England Club.
   The eighth-seeded Kvitova, who won the 2011 and 2014 crowns, fell to Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
   Kvitova, who needed extensive surgery on her left (playing) hand after a December 2016 knife attack, has not reached a Grand Slam semifinal in four years or advanced to the second week of a major this year.
   "I probably wanted it too much again," Kvitova, who was crushed by local favorite CiCi Bellis 6-2, 6-0 in the Stanford quarterfinals last August, admitted to reporters. "I just made a joke that probably I'm going to skip the Grand Slams for the next years. I will see how everything is going."
   The 24th-seeded Sharapova, who won Wimbledon at age 17 in 2004, succumbed to qualifier and fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-4 in 3 hours, 8 minutes. Sharapova, playing at Wimbledon for the first time since 2015, twice led by a service break in the third set.
   "She swung away," said Sharapova, who's scheduled to play in the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, July 30-Aug. 5 at San Jose State. "She played extremely aggressive. I was playing a little bit too defensively. She was there to win it, and she did."
   No. 1 seed Simona Halep, coming off her first Grand Slam title in the French Open, and No. 3 Garbine Muguruza, the defending champion, won in straight sets.
2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Also advancing were U.S. teenagers Sofia Kenin (19) and Claire Liu (18), both of whom are entered in the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge on July 17-22.
   The 76th-ranked Kenin tentatively will be seeded first in Berkeley. She won Northern California Challengers in Sacramento in 2016 and Stockton last July.
   Liu, who last year became the first Wimbledon girls champion from the United States since Chanda Rubin in 1992, topped Croatia's Ana Konjuh, a quarterfinalist in the 2016 U.S. Open at age 18, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-3.
   The men's field also featured two big upsets on Tuesday.
   No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem, who reached his first Grand Slam final in the recent French Open, retired due to back pain with 33-year-old Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus leading 6-4, 7-5, 2-0. Baghdatis advanced to the final in the 2006 Australian Open, losing to Roger Federer, and won the  $100,000 Comerica Bank Challenger in Aptos, Calif., in 2014.
   No. 10 seed David Goffin fell to Australia's Matthew Ebden, the runner-up in the 2013 Napa Challenger, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
   No. 2 Rafael Nadal, No. 4 Alexander Zverev, No. 5 Juan Martin Del Potro and No. 12 Novak Djokovic coasted to straight-set victories.
   Qualifier Bradley Klahn (Stanford, 2009-12), continuing his comeback from a second back operation, defeated Yuichi Sugita of Japan 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-2.
   Klahn, a 27-year-old left-hander from Poway in the San Diego area, is scheduled to face No. 21 seed Kyle Edmund, 23, of Great Britain on Thursday. They have split two matches, both on hard courts in 2014 Challengers.

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