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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Maria Sharapova ousted, top-seed Simona Halep advances at Wimbledon

Maria Sharapova was beaten by unseeded Russian Viatia Diatchenko, while Number one seed and French Open champion Simona halep advanced to the second round at Wimbledon.

tennis Updated: Jul 04, 2018 12:10 IST
Russia's Maria Sharapova reacts during the first round match against Russia's Vitalia Diatchenko.
Russia's Maria Sharapova reacts during the first round match against Russia's Vitalia Diatchenko.(REUTERS)

Former champion Maria Sharapova was knocked out of Wimbledon in the first round on Tuesday by world number 132 and fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko.

It was Sharapova’s first ever defeat in the opening round at the All England Club and it came as she made her return to the tournament after a three-year absence.

She went down 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 having led by a set and 5-2.

Diatchenko, who came through qualifying, will face Sofia Kenin of the United States for a place in the last 32.

Halep eases into second round

Simona Halep made a bright start at Wimbledon on Tuesday with a comprehensive 6-2 6-4 victory over Kurumi Nara on Centre Court.

The French Open champion enjoyed 10 days off after her Paris triumph and she made a tentative start on the grass before eventually finding her rhythm.

Halep was made to work harder than some might have expected by her Japanese opponent, Nara enjoying some brief success as she attacked the world number one.

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It was all too brief, though, as Halep quickly wrestled back control of proceedings, her punishing forehand proving too hot to handle at times for Nara.

Halep reeled off six games in a row to begin her progression into round two, seeing off a second-set resurgence from Nara, whose overhit forehand ended the contest.

Nara found herself under pressure immediately as Halep broke first up, however Nara managed to get level at 2-2 as a beautiful drop shot at the net was backed up by a forehand into the corner.

However, unforced errors blighted her progress as comfortable-looking shots sailed beyond the lines, gifting Halep free points.

As Halep’s confidence grew her game found another gear, the Romanian’s movement around the court a joy to watch for the crowds packed into SW19’s show court.

Having wrapped up the opening set thanks to a tired backhand from Nara, Halep stepped on the gas again and quickly established a 2-0 lead, her control from the baseline coming from more powerful forehands.

A sloppy shot into the net ended Halep’s run in the third game, and Nara was then unable to capitalise after forcing the Romanian to two break points at 2-1.

Now into her stride, Halep made sure to make her opponent pay, serving well to maintain her lead, with Nara’s overpowered forehand shot securing the world number one’s passage to the second round.

First Published: Jul 04, 2018 02:04 IST