Mere weeks after the closing rounds of the French Open saw Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova triumph, several notable players took to the court yet again at the All England Club.
The 2014 Wimbledon Championships officially kicked off on Monday with past winners like Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams all playing on Day 1.
Monday wasn't void of surprises in both brackets with ranked players falling. American Sloane Stephens bowed out after making the quarterfinals last season, as did No. 18 Fernando Verdasco on the men's side.
With the 2014 Wimbledon Championships finally getting underway, here's a look at the top results from Day 1 and a recap from some of the biggest matches. Full results from Monday can be found at Wimbledon.com.
|No. 3 Andy Murray def. David Goffin||6-1, 6-4, 7-5|
|No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. Andrey Golubev||6-0, 6-1, 6-4|
|No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov def. Ryan Harrison||7-6(1), 6-3, 6-2|
|No. 6 Tomas Berdych def. Victor Hanescu||6(5)-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3|
|No. 17 Mikhail Youzhny def. James Ward||6-2, 6-2, 6-1|
|No. 7 David Ferrer def. Pablo Carreno Busta||6-0, 6(3)-7, 6-1, 6-1|
|No. 16 Fabrio Fognini def. Alex Kuznetsov||2-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 9-7|
|Marinko Matosevic def. No. 18 Fernando Verdasco||6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2|
|No. 21 Alexandr Dolgopolov def. Samuel Groth||7-5, 7-6(2), 7-6(5)|
|No. 20 Kevin Anderson def. Aljaz Bedene||6-3, 7-5, 6-2|
|No. 26 Marin Cilic def. Paul-Henri Mathieu||6-2, 6(2)-7, 6-2, 6-1|
|Leonardo Mayer def. No. 25 Andreas Seppi||6-3, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4|
|No. 27 Roberto Bautista Agut def. Steve Johnson||6-3, 6(3)-7, 6-4, 7-5|
|No. 12 Ernests Gulbis def. Jurgen Zopp||7-6(7), 7-5, 7-6(10)|
|No. 2 Li Na def. Paula Kania||7-5, 6-2|
|No. 10 Dominika Cibulkova def. Aleksandra Wozniak||6-1, 6-2|
|No. 8 Victoria Azarenka def. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni||6-3, 7-5|
|No. 30 Venus Williams def. Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor||6-4, 4-6, 6-2|
|Yanina Wickmayer def. No. 17 Samantha Stosur||6-3, 6-4|
|No. 6 Petra Kvitova def. Andrea Hlavackova||6-3, 6-0|
|Maria Kirilenko def. No. 18 Sloane Stephens||6-2, 7-6(6)|
|No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova def. Kimiko Date-Krumm||3-6, 6-4, 7-5|
|No. 32 Elena Vesnina def. Patricia Mayr-Achleitner||6-0, 6-4|
|No. 12 Flavia Pennetta def. Jana Cepelova||6-2, 6-3|
|Coco Vandeweghe def. No. 27 Garbine Muguruza||6-3, 3-6, 7-5|
|No. 23 Lucie Safarova def. Julia Goerges||7-6(3), 7-6(3)|
Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray Cruise in Straight Sets
Both outcomes were clearly expected, but Djokovic and Murray routed their opponents to advance to the second round of play.
Murray comes in as the people's champion in London after winning the title last year, but won't have an easy path to the finals. The two-time Grand Slam champion spoke about returning to the famed Centre Court, via Wimbledon's official Twitter account:
Can Murray defend his title at Wimbledon?
The nerves were shaken off quickly for Murray as he ran away with the first set by a 6-1 final against David Goffin. He eventually took down Goffin by taking the next two sets by scores of 6-4 and 7-5.
While the final set wasn't as simple for Murray, he ran away with the first two in a convincing victory. The defending champion made quick work of Goffin and will face 23-year-old Blaz Rola in the second round.
Wimbledon provides a look at highlights from his first-round victory:
Shortly after Murray's victory, Djokovic took to the court and dispatched Andrey Golubev in similar fashion. Allowing just five games won by Golubev, Djokovic made a huge statement with the rousing triumph.
Carl Bialik of FiveThirtyEight takes a look at the Djoker's performance over the last several years:
Since 2011 Aus. Open, Djokovic has won 12 completed Grand Slam matches with fewer than 6 games dropped. Nadal has 10, Federer 8, Murray 3.— Carl Bialik (@CarlBialik) June 23, 2014
As easy as Monday was for both men, the road to the finals will be a difficult one. Names like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are looking to add to their trophy cases, while Stanislas Wawrinka is hoping to bounce back after a disappointing showing at the French Open.
Stephens One and Lon-done
After showing brilliant form last year at Wimbledon, it was a horrid day for Sloane Stephens.
The American was ousted in straight sets by Maria Kirilenko, who wasn't expected to give her much of a contest. SportsCenter notes the poor performance by Stephens on Monday:
Early upset at Wimbledon. 18th-seeded Sloane Stephens loses to 109th-ranked Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 7-6 (6). pic.twitter.com/7x5jEQ58cj— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 23, 2014
Not only was it an embarrassing loss, but it also marked the first time in her career she has lost to a player ranked lower than her at a Grand Slam. Dropping one set to Kirilenko would have been seen as struggling, but falling in consecutive sets might be a sign of regression for Stephens.
While Kirilenko was not ranked even inside the top 100, Stephens points out she played great on Monday, per Sports Illustrated:
[In the tiebreaker] I wouldn’t say I was thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to get to a third set.’ I was just thinking, ‘OK, play every point like whatever.’ I got up in the tiebreaker, and that was good. I mean, she played some good tennis. There’s nothing I could do. I hit a forehand cross‑court and she was standing there waiting to lob it over my head. So that wasn’t the greatest play on earth. I could tell you a whole bunch of things I could have done differently. But it was a match. I played an opponent who played pretty solid. It was just a rough day for me.
The early exit will likely mean Stephens drops back out of the top 20 after reaching as high as No. 11 last year. She might have a comeback in her at the U.S. Open after making the fourth round in 2013, but the 21-year-old will need to play more consistent tennis later this season.
Venus Williams Looking for Sixth Wimbledon Title
The former world No. 1 is no more, but she still shows magic play on the Wimbledon courts.
Following early exits in both the Australian Open and French Open, Williams won in three sets on Monday to advance at the All England Club. Caroline Cheese of LiveWire Sport points out where the victory puts the elder Williams sister in terms of wins at Wimbledon:
After win today, Venus is only 2 behind Graf for all-time #Wimbledon singles wins with 72. Navratilova top with 120— Caroline Cheese (@CarolineCheese) June 23, 2014
Williams also gave a witty answer when asked about her titles, per Wimbledon:
Though she hasn't won a Wimbledon title since 2008, Williams took the Dubai Tennis Championships earlier this season. Showing some flashes of brilliance yet again on a big stage, Williams might just have what it takes to survive the grass gauntlet.
The 34-year-old might be on track to return to championship form, but she will have to get through several strong players to do so. Her back may be against the wall, but Williams might just be poised for one more late run at Wimbledon.
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