American teenager Coco Gauff was the first big-name casualty at Wimbledon after losing a high-quality match against a resurgent Sofia Kenin.
Seventh seed Gauff lost 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the first round to qualifier Kenin, who has dropped down the rankings since winning the 2020 Australian Open.
Kenin, who has been hampered by injuries and upheaval in her coaching set-up, said she felt “super proud”.
Top seed Iga Swiatek laid down a marker with a 6-1 6-3 win over Zhu Lin.
When the Wimbledon draw was made on Friday, Gauff being handed one of the trickiest draws possible – against a former Grand Slam champion looking to reignite her career – instantly caught the eye as a potential shock.
Gauff knew the danger posed by 24-year-old Kenin and her wariness proved correct as she lost in the first round at the All England Club for the first time.
The 19-year-old burst on to the scene at Wimbledon in 2019 when, as a 15-year-old phenomenon, she came through qualifying before shocking five-time champion Venus Williams on her way to the last 16.
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That success led to bold predictions of how many Grand Slams she would go on to win and, even though lifting one of the sport’s biggest prizes has not yet materialised, the world number seven was expected to go far at a major tournament where she has previously done well.
However, she was outpowered by an inspired Kenin who showed why she was one of the WTA Tour’s rising stars only a few years ago.
Swiatek is joined in the second round by American fourth seed Jessica Pegula and French fifth seed Caroline Garcia.
Pegula, 29, beat fellow American Lauren Davis 6-2 6-7 (8-10) 6-3, while Garcia won 6-4 6-3 against another American player, Katie Volynets.
Written by: Debby Eselebor
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