Tennis·ROUNDUP

Andreescu out of Wimbledon after straight-set loss in 1st round

Canada's Bianca Andreescu was upset by France's Alize Cornet for the second time in two weeks, losing 6-2, 6-1 in the first round at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

Djokovic pushes past slippery court conditions to advance at Wimbledon

Canada's Bianca Andreescu falls to the ground after slipping during her first-round loss on Wednesday to France's Alize Cornet. (Paul Childs/Reuters)

Asked about his connection with the Centre Court crowd after his second victory there this week, Novak Djokovic joked: "I seem to be having a really nice connection with the grass."

The five-time champion at the All England Club chuckled at his own line, then added, "I don't recall falling this much in the first two matches of Wimbledon.

Yes, less than 24 hours after Serena Williams and Roger Federer's opponent pulled out of matches after getting hurt in falls, the slips kept coming Wednesday.

The No. 1-seeded Djokovic was no worse for wear after losing his footing at least five times while beating Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in a rematch of their 2018 final at the Grand Slam tournament, but he was merely one example of someone who couldn't stay upright.

Bianca Andreescu, Nick Kyrgios, John Isner and a ball kid were among the folks taking tumbles on Day 3.

"I didn't slip just once; I slipped, like, six times during the match. The courts are pretty wet," said Andreescu. "I mean, the courts are super slippery. I have only played here once before, but they weren't like this at all."

Early exit for Andreescu

Andreescu, the women's fifth seed from Mississauga, Ont., was defeated 6-2, 6-1 Wednesday in her first round match against France's Alize Cornet.

The Canadian struggled with her service game, winning 57 per cent of first-serve points and just 24 per cent of second-serve points.

Andreescu also made 34 unforced errors to Cornet's seven.

WATCH | Andreescu crashes out of Wimbledon:

Bianca Andreescu falls in Wimbledon 1st round

4 months ago
6:32
For the second time in two weeks, France's Alize Cornet upset Bianca Andreescu, this time 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of Wimbledon. 6:32

It was Cornet's second win over Andreescu this month. She also beat the Canadian 7-6 (2), 7-5 in the second round of a WTA 500 event in Berlin.

"I obviously kind of stayed at the level I started the match, but she raised it," Andreescu said. "I don't know. I felt like I obviously could have raised my level a bit more, but during the match I felt like I couldn't.

"I tried to stay positive the whole match. But honestly, she played really well. She was taking control from the start. She served better today than in our last match too."

Same standard in place for preparation of grass courts

Williams' latest bid for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title ended with her "heartbroken" and in tears after just 30 minutes and less than a set Tuesday. She injured her right leg when her left shoe lost traction behind the baseline in almost the exact same spot that Adrian Mannarino twisted his right knee while leading Federer.

Both of those matches were on Centre Court. But Isner's trouble came on Court 18 during his five-set loss Wednesday, and Kyrgios came down awkwardly on No. 1 Court.

WATCH | Top stars tumble on grass court:

Top stars continued to tumble on Wimbledon's slippery grass courts on Wednesday

4 months ago
4:01
While no one was seriously injured, tennis' top stars continued to slip and fall on Wimbledon's slick grass courts on Wednesday. 4:01

In what sounded like an attempt to dispel the notion that anything might be different about the grass two years since the tournament was last held, the All England Club issued a statement Tuesday night that said, in part: "The preparation of the grass courts has been to exactly the same meticulous standard as in previous years."

Wimbledon's courts are removed annually and new grass is installed. So the fact that the 2020 edition was called off because of the pandemic shouldn't affect things.

"Even though we didn't have The Championships, our renovation program was the same," Neil Stubley, the club's head of courts and horticulture, said before competition began Monday. "So we literally just ripped the courts up and sort of re-levelled, re-seeded and then just grew them back in for this year."

Djokovic offered another possible explanation: Players are out of practice on grass. Not only was last season's circuit on the surface wiped out, but there were only two weeks, instead of the standard three, between the end of the clay-court French Open and start of Wimbledon.

His first-round match Monday, and the matches involving Williams and Mannarino on Tuesday, were played with the main stadium's retractable roof shut because of rain. And that — rather any sort of change to the grass itself at the oldest Grand Slam tournament — is what the All England Club blamed for how slick the surface was during what it said were the wettest two opening days of Wimbledon "in almost a decade."

Keeping the roof closed for a long period leads to "additional moisture" on the grass, the club said.

"It feels a tad more slippery, maybe, under the roof. I don't know if it's just a gut feeling. You do have to move very, very carefully out there. If you push too hard in the wrong moments, you do go down," Federer said. "I do feel it's drier during the day. With the wind and all that stuff, it takes the [moisture] out of the grass. But this is obviously terrible."

On Wednesday, though, there was no rain, so Djokovic's match was played in an uncovered arena.

The outset of the two-week tournament is "a time when the grass plant is at its most lush and green, which does result in additional moisture on what is a natural surface," the club said in its statement, adding: "With each match that is played, the courts will continue to firm up."

He's rather familiar with the place, having first entered Wimbledon in 1999 and winning it eight times.

"I feel, for a lot of players, it's super key to get through those first two rounds, because the grass is more slippery. It is more soft," he said, noting that later in the fortnight "usually it gets harder and easier to move on."

As far as Djokovic was concerned, what mattered more than his false steps was the final score.

"Hopefully, as the tournament progresses, I'll also fall less," he said, "even though I don't mind falling more if the result is winning a match."

More Canadian results

No. 10 Denis Shapovalov, of Richmond, Hill, Ont., moved into the third round when Pablo Andujar withdrew because of a rib injury.

16th-seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win over Brazil's Thiago Monteiro. Auger-Aliassime will face Sweden's Mikael Ymer in the second round.

Auger-Aliassime did not face break point had 13 chances to break Monteiro, converting four.

"I did save some break points, so that's always good when you're in this situation," Auger-Aliassime said. "I was giving myself a lot of chances on my returns. Now I can be happy with my performance, and I'm going to try to repeat that tomorrow."

Auger-Aliassime will face Sweden's Mikael Ymer in the second round.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime wins in straight sets to advance into 2nd round at Wimbledon:

Felix Auger-Aliassime cruises into 2nd round of Wimbledon

4 months ago
5:03
No. 16 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal defeated Thiago Monteiro of Brazil 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the second round of Wimbledon. 5:03

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., lost her first-round women's match 6-1, 6-2 to Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko.

WATCH | Leylah Annie Fernandez falls to Latvia's Ostapenko in 1st round of Wimbledon:

Leylah Annie Fernandez ousted by Jelena Ostapenko in Wimbledon 1st round

4 months ago
3:06
2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia made quick work of Leylah Annie Fernadez of Laval, Que., with a 6-1, 6-2 first round win at Wimbledon. 3:06

Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver fell 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to Frances Tiafoe of the United States in a second-round men's match.

WATCH | Canadian Vasek Pospisil ousted by Frances Tifoe in 2nd round of Wimbledon:

Frances Tiafoe knocks out Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil in 2nd round at Wimbledon

4 months ago
2:59
After eliminating No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round, American Frances Tiafoe defeated Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round at Wimbledon. 2:59

Other results

Sofia Kenin, the Australian Open champion and French Open runner-up in 2020, and 41-year-old Venus Williams, who won five of her seven major championships at Wimbledon, lost in the second round. Kenin's departure means 7 of the 11 highest-ranked women already are missing from the bracket, including defending champion Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka — who both withdrew before the tournament — and Serena Williams, who injured her right leg when she slipped during her match Tuesday and couldn't continue.

Nick Kyrgios was back on the scene at Wimbledon, offering his inimitable brand of showmanship and shot-making, with tennis by turns exhilarating and exasperating.

Even if he hadn't played on tour at all since February, even if he came in with a grand total of 15 matches of competition over the past 18 months, Kyrgios showed he still can deliver the goods when he puts his mind to it.

Just a handful of days after finishing the lengthy trek from the comforts of home in Canberra, Australia, to the grass courts of the All England Club — leaving the carefully calibrated practice and prep to others — Kyrgios made quite a return, edging No. 21 seed Ugo Humbert 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 9-7 on Wednesday in a match suspended at 3-all in the last set a night earlier because of an 11 p.m. local curfew.

"Not bad for a part-time player," a smiling Kyrgios told the crowd at No. 1 Court, letting them know his plans for the rest of the day included playing video games with his girlfriend at the tournament's "bubble" hotel.

His was one of more than two dozen first-round contests that wound up finishing on Day 3 after rain Monday and Tuesday scrambled the schedule and contributed to the slickness of the courts that left some players sliding and stumbling.

Yoshihito Nishioka overcame a 15-inch height disparity to beat 6-foot-10 John Isner 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-4. The match took place on Court 18, where Isner won a record fifth set 70-68 in 2010.

Also advancing was Queen's Club tournament champion Matteo Berrettini, who hit 20 aces and pulled away from Guido Pella 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0. American Sam Querrey upset No. 11 Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (6), 6-4, 7-5.

Former U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori ousted Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 for his 100th Grand Slam match win. 

In other women's play, French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Ana Bogdan 6-2, 6-2.

With files from The Canadian Press

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