Defending champion Elena Rybakina survived a Centre Court scare to reach the Wimbledon second round on Tuesday. Rybakina saw off experienced Shelby Rogers of the United States 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in front of the watching Roger Federer, the retired eight-time champion who was a special guest in the royal box. The 24-year-old Kazakh arrived in London under a cloud after struggling with a virus which saw her suffer an early loss in Berlin before pulling out of Eastbourne.
“I’m feeling much better although it wasn’t easy to get back to fitness,” said Rybakina. “I’m happy to get the win and it gives more confidence for the next round.”
Rogers, 31, had defeated Rybakina on grass at ‘s-Hertogenbosch last year and initially she was in charge again under the roof of Centre Court as the All England Club was deluged by torrential rain.
The champion double-faulted on the first point on her way to being broken. That was enough to give the 49th-ranked Rogers the foundation to claim the opening set.
Suddenly, Rybakina was looking at becoming the first defending champion to lose in the opening round since Steffi Graf was beaten by Lori McNeil in 1994. However, she steadied the ship, racing into a 5-0 lead in the second set before levelling the tie.
A double break in the decider then set her comfortably on her way to victory and a second round clash with either Alize Cornet of France or Japan’s Nao Hibino.
Alcaraz in ruthless mood
Carlos Alcaraz made a confident start to his bid for a first Wimbledon title as the world number one routed French veteran Jeremy Chardy on Tuesday. Alcaraz’s emphatic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 first round victory underlined his status as the main challenger to reigning champion Novak Djokovic.
The 20-year-old, who has five titles to his name already this season, is in fine form after winning his maiden grass-court trophy at Queen’s Club last month.
Although Alcaraz, who won the US Open last year, sits top of the world rankings, Djokovic is the man to beat as he chases an eighth Wimbledon title. The Spaniard is seeded to meet world number two Djokovic in a blockbuster final at the All England Club.
Alcaraz, who made the last 16 at Wimbledon in 2022, was just five when Chardy played his first match at the tournament in 2008. Chardy, a former Wimbledon junior champion, will retire from singles tournaments after this year’s event.
The 36-year-old was no match for Alcaraz, whose potent combination of power, speed and a deft drop-shot makes him a formidable force on all surfaces. Under the Court One roof, which was closed due to rain, Alcaraz refused to give London-based Chardy a farewell party in front of his friends and family.
As rain thundered down on the roof, Alcaraz unleased a barrage of booming forehands as he sped through the first set in just 22 minutes.
Chardy finally got on the scoreboard in the third game of the second set, but Alcaraz kept his foot on the gas to seal a resounding victory.
In the second round, Alcaraz faces the winner of the all-French clash between Alexandre Muller and Arthur Rinderknech.
Two-Time Champion Andy Murray Sweeps Into Second Round
Two-time champion Andy Murray eased past fellow Briton Ryan Peniston in straight sets to reach the Wimbledon second round on Tuesday.
Former world number one Murray, who won his first Wimbledon title in 2013 before adding a second three years later, came through 6-3, 6-0, 6-1.
Now ranked at 40, and playing with a metal hip, the 36-year-old had too much power and finesse for wildcard Peniston, the world number 268.
“It’s amazing to be back on Centre Court again,” said Murray.
“I started off quite nervously, I was a little bit tentative but once I got a break I played some good stuff. There were good signs.”
He added: “It’s a long time since I felt this good coming into an event as the last few years have been challenging.
“Hopefully I am fit and ready enough for a good run.”
Once Murray broke for a 4-2 lead in the first set under the roof of Centre Court at a rain-lashed All England Club, there was little doubt over the outcome.
He swept through the second set on the back of three breaks of serve and was 2-0 ahead in the third before Peniston stopped the bleeding.
It was too little, too late for Peniston as Murray broke again for 4-1 on his way to securing his 199th Grand Slam match win.
Murray faces a tougher test in the second round where he will play fifth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas or former US Open winner Dominic Thiem.