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Jul 1, 2024 6:23 pm

Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz open Wimbledon with wins

carlos alcaraz

Jannik Sinner of Italy, Carlos Alcaraz of Spain and other top seeds kicked off Wimbledon with first-round victories on Monday in London.

World No. 1 Sinner handled Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, and defending champion Alcaraz swept past Estonian qualifier Mark Lajal 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-2.

Sinner, seeking his second career Grand Slam title after winning the Australian Open in January, hit 16 aces and saved 9 of 11 break points against Hanfmann. He slipped behind 4-0 in the third set but made his opponent work for the set before overtaking him in the fourth.

“When you go a break down immediately it’s tough to recover, but how I reacted in the fourth set was very positive and ending the match in a very positive way hopefully can help me to start the next round,” Sinner said.

“It’s a huge privilege and honor to be in the position that I am and there is no better place than here to play my first Grand Slam as a World No. 1. It’s an amazing feeling, but every match starts at zero-zero and every opponent wants to win, as I do.”

Sinner’s second-round foe will be fellow Italian Matteo Berrettini, the 2021 Wimbledon finalist on the comeback trail from multiple injuries. Berrettini defeated Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (3), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

Playing at Centre Court, Alcaraz wasn’t on his A game when serving — he hit just four aces to four double faults — but he won the final four points of the first-set tiebreaker against Lajal to propel him into the rest of the match.

“Stepping onto this court at Wimbledon is the most beautiful court that I have played on. I am still nervous when I play here,” said Alcaraz, who defeated Novak Djokovic of Serbia in five sets in last year’s final.

No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia opened his tournament with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Aleksandar Kovacevic. Medvedev hit 16 aces to his opponent’s nine and saved all three break points he faced.

“I’m really happy with my level and I’ve still never lost on Court 1, so hopefully I can play a lot more matches on this court,” Medvedev said.

No. 8 seed Casper Ruud of Norway beat Australian qualifier Alex Bolt and No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria defeated Dusan Lajovic of Serbia, both in straight sets. No. 12 Tommy Paul, the highest-seeded American in the tournament, beat Spaniard Pedro Martinez 6-2, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

No. 16 seed Ugo Humbert of France needed five sets to outlast Alexander Shevchenko of Kazakhstan. The same went for No. 23 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan against Czech opponent Jakub Mensik, and No. 29 Frances Tiafoe, who had to storm back for a 6-7 (5), 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 win over Italian Matteo Arnaldi.

The first collection of upsets of the gentlemen’s draw included Brandon Nakashima defeating No. 18 Sebastian Baez of Argentina 6-2, 6-3, 6-4; Canadian Denis Shapovalov topping No. 19 Nicolas Jarry of Chile 6-1, 7-5, 6-4; and Gael Monfils ousting French countryman and No. 22 seed Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego also upset No. 31 Mariano Navone of Argentina in straight sets.

The longest match of the day saw Frenchman Arthur Cazaux take down Belgium’s Zizou Bergs 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (8) in four hours, 34 minutes. Cazaux took a 7-0 lead in the fifth-set tiebreaker, then let Bergs pull within 8-7 before Cazaux finally was the first to reach 10.

Other first-day winners included Dutch No. 27 seed Tallon Griekspoor, No. 32 seed Zhizhen Zhang of China and Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka.

–Field Level Media

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