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    Wimbledon finally completes first round 2 days later than planned
    • July 7, 2023

    By HOWARD FENDRICH AP Tennis Writer

    WIMBLEDON, England — Let the record reflect that the rain-logged first round of Wimbledon 2023 finally concluded at 3:23 p.m. local time on Thursday, Day 4 of the tournament, 48 hours later than originally planned, when Alexander Zverev finished off his 6-4, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) victory over Dutch qualifier Gijs Brouwer.

    Zverev was supposed to start and, naturally, finish, on Tuesday. Instead, he didn’t take the court to play his first point of the fortnight until about 17½ hours after Novak Djokovic already had made his way into the third round.

    “Took me three days,” Zverev joked, “but I’m here.”

    For once this week, the sun was out at the All England Club, and the showers were nowhere to be found.

    Instead, there was plenty of play, plenty of results – 56 in all – and plenty of drama, perhaps none more than in one much-hyped showdown that did not conclude: Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray vs. two-time major finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas was suspended at 10:40 p.m. and will resume Friday.

    Played with the roof closed at a loud Centre Court filled with “Let’s go, Andy! Let’s go!” chants from fans, that one was stopped just after Murray took a two-sets-to-one lead. Tsitsipas took the opening set 7-6 (3), but Murray took the next two 7-6 (2), 6-4. Murray, 36 and with an artificial hip, slipped and fell behind a baseline but arose and finished that third set just before play was halted.

    There were tears for Alizé Cornet, who slipped to the turf and hurt her leg at 5-all in the second set of what would become a 6-2, 7-6 (2) loss to defending champion Elena Rybakina.

    There were tears for Donna Vekic, too, and she won. She came back from a set and 5-2 down in the second to eliminate 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.

    “I was losing,” Vekic said later. “Not that I was just losing – I felt like I was getting killed.”

    There was realism for Stan Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam champion who is now 38, coming off years of injuries and operations, and, while he was pleased to defeat Tomás Martín Etcheverry, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, knows what comes next: a matchup against Djokovic, who has won seven of his men’s record 23 major championships at this event.

    “There’s zero opportunity to win Wimbledon for me, I think,” Wawrinka acknowledged.

    “It’s an honor to play Novak here. … Hopefully I can make a competitive match,” he continued, “but if you will look at recent results, I don’t really stand a chance.”

    There was new ground for a group of men who won to reach the third round at the All England Club for the first time: No. 14 seed Lorenzo Musetti, qualifier Maximillian Marterer, Mikael Ymer, Quentin Halys and Roman Safiullin.

    Ymer came back from a two-set deficit to knock off ninth-seeded American Taylor Fritz, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

    Two American men stuck around for the next round by winning: No. 10 Frances Tiafoe, a semifinalist at the U.S. Open last September, and No. 16 Tommy Paul, a semifinalist at the Australian Open in January.

    They were joined in the third round by two American women, No. 4 Jessica Pegula and 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin.

    There was familiar disappointment at the grass-court major tournament for Casper Ruud, who was the runner-up at three of the past five majors but lost to British wild-card Liam Broady on Centre Court, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0. Ruud has never been past the second round in four appearances at Wimbledon.

    “I’m going to keep trying. I have a goal, of course, in my career to try to do well here at some point,” said Ruud, who was seeded fourth. “It didn’t happen this year. I’ll come back. I honestly love coming here. It’s such a special place.”

    There was the end of the line for Anett Kontaveit. She was the last player to lose to Serena Williams – at the U.S. Open last year while ranked No. 2 – and said before Wimbledon she would be retiring because of a chronic bad back.

    And there was the latest sign of promise from Mirra Andreeva, a 16-year-old qualifier from Russia.

    Andreeva made her way into the third round at the second consecutive major when 2021 French Open singles and doubles champion Barbora Krejcikova quit because she was hurt while trailing, 6-3, 4-0.

    “For sure, it’s not the way I wanted to win the match,” Andreeva said. “But still, I advance to the next round, so I’m happy with that.”


    Sofia Kenin reached the third round for the first time on Thursday. Or as the 2020 Australian Open champion put it: “Just trying to prove some people wrong.”

    Kenin beat Wang Xinyu of China, 6-4, 6-3, to back up her victory over seventh-seeded Coco Gauff that ended a streak of three straight first-round exits at Grand Slam tournaments.

    The 24-year-old American came into Wimbledon ranked 128th and had to go through qualifying to reach the main draw – and she’s fine with that.

    “If I know every time I’m going to get to the third round at a Slam, I’ll play qualies,” said Kenin, who was ranked No. 4 after her title at Melbourne Park. “Yeah, definitely I feel like that for sure helped me. Grass wasn’t always my favorite surface, and I felt like I had some really good solid wins in qualies even though they were against tough opponents.

    “Looks obviously easy, but it was tough and I feel like those matches definitely gave me confidence.”

    Kenin’s win on Court 4 wasn’t a work of art – she hit 11 winners to 17 unforced errors – but she jumped on Wang’s second serve and broke her four times.

    The Russian-born Kenin next faces Elina Svitolina, a Ukrainian who is making a comeback of her own. Svitolina is back on tour after the birth of her first child in October. She beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the first round.

    Kenin, who has dealt with foot and ankle injuries, said she’ll prepare for “a long, tough match” because Svitolina “gets a lot of balls back, from what I remember.”

    Svitolina followed up her win over Williams by eliminating 28th-seeded Elise Mertens, 6-1, 1-6, 6-1.

    The Ukrainian, who is ranked 76th, remembers Kenin as an aggressive baseliner.

    “She loves to strike the ball, dictate on the baseline. I’ll have to react quick. I’ll have to move my legs really, really well and expect a quick ball,” Svitolina said.

    Regarding proving people wrong, Kenin didn’t point to anyone specific.

    “It’s just like I didn’t have maybe the best results, but I felt like this year, you know, I started off pretty good overall and I just had to find my way,” she said. “I have been fighting it. Yeah, just hope that I can keep it going.”


    Tiafoe is still waiting on his sneakers from Travis Scott.

    The American tennis player, who advanced to the third round at Wimbledon on Thursday, playfully nudged the rapper to send him a pair of his new Nike sneakers.

    “His manager keeps saying, ‘Yeah, it’s coming, yeah, it’s coming,’” the 25-year-old Tiafoe said, noting that Scott is performing on Saturday in London. “Yeah, no, this is all good fun. It’s just funny. Yeah, I’m excited. That’s definitely my guy. It’s cool that he’s out here.”

    The 10th-seeded Tiafoe had noticed top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz wearing a pair at practice during the Queen’s Club Championships, a Wimbledon warmup event.

    The Maryland native beat Dominic Stricker, 7-6 (11), 6-4, 6-2, and next faces 21st-seeded Grigor Dimitrov.

    AP sports writer Ken Maguire contributed to this story.

    ​ Orange County Register