Djokovic off the mark; Halep battles through

GUTSY: Romania's Simona Halep serves during her win over Belarus's Aliaksandra Sasnovich. AFP

Defending champion Novak Djokovic got his campaign for a fifth Wimbledon title off to a winning start on Monday with newly-hired coaching team recruit, and 2001 winner, Goran Ivanisevic helping steer the ship.

Djokovic, chasing a fifth title at the All England Club, saw off 35-year-old Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.

But he had to recover from early breaks in both of the first two sets against a player who beat him at Indian Wells this year, as well as a nasty fall on the Centre Court grass.

Djokovic, chasing a 16th career major, will face Denis Kudla of the United States for a place in the last 32.

Fourth seed Kevin Anderson, runner-up to Djokovic in 2018, eased into the second round beating Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Anderson will now play Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic who registered his first win at the tournament in seven years when he defeated Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

In the women's event, third seed Karolina Pliskova made it through, beating China's Zhu Lin 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).

Czech former world number one Pliskova, fresh from winning the Eastbourne title, has never got past the fourth round at Wimbledon.

She will next face Olympic champion Monica Puig.

Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova, a semifinalist in 2017, caused the first big upset of the tournament when she put out 10th seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-2, 6-4 in just 70 minutes.

It was Sabalenka's second successive loss in the first round

Former French Open champion Simona Halep overcame an injury scare to make the second round with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Halep, seeded seven and a semifinalist in 2014, needed to have her left ankle strapped after a worrying fall on Court One.

She then slipped at 2-5 down in the second set before recovering to beat her Belarus opponent who knocked out two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at the same stage in 2018.

Later Monday, Japanese second seed Naomi Osaka, the US and Australian Open winner, starts her campaign against Yulia Putintseva who has a 2-0 career hold over the Japanese.

One of those wins came on grass in Birmingham less than two weeks ago.

Osaka has yet to get past the third round at Wimbledon although her two previous visits saw defeats to 2018 champion Angelique Kerber and five-time champion Venus Williams.

Venus, now 39, first played at the All England Club in 1997.

Her opponent on Court One on Monday, 15-year-old compatriot Cori Gauff was still seven years away from being born.

AFP

Important Results (prefix denotes seedings): First round: Men: 1-Novak Djokovic (SRB) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-3, 7-5, 6-3; Denis Kudla (USA) bt Malek Jaziri (TUN) 6-4, 6-1, 6-3; 4-Kevin Anderson (RSA) bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2; Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) bt Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2; 22-Stan Wawrinka (SUI) bt Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; 10-Karen Khachanov (RUS) bt Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5; Feliciano Lopez (ESP) bt Marcos Giron (USA) 6-4, 6-2, 6-4; 22-Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) bt Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3

Women: 8-Elina Svitolina (UKR) bt Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 7-5, 6-0; Monica Puig (PUR) bt Anna Karolína Schmiedlová (SVK) 5-7, 6-4, 7-5; 3-Karolina Pliskova (CZE) bt Zhu Lin (CHN) 6-2, 7-6 (7/4); 7-Simona Halep (ROM) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-4, 7-5; 17-Madison Keys (USA) bt Luksika Kumkhum (THA) 6-3, 6-2;

 

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