- Muguruza beaten 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 by unseeded Belgian
• Britain’s Katie Boulter loses 6-3, 6-4 to Naomi Osaka
Simon Cambersat Wimbledon
The defending women’s champion Garbiñe Muguruza lost in the second round at Wimbledon, after being beaten 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 by the unseeded Belgian Alison van Uytvanck.
Van Uytvanck, ranked 47 in the world, played the match of her life in the All England Club twilight. Muguruza, champion in 2017, was strangely out of sorts but could not cope with Van Uytvanck’s tremendous hitting. The Spaniard becomes the sixth top-10 seed to lose in the opening two rounds of this year’s tournament.
There is nothing like the confidence that comes with being a grand slam champion. The world No 1 Simona Haleplooked in trouble when she trailed Zheng Saisai of China 5-3 in the first set yesterday but found a few extra gears when she needed them, reeling off 10 straight games to claim a 7-5, 6-0 win and a place in the third round. A semi-finalist in 2014 and a quarter-finalist last year, Halep is playing with the freedom earned by getting that first slam title under her belt at Roland Garros last month. A little rusty coming in, having not played a warm-up event, the Romanian knows she will need to play better but is not lacking in belief.
“It would be a huge thing to win Wimbledon,” said Halep, who plays the tricky Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan next. “But in this moment, I’m really far [away] to do that. You need a better game to win on grass. You have to be more aggressive, to go to the net more. I’m trying just to adjust myself on this surface as much as possible. I have the courage to say maybe I have a chance to win this title but I don’t want to focus on that. I just want to focus match by match. If I will be in the end of the tournament, that is going to be a big challenge.”
Two of the giantkillers from the first round, Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus and Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia, avoided a letdown.
Sasnovich, who ousted the two-time champion Petra Kvitova, beat American Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-0, while Diatchenko, who upset Maria Sharapova, followed up with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over another American, Sofia Kenin.
Belinda Bencic continued her comeback from injury, the Swiss recovering to beat Alison Riskeof the US 1-6, 7-6 (10), 6-2, saving four match points in the second-set tie-break.
Katie Boulter has come a long way in 2018, and a long way even in the past month. Her Wimbledon adventure came to an end on Thursday when she was beaten 6-3, 6-4 by No 18 seed Naomi Osaka in the second round, but on the evidence of this week, she should be a fixture in grand slam events in the future after giving one of the rising stars of the women’s game a real fight.
“I actually felt really comfortable out there,” said the 21-year-old Boulter, who received a wildcard into the main draw. “She hits the ball harder than me, she hits it more consistently [so] it’s something I need to get used to”
The 20-year-0ld Osaka, meanwhile, is into the third round of a slam for the eighth time.