British No. 1 Johanna Konta on Monday took revenge on Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei at Wimbledon, sending the Taiwanese home 6-2, 6-2 after losing to her in the first round of the French Open.
The sixth seed beat two Grand Slam champions in a day on the grass at last week’s rain-interrupted Eastbourne International, arriving in brimming with form, but had been an injury scare after a heavy fall forced her to withdraw from her semi-final.
However, she appeared to be moving well in front of a cheering Court One crowd and told reporters she felt “absolutely fine.”
“I was really just trying to stay as focused on what I was trying to do out there, and not necessarily get caught up in her web,” the 26-year-old said of Hsieh, who had beaten her in three sets on the Paris clay.
With the women’s field wide open in the absence of pregnant titleholder and 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams, Konta is among the women being tipped for a run at the title — 40 years after Briton Virginia Wade lifted the trophy in 1977.
If Konta were to achieve that, it would propel her to celebrity status in Britain, joining world No. 1 and Wimbledon defending champion Andy Murray.
“I definitely would like to be involved here for the full fortnight to help, I guess, put tennis on the map that much more, but I think Andy’s done a pretty tremendous job of doing that,” she said.
Fellow Eastbourne semi-finalist Heather Watson, last year’s Wimbledon mixed doubles champion with Henri Kontinen, also reached the second round, beating Belgium’s Maryna Zanevska 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) to the delight of the fans chanting her name on Court Two.
“I love being here. I think it’s obvious. I always want to do well. If there’s one tournament that I could pick to win, it would be this one,” said wild card Watson, the British No. 2 and world 102. “It’s the most famous tournament in the world. It’s amazing to be a part of. I always want to just do well here.”
Watson plays Latvian 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova in round two. Konta is to take on Croatia’s Donna Vekic, who beat her in the Eastbourne final last month.
In men’s singles, Japan’s Kei Nishikori believes he can win Wimbledon this year after breezing through his first-round clash with Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 6-2, 6-2, 6-0.
The ninth seed did not disappoint the legion of Japanese fans who gave him a hero’s welcome as he walked onto Court 12, demolishing an opponent who was playing his first senior-level match on grass.
Nishikori said afterward that he was confident he could eclipse his best performance at Wimbledon — the last 16 in 2014 and last year — and that he aimed to “win the whole thing.”
“That’s my goal,” he said. “I hope I can make it.”
Japan’s highest-ever ranked player did not show any sign of the injuries that have forced him out of the past five grass-court tournaments he has contested since 2015, including at the Gerry Weber Open in Germany last month.
The 27-year-old said he could not pin down the reason for his run of injuries on grass — variously affecting his calf, hip and ribs — but added that he struggled with the summer switch from clay courts.
“Now I’m feeling very good, feeling 100 percent again,” he said. “I hope I can stay healthy these two weeks.”
Nishikori outclassed Cecchinato from the first point, powering a backhand winner down the line.
Cecchinato, ranked 102nd, could not handle Nishikori’s thundering drives off both wings, with the 24-year-old Italian’s one-handed backhand proving particularly fragile.
Nishikori showed off his full repertoire of shots in a faultless third set, which he peppered with delicate drop shots and ended with an emphatic volley.
His toughest challenge of the day was making his way off the court, as he was mobbed by dozens of fans seeking autographs.
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TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to
Taiwan’s Jason Jung was knocked out of the first round of the French Open in straight sets on Sunday, while Andy Murray said it was going to be “difficult” for the former world No. 1 to reach his level of old after he also fell to a lopsided defeat by fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. Jung fell to a 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Argentina’s Federico Coria in 3 hours, 19 minutes at Roland Garros, despite hitting 55 winners. Jung served for both the first and second sets, then failed to convert two set points at 5-4 in