Taiwanese players had mixed fortunes on the first day of Wimbledon yesterday, with Hsieh Su-wei progressing in the women’s singles, but a battling Jimmy Wang exited in the first round of the men’s competition, while Chang Kai-chen was thrashed by Andrea Hlavackova.
Hsieh defeated France’s Virginie Razzano 6-2, 6-4 in her first-round match, winning 64 percent of points on her first serve and 38 receiving points, compared with the Frenchwoman’s 54 percent and 22.
Hsieh faces either France’s Stephanie Foretz Gacon or Romanian No. 29 seed Monica Niculescu in the second round.
It was not such a good day for Chang, though, the Taiwanese serving seven double faults and notching up 31 unforced errors as she was beaten 6-1, 6-2 by Hlavackova of the Czech Republic.
In the men’s, Saudi Arabia-born Wang battled hard against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, the No. 17 seed, but he eventually succumbed as Verdasco won the match in straight sets, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-5.
Taiwanese No. 1 Lu Yen-hsun was due on court later yesterday against Ryan Harrison of the US.
In the women’s singles, US Open champion Samantha Stosur and former French Open winner Li Na reached the second round, but five-time champion Venus Williams suffered her worst Wimbledon defeat in 15 years, slumping to a first-round exit at the hands of Russia’s Elena Vesnina.
Williams lost 6-1, 6-3 to the 79th-ranked Russian in what was the 32-year-old’s first opening-round loss at the All England Club since her 1997 bow.
Defeat for the American star, unseeded for the first time since that debut year, will also cast further doubts over her future in the sport.
She arrived at Wimbledon desperately short of fitness and confidence with a world ranking down at No. 58 following a six-month absence from the tour suffering from Sjogern’s Syndrome, which causes joint pain and fatigue.
Yesterday’s defeat was just her fourth loss at the first round stage of a Grand Slam against 52 wins and it also followed a dispiriting second-round exit at the French Open.
Williams, the 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 Wimbledon champion, was beaten in the quarter-finals in 2010 and the fourth round last year, both times falling to Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria in straight sets.
Vesnina, who had lost in the first round of nine of her past 10 Grand Slam appearances, faces third seed Agnieszka Radwanska, a quarter-finalist in 2008 and 2009, after the Polish player’s 6-3, 6-3 win over Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova.
Stosur, the fifth-seeded Australian, had the honor of being the first woman into the last 64, cruising past Spain’s 40th-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-3.
The 28-year-old, who was a semi-finalist at the French Open earlier this month, has never got beyond the third round at the All England Lawn Tennis Club and had been beaten in the first round in 2010 and last year.
Her win earned her a second-round match with Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands.
Chinese 11th seed Li Na, the French Open winner last year, enjoyed an emphatic 6-3, 6-1 victory over Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan.
Li had beaten Pervak by the same score at the same stage of the Australian Open.
After a frustrating clay-court campaign, which included a disappointing fourth-round defeat at the French Open, Li looked at home on the grass, brushing aside the 21-year-old in little more than an hour.
Li, knocked out in the second round by big-serving German Sabine Lisicki 12 months ago, set up a second-round meeting with Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.
Lisicki, the 15th seed, also made the second round with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Croatia’s Petra Martic, who made the fourth round at Roland Garros this year.
Flavia Pennetta, the 16th seed, was knocked out by compatriot and qualifier Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-3.
In the men’s singles, Novak Djokovic began his Wimbledon title defense in cruise control as he blasted Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero off Centre Court to win 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.
The No. 1 seed endured an edgy start and was broken in the third game of the first set, but he struck back immediately and closed out the opener with his usual combination of rugged defense and consistently accurate ground-strokes.
The Serb, who had the honor of opening Centre Court action after beating Rafael Nadal in last year’s final, was in no mood for hanging around and he broke the Spaniard twice in the second set and twice more in the third.
Djokovic next plays either Harrison or Taiwan’s Lu.