It was Sharapova’s first-ever defeat in the opening round of Wimbledon.
“Sometimes”, Sharapova said, “you put yourself in a better, or winning, position, and you don’t finish”. At one stage from the middle of the first set to early in the second, the 17-time grand slam champion amassed 21 straight points.
Sharapova then served for the match at 5-3, but faltered.
Both players broke each other twice in the deciding set, with Sharapova serving for the match. That edge disappeared right away. American Jack Sock, seeded 18th, was up by two sets but still lost 6-7 (5) 6-7 (3) 6-4 7-5 6-2 to Matteo Berrettini.
She will be back on court tomorrow to illustrate her new-found confidence against Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck. The double faults from Diatchenko were the big difference to her losing out on getting a foot against the former champion.
How unlikely was this result?
Her best results have been a quarterfinal appearance at the French Open last month, aided by Williams withdrawing from their scheduled fourth-round match with a pectoral injury, and a surprising upset of Halep at last year’s US Open, Sharapova’s first appearance at a Slam in almost two years.
This year was Sharapova’s first appearance at Wimbledon since 2015 having been sidelined by a doping ban in 2016 and injury last year. “She was there to win it and she did”, Sharapova said.
That continued the kind of topsy-turvy tournament it’s been so far, of a piece with the sunnier-than-normal weather.
Goffin, the 10th seed, slumped to a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 loss to Australia’s Matthew Ebden. As recently as late 2017, Bencic was playing WTA 125K series and winning ITF tournaments.
Across on Centre Court, Naomi Broady, 138 in the world, had the experience of her career, her first time on Centre Court-because she was drawn against one of the favourites for the title, the defending champion, Garbine Muguruza.
Wimbledon.com day 2 highlights.
The Czech had been on course for an enticing quarter-final meeting with Halep, but the Romanian will march on towards a seemingly more favourable clash after beating Kurumi Nara 6-2 6-4. “Some players can play (their) best tennis”. Probably in Wimbledon it’s a little bit more than the other Grand Slams because obviously I know I can play well, which probably is bad. The numbers will tell you that it was a sloppy match all round – Sharapova would have clearly felt like Spain who crashed out of the World Cup against Russian Federation a few days ago – with Sharapova double faulting at match point.
After the match, Kvitova said: “The nerves were there again”.
“I won a boatload of matches in that first half of the season”. “I think it’s all of the seeded players”.
The knife attack had Kvitova’s home left severe lacerations to all four fingers on her playing hand.
Walking on to the SW19 practice courts on Monday, the message was clear: the Sharapova show was back in town.
However, Konta is certainly sounding more optimistic than she did after a fuming exit at Roland Garros just a few weeks ago. Especially against such an inexperienced opponent. Only here, a compatriot got the better of her.
But the primary focus for Konta is the here and now, and more specifically extending her current run on the grass courts of this year’s Wimbledon. I think it’s going to be a challenge and I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s always tough to assess your motivation levels after a first-round loss but I won’t shy away from learning from my errors”, said 31-year-old Sharapova.