Fifteen-year-old American qualifier Cori Gauff produced one of the biggest shocks ever on the first day of Wimbledon defeating five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in straight sets in the first round on Court 1.
World #313 Gauff beat Williams 24 years her senior at 39 – 6-4 6-4.
Defeated compatriot Venus Williams had won four Grand Slam titles – including two at Wimbledon before before Gauff was even born.
Coming into the match Gauff had already told the world that the Williams sisters were her idols.
The emotional teenager burst into tears after match point and said later “It’s the first time I have ever cried after winning a match. I don’t know how to explain how I feel.
“I definitely had to tell myself to stay calm, I had to remind myself that the lines are the same lines, the courts are the same size and after every point I told myself ‘stay calm’.”
Earlier on Centre the magic generated during back-to-back Grand Slam title runs evaporated for Naomi Osaka, with the former No. 1 bounced out of Wimbledon on Monday in straight sets.
Recent history repeated itself for the US and Australian Open winner as she lost 7-6(4), 6-2 to Kazakh Yulia Putintseva, the same opponent who beat her on grass just days ago in Birmingham.
Osaka, who lost in the Roland Garros third round, was unable to get untracked on Wimbledon’s opening day grass.
“Can I leave? I feel like I’m about to cry,” the distraught seed said after shot answers to 10 post-match questions about what went wrong.
“I just don’t think I played that well. But I wasn’t surprised because I’ve played her, like, twice already.”
Putintseva had adjustment worries of her own, having never even stepped onto the main showcourt previously.
“It’s amazing,” the winner said. “I’ve never played on Centre and not even really seen it.
“The shape was surprising, it’s more round instead of square like the others.”
Second seed Osaka lost her serve to trail a set and 5-2, with her 39th-ranked opponent handing the Japanese player only her second career loss this early at a major.
Osaka saved a match points as Putintseva served for the upset, but ploughed a weak backhand return into the net to go down to defeat after 96 minutes.
“I did a good job out there today,” Putintseva said. “I was fighting great, I’m very happy now”
“Every match is a battle, you never know what can happen. I was just hoping to do my best – that’s all I can do.
“I’m feeling better and better on grass, I’m feeling more confident on it now.”
Third-seeded Karolina Pliskova, weekend grass winner at Eastbourne, eliminated Zhu Lin of China 6-2, 7-6(4).
Former No. 1 Simona Halep advanced past Aliksandra Sasnovich of Belarus, winning 6-4, 7-5. She will play Mihaela Buzanescu of Romania.
Swiss Victoria Golubic needed six match points to clinch 6-2, 7-6(3) success over Poland’s Iga Swiatek.
Brit Heather Watson won her first Tour-level match since last September, ending a seven-match losing streak; Olympic champion Monica Puig also advanced in her opener.
MENS Day 1 highlights
Four-time champion Novak Djokovic kicked off his Wimbledon title defence in commanding style on Monday, reaching the second round 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 over German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
But there were a pair of upsets which marred the start, with sixth seed Alexander Zverev and No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas both eliminated.
Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely, ranked 108th, stunned sixth seed Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in two and a half hours for the biggest men’s upset of the day.
Tsitsipas lost in five sets to Italy’s Thomas Fabbiani 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-3,
Top seed Djokovic, who has taken on former champion Goran Ivanisevic as a coaching consultant for the event, recovered from immediate breaks in the first two sets, breaking his experienced Kohlschreiber straight back.
After having lost to Kohli in the Indian Wells four months ago, Djokovic was in no mood to risk anything as he powered past the No. 57 for his 11th win from 13 matches played in the series.
“It felt great to be back out on Centre Court,” the 32-year-old said. “This is a sacred court, the cradle of our sport.
“As a youngster I wanted the most to play and win at Wimbledon. I’ve been blessed to be very successful on this court.”
Djokovic said he was wary of Kohlschreiber after his loss to the German in California on hardcourt.
“Opening rounds are tricky, especially if you get a tough opponent like Kohlschreiber.
“He’s capable of playing quality tennis, especially on grass. This was a good test for me.
“I won in straight sets, but all three sets were quite close.”
Zverev’s loss was his earliest at Wimbledon for the German who blamed his own lack of confidence and personal events over the weekend for at least some of his poor form.
“I didn’t lose this match on tennis. It’s just, yeah, my confidence is below zero right now,” he said.
“Life is also one thing. Everything that happens outside the court affects you.
“In the last two days, I would say are very rough for me personally. I’m not going to get into details, but I’m just saying. I have to fix that to play well on the court.”
Zverev slipped on the grass trailing 5-6 in the fourth set, with Vesely putting the win away a point later.
“It was a fantastic match from gt match to end, ” the winners said. ‘I didn’t serve well in the first set, but then I was able to put him under pressure.
“It worked really well today.”
The 2018 runner-up to Djokovic, Kevin Anderson, got off to a flying start as he plays in his 40th carer Grand Slam, shoving aside Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
Anderson, troubled for months by injury, has competed in only three other tournaments this season.
The victory in one and three-quarter hours puts the South African into a match with Serb Janko Tipsarevic, who had to work for nearly fours hours, overcoming Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
Herbert is now free to concentrate on high-profile doubles duties as he partners Andy Murray in the men’s draw, with the two-time singles champion Scot coming back from his January hip resurfing playing only doubles at this edition.
Anderson set up match point with his 16th aces and concluded with his 19th Wimbledon win.
Stan Wawrinka is thinking more positively than ever on the grass after his opening defeat of Ruben Bemelmans, overwhelming the Belgian qualifier 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
The Swiss owns titles at each of the other three Grand Slams but has never excelled here.
But that may be changing: “I had some tough years here. losing first or second round,” he said.
“But I also made two quarter-finals. I do believe that this year I’m playing well, my best ever on a grass court.
“Every match is difficult. I can go out the next round. But I believe if I enter the court, I can beat anybody,” he said after moving into the second round to face treetop-tall American Riley Opelka, who defeated German Cedric-Marcel Stebe 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-1.
Wawrinka won with seven aces and five breaks of serve; he and Bemelmans both struck 21 unforced errors.
But while Wawrinka swung freely with 26 winners, his No. 171 opponent managed a miserly four.
“I did a great preparation. I’m happy the way I’ve been practising so far here,” the winner said.
“I’m really happy the way I’ve been feeling physically. Today was a great match.
Three sets – it’s good to start like that.”
Felix Auger-Aliassime beat fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who is playing his first match in eight months after a back operation, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.
Milos Raonic managed another Canadian win, beating Prajnesh Gunneswaran 7-6(1), 6-4, 6-2.