Wimbledon: With Bear Grylls watching from the Royal Box, at times on Centre Court it felt as if the celebrity adventurer might have to stifle the urge to abseil down to the greensward to offer Ashleigh Barty a few guidelines on how to survive when your basic tools aren’t working.
At the Centre Court here on Thursday, the No.1 seed was uncharacteristically nervy in her second round joust with Anna Blinkova, presenting gift-wrapped free points time and again. Amid 33 unforced errors, Barty’s trusty serve imploded to the tune of nine double faults, and more than once she delivered successive misfires to hand over a break.
Whether the problem was the left hip injury sustained at Roland-Garros last month was not clear. This was only her second match since then, at a Grand Slam where she has yet to go beyond the fourth round. But she plainly endured rather than enjoyed the 90 minutes required for her 6-4, 6-3 victory over the world No.89.
Coco Gauff put on an impressive display on Centre Court as she beat the experienced Elena Vesnina - who is exactly twice her age - in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, at the All England, Wimbledon here on Thursday.
The No.20 seed was made to work in the first set, but whereas Vesnina was unable to capitalise on two break points in the sixth game, Gauff needed just one to break the Russian's serve put her en route to taking it 6-4.
The 34-year-old Vesnina served first at the start of the second and immediately buckled under the pressure.
Magda Linette had a rough start to 2021, needing to have knee surgery that forced her out of the Australian Open. But, at the Wimbledon it was not to be as she sent the No. 3-seeded Elina Svitolina crushing out of the Championship with a 6-3, 6-4 verdict.
She lost five of her first six matches upon return and probably never would have guessed that a few months later she would be storming into the third round of Wimbledon with a straight-sets victory over No.3 seed and 2019 semi-finalist Elina Svitolina.
In all eight of the top 11 players in the WTA rankings are out of the tournament due to defeat, withdrawal or injury.
French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova extended her winning streak to 14 matches by beating Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 6-4.
In men's play, fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev hit 13 aces, lost only 12 points on his serve and advanced to the third round by beating Tennys Sandgren 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.
American Shelby Rogers matched her best Wimbledon result by reaching the third round when she beat No. 15 Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-4.
No. 16 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova swept past Kristyna Pliskova 6-3, 6-3. No. 19 Karolina Muchova and No. 30 Paula Badosa also advanced.