Naomi Osaka’s bid to win a third Grand Slam title came to a premature end on Monday when she lost to Kazakh Yulia Putintseva, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in the first round.
Cori Gauff, at 15 the youngest ever qualifier for the Wimbledon singles, pulled off a major shock on Monday beating five-time champion Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4 in their first round clash.
The teenage American – who was not even born when Williams had won her first two Wimbledon singles titles – showed not an ounce of fear on Court One and made light of the 24 years age difference.
The 21-year-old Japanese player said she had felt a weight lifted from her after losing her No 1 world ranking but it did not show against a talented opponent on Centre Court.
Indeed Putintseva simply franked the form from the recent Birmingham tournament where she had beaten the US Open and Australian Open champion in the second round.
Russia-born Putintseva had never been on Centre Court before and admitted to being taken aback by its circular shape, although she was far fom over-awed in the manner she played.
“I did a good job out there and I was fighting great,” said the 24-year-old. “It is amazing.”
Putintseva said she was getting more accustomed to grass, although, she still feels clay is her best surface, and added having a good record against Osaka counted for nothing when they walked out onto Centre Court.
“Honestly every match is a battle I don’t know what is going to happen,” she said after her third win in three against the Japanese.
“I do my best, that is all I can do.”
Third seed Karolina Pliskova made it through to the second round at Wimbledon, beating China’s Zhu Lin 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) on Monday.
Czech former world number one Pliskova, fresh from winning the Eastbourne grass-court tournament, beat the world number 101 on the 4,000-seater Court Two.
She will next face Olympic champion Monica Puig.
Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova, a semi-finalist in 2017, caused the first big upset of the tournament when she put out 10th seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-2, 6-4 in just 70 minutes. It was Sabalenka’s second successive loss in the first round.
Former French Open champion Simona Halep overcame an injury scare to make the second round with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Halep, seeded seven and a semi-finalist in 2014, needed to have her left ankle strapped after a worrying fall on Court One.
She then slipped at 2-5 down in the second set before recovering to beat her Belarus opponent who knocked out two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at the same stage in 2018.
Elina Svitolina (UKR x8) bt Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 7-5, 6-0
Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) bt Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 6-4, 6-4
Marie Bouzkova (CZE) bt Mona Barthel (GER) 6-3, 6-3
Maria Sakkari (GRE x31) bt Bernarda Pera (USA) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3
Petra Martic (CRO x24) bt Jennifer Brady (USA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x12) bt Kristie Ahn (USA) 6-3, 6-4
Karolína Muchová (CZE) bt Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 7-5, 6-2
Heather Watson (GBR) bt Caty McNally (USA) 7-6 (7/3), 6-2
Anett Kontaveit (EST x20) bt Shelby Rogers (USA) 6-0, 3-6, 6-4
Monica Puig (PUR) bt Anna Karolína Schmiedlová (SVK) 5-7, 6-4, 7-5
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x3) bt Zhu Lin (CHN) 6-2, 7-6 (7/4)
Simona Halep (ROM x7) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-4, 7-5
Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) bt Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-4, 6-4
Madison Keys (USA x17) bt Luksika Kumkhum (THA) 6-3, 6-2
Polona Hercog (SLO) bt Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) bt Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x10) 6-2, 6-4
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) bt Ysaline Bonaventure (BEL) 6-2, 6-4
Sofia Kenin (USA x27) bt Astra Sharma (AUS) 6-4, 6-2
Dayana Yastremska (UKR) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-3, 6-3
Viktorija Golubic (SUI) bt Iga Swiatek (POL) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)
With AFP Inputs