Seeds tumble on first day at Wimbledon
Seeds Fernando Verdasco, Andreas Seppi, Sloane Stephens and Sam Stosur all suffered first-round exits as Wimbledon got underway on Monday.
Verdasco lost a dramatic five-set quarter-final against eventual champion Andy Murray at last year's tournament but was sent tumbling much earlier this time around, with Marinko Matosevic beating him 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-2.
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Matosevic, who reached the last eight at Queen's, battled past 18th-seed Verdasco in two hours and 16 minutes.
No.25 seed Seppi put up more of a fight at least as he was defeated in five sets by Leanardo Mayer, the Argentine winning 6-3 2-6 4-6 7-6(5) 6-4.
On the women's side, Stephens' streak of reaching the second week at six consecutive grand slam tournaments ended with a 6-2 7-6(6) first-round loss to world No.109 Maria Kirilenko of Russia.
Stephens saved five match points serving at 5-6, sending it to a tie-breaker where Kirilenko clinched the match after a wide forehand by Stephens.
An American seeded 18th, Stephens had held the longest active run of fourth-round appearances at grand slams by a woman, dating to a semi-final showing at the 2013 Australian Open.
At Wimbledon last year, Stephens got to the quarter-finals, where she lost to eventual champion Marion Bartoli.
Also losing in the first round was former US Open champion Sam Stosur, who fell 6-3 6-4 to former US Open semi-finalist Yanina Wickmayer.
The defeat continued the Australian's poor run at Wimbledon, where she has never advanced past the third round and where she has lost in the first round six times in her 12 appearances at the All England club.
Stosur recently split with her coach, Miles Maclagan, just seven months into their partnership. The 2011 US Open champion hasn't reached the semi-finals in any tournament since Hobart in January and in recent weeks lost on grass in the second round at Birmingham and the first round at Eastbourne.
In other results on Monday, 2010-finalist Tomas Berdych came back from a set down to defeat Victor Hanescu 6-7(5) 6-1 6-4 6-3 on No.2 Court. The No.6 seed made 24 unforced errors, three more than his opponent, ranked 104 in the world.
Berdych will meet Bernard Tomic in the second round after the Australian overcame Evgeny Donskoy in straight sets, 6-4 6-3 6-2.
Grigor Dimitrov endured a slow start as he was taken to a first-set tie breaker against Ryan Harrison. But the Queen's champion then accelerated out of his American opponent's reach to win 7-6(1) 6-3 6-2 and lay down a marker.
French Open semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis progressed safely after seeing off Juergen Zopp 7-6(7) 7-5 7-6(10) in three tight sets.
David Ferrer, the seventh seed, overcame a second-set wobble to beat Pablo Carreno Busta 6-0 6-7(7) 6-1 6-1, while 16th-seed Fabio Fognini came from two sets and a break down to beat American Alex Kuznetsov 2-6 1-6 6-4 6-1 9-7 in three hours and nine minutes.
No.20 seed Kevin Anderson beat Aljaz Bedene 6-3 7-5 6-2 while Gilles Simon defeated Konstantin Kravchuk 6-2 7-6(4) 7-5.
Former Australian Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis came through a tricky first-round encounter with Dustin Brown, the man who knocked Rafael Nadal out of the Halle warm-up event earlier this month. Baghdatis needed four sets to get past Brown 6-4 7-5 2-6 7-6(4).
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's match with Jurgen Melzer was suspended due to rain with the Frenchman serving for the match at 5-4 in the fifth set. Tsonga won the first set 6-1, before Melzer took both the second and third sets 6-3, only for the Frenchman to force the decider by winning the fourth 6-2.
Victoria Azarenka also won her first match since January as she defeated 1999 semi-finalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3 7-5.
Two-time semi-finalist Azarenka, the eighth seed this year, has missed a large chunk of the season with a foot injury.
Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, 43, lost 3-6 6-4 7-5 to Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.
Date-Krumm, who reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon 18 years ago, was the oldest player entered in the tournament this year. She made her Wimbledon debut in 1989, a year after Makarova was born. Date-Krumm made 47 unforced errors in the two hour and 24-minute match.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Li Na went through in regulation fashion against Paula Kania, winning in straight sets 7-5 6-2.
Former champion Venus Williams' clash with Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor went the distance with the American eventually winning 6-4 4-6 6-3, while former champion and sixth seed Petra Kvitova raced through her opening match for the loss of just three games as she saw off Andrea Hlavackova 6-3 6-0.