Wimbledon 2022 Day 1: Murray bags 60th win at SW19

Home hero needs four sets to advance while Djokovic starts title defence with tough test

 - Reem Abulleil

Opening day at Wimbledon 2022 had everything: triumphs, upsets, breakthroughs, marathon battles and of course some rain that resulted in some match cancellations.

Here's a look at some of the biggest storylines from Monday in south-west London.

Good day for home favourites on Centre Court

Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu gave the home crowd plenty to cheer for as they each notched opening round victories on Wimbledon’s Centre Court on Monday.

Former world No.1 and two-time champion Murray extended his unblemished record in Wimbledon first rounds to 14-0 with a hard-fought 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 success over Australia’s James Duckworth.

It was Murray’s 60th Wimbledon match-win and his reward is a last-64 clash with American No.20 seed John Isner.

“I’m getting on a bit now so I don’t know how many more opportunities I get to play on this court so I want to make the most of every time I’m going to come out here now,” said the 35-year-old Murray on court.

“I managed to get through it and hopefully get another match out here in a couple of days.”

Earlier in the day, reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu made her Centre Court debut and sidestepped a dangerous opponent in Alison van Uytvanck, who won two titles on grass in the build-up to Wimbledon and was a tough first round for the British 10th seed.

Raducanu advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 result over the Belgian world No.46 to set up a second round against recent Bad Homburg champion Caroline Garcia.

At her press conference, the 19-year-old Raducanu was wearing a polo shirt that has Rafael Nadal’s logo on it, which naturally drew questions from reporters.

“I think Rafa just embodies fight, that sort of energy. That's what I'm bringing in,” said Raducanu of the 22-time Grand Slam champion.

“In terms of energy-wise, I think that I have had a tough year, like it's no secret.

“It is all worth it just to go out on Centre Court and get a win like that. I definitely am very happy to be here. All the lessons I've taken from the last year will only hold me in good stead for the future.”

New No.2 dazzles on No.1 Court

What better way to commemorate the day she became the highest-ranked African player in tennis history than with an impressive straight-sets victory on Wimbledon’s No.1 Court in front of an adoring crowd?

Ons Jabeur enjoyed a Monday to remember as she sped past Swedish qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund 6-1, 6-3 in a mere 53 minutes, marking her rise to a career-high world No.2 with a statement win.

The Tunisian third seed lost her opening round at Roland-Garros last month after being tipped as one of the top contenders for the title. She made sure she did not suffer a similar fate in south-west London as she stepped on court with purpose and left no room for error against Wimbledon debutante Bjorklund.

“I don't like to make the same mistake twice,” Jabeur said with a smile after her win, referring to her forgettable Roland-Garros early exit.

A recent champion of the grass-court tournament in Berlin, Jabeur next takes on Polish qualifier Katarzyna Kawa.

Stat of the day

Defending champion Novak Djokovic is the first player in tennis history – man or woman – to reach at least 80 match-wins at each of the four Grand Slams.

“The love and flame I have for this sport still burns in me. Now that we got to 80, let’s get to 100,” Djokovic said with a laugh on court after his win four-set win over Kwon Soonwoo on Monday.

The top-seeded Djokovic, who has now won his last 22 consecutive matches at the All England Club, was tested by world No.81 Kwon before booking a second-round meeting with Thanasi Kokkinakis with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 result.

Kwon had only ever contested three clashes in the Wimbledon main draw coming in but played like he belonged on Centre Court.

“I think it was a good win against a player who is very talented,” said Djokovic of the 24-year-old South Korean.

“He has a lot of quality from both forehand and backhand corner.

“I did not start or did not play at my best, but I think when I needed to find the right shots, I did. I think serve got me out of trouble in some decisive moments. I know I can do better. But for the first match, I'm pleased and I'll keep going.”

Match of the day

Carlos Alcaraz (ESP x5) bt. Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4

He had to come back from two-sets-to-one down, and needed four hours and 11 minutes, but fifth-seeded Carlos Alcaraz will be very pleased with how well he fought against German former top-30 player Jan-Lennard Struff.

Alcaraz, who at 19 is the youngest player in the men’s singles draw, unleashed 73 winners, including 30 aces, and saved 6/8 break points to take down the big-hitting Struff.

The Murcia native could only convert 2/14 break point opportunities, as the stubborn Struff refused to fold on serve, time and time again.

Alcaraz is contesting just his second main draw at the All England Club and is looking to become the second-youngest man in the Open Era to win the Wimbledon title, after Boris Becker, who won as a 17-year-old in 1985 and as an 18-year-old in 1986.

The Spaniard will face Tallon Griekspoor in the second round.

“First of all, I enjoy a lot. Great battle, four hours almost the match. I enjoyed. For me play on grass is so beautiful. I like to play on grass,” said Alcaraz. “I would say my level on grass has to improve a little bit. But I'm happy with my level on grass today. Of course, I'm not experienced player on grass.”

Upset of the day

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) bt. Hubert Hurkacz (POL x7) 7-6(4), 6-4, 5-7, 2-6, 7-6(10/8)

Recent Halle champion and last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist Hubert Hurkacz suffered a surprise opening round exit at the hands of Spanish world No.37 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a 3hr 28min battle on No.3 Court.

It was a case of squandered leads and momentum shifts before the 23-year-old finally prevailed to claim the fifth five-set victory of his career.

Davidovich Fokina led Hurkacz 7-6, 6-4, 5-3, 40/0 yet was somehow pegged back and stretched to a decider.

Hurkacz then led 5-3 in the fifth set and 7-4 in the deciding tiebreak before Davidovich Fokina recovered to post his first-ever match-win at Wimbledon on his second main draw appearance.

Hurkacz hit 63 winners including 21 aces, won 75 per cent of his first-serve points and even won two more points than his opponent throughout the contest (168 to the Spaniard’s 166) but still couldn’t complete his comeback victory over Davidovich Fokina.

A Wimbledon junior champion in 2017, Davidovich Fokina next takes on Czech lefty Jiri Vesely in the second round.

Quote of the day

“I think if she's here, then she believe she can win this tournament as well. I believe that she can. She's a G.O.A.T, she's a legend, and she can do whatever she wants. In general I believe if you put something in your mind, you can achieve it no matter what people is talking about you. If you're mentally strong, you can do anything.

“That's honestly the message I'm trying to send every time. I'm someone from Tunisia, nobody even believed that I could be here, and here I am talking to you.”

– Jabeur on Serena Williams’ chances at Wimbledon this year

Surprise of the day

Kaja Juvan bt. Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4, 4-6, 6-2

With a 12-2 record on grass this season, including two WTA titles in Nottingham and Birmingham, Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia was tipped by many to make it far this Wimbledon.

Instead, the 26-year-old – who was seeded at a Grand Slam for the first time this fortnight – was sent packing by Slovenian Kaja Juvan in three sets.

The 21-year-old Juvan, ranked 62 in the world, is now through to the second round at Wimbledon for the third time in as many appearances.