Shock exit for Stefanos at Wimbledon
It was a mixed day for the Greeks at Wimbledon, as Maria Sakkari defeated American Bernarda Pera in straight sets, while world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas lost in five sets to Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano in the first round.
Sakkari, the 31st seed in the women’s draw, played American Bernarda Pera (world number 90) in the first round. The two had previously never played against each other at the professional level, and Pera was searching for her first ever Wimbledon match win. Pera got an early break to go up 2-1 in the first set, but the Greek immediately broke back to level the set at 2-2. The set would ultimately go to a tiebreak, and with the tie break score at 4-4, Sakkari won three consecutive points to take it 7-4 and win the set. Sakkari then raced out to a 4-1 lead in the second set, which she eventually won 6-3 to advance to the second round at Wimbledon for the third time in her career.
Sakkari will now face Czech lucky loser Marie Bouzkova (world number 115) in the second round on Wednesday. The two have never played against each other before, and the winner will face either world number eight Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, or unseeded Margarita Gasparyan of Russia, in the third round.
World number six Stefanos Tsitsipas was hoping to join Sakkari in the second round for the fourth consecutive Grand Slam tournament. He would take on Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano (world number 89), who the Greek had beaten twice before, including last year at Wimbledon in the third round. The Italian surprisingly took the first set 6-4, but Tsitsipas bounced back to take the second 6-3. However, Fabbiano then took the third set 6-3, meaning that the 20-year-old from Athens would have to win the last two sets in order to advance to the second round. The fourth set went to a tiebreak, which Tsitsipas won 10-8 after saving two match points.
In the fifth set, Tsitsipas had three break chances to go up 2-0 but could not convert, and the Italian went on to win the set 6-3 to complete the upset. Tsitsipas was 2/10 on break points throughout the match, a statistic which likely cost him the match. Fabbiano will now play 40-year-old Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the second round.
Yet to play his first-round match is 34-year-old Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, who will be retiring from tennis after this tournament. Baghdatis, a former semi-finalist at Wimbledon, was to play Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round. However, due to the withdrawal of Croatia’s Borna Coric, Struff moved up to a seeded position, meaning Baghdatis will now face Canadian lucky loser Brayden Schnur (world number 112) on Tuesday. The two have never faced each other before.