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Second seed Osaka crashes out of Wimbledon, Djokovic safely through

The 2019 championships at SW19 has its first upset.

Osaka was stunned on Centre Court.
Osaka was stunned on Centre Court.
Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Updated Jul 1st 2019, 5:55 PM

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 at Wimbledon. 

The 21-year-old second seed said she had felt a weight lifted from her shoulders after losing the number one world ranking prior to the championships, but it did not show against a talented opponent on Centre Court.

Indeed, Putintseva simply maintained her form from the recent Birmingham tournament where she had beaten the US Open and Australian Open champion Osaka in the second round.

Russia-born Putintseva had never been on Centre Court before, but she was far from 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.”

Meanwhile, defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic got his campaign for a fifth Wimbledon title off to a winning start earlier with newly-hired coaching team recruit, and 2001 winner, Goran Ivanisevic helping steer the ship.

Djokovic, chasing a fifth title at the All England Club, saw off 35-year-old Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.

But he had to recover from early breaks in both of the first two sets against a player who beat him at Indian Wells this year, as well as a nasty fall on the Centre Court grass.

Djokovic, chasing a 16th career major, will face Denis Kudla of the United States for a place in the last 32.

If his victory was routine, there was nothing predictable about the Serb’s surprise decision to bring Ivanisevic into his inner sanctum over the weekend.

Wimbledon 2019 - Day One - The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club The 2019 championships got underway on Monday. Source: Adam Davy

Djokovic said that he and Ivanisevic have been long-time friends.

“I have always looked up to Goran. When he won here in 2001, I feel I was part of that as he had trained in Germany at the same base as me when I was 13-14,” said Djokovic.  

“I feel as if I contributed to his victory,” he joked.

Fourth seed Kevin Anderson, runner-up to Djokovic in 2018, eased into the second round beating Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Anderson will now play Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic who registered his first win at the tournament in seven years when he defeated Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

Elsewhere, 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.

Live scores available here>

© – AFP 2019

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