Third seed 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 (4), 6-2 in the first round.
The loss was Osaka’s second in a row to the 24-year-old Russian, who beat her in straight sets in the round of 16 at the Birmingham Classic in the third week of June. Putintseva, ranked 28th in the world but unseeded at the tournament, matches her best performance at SW19, reaching the second round for the fourth time in the five years.
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.”
This was the first time Osaka, the reigning US Open and Australian Open champion, had fallen at the first stage at Wimbledon, losing in the third round the previous two years.
- French Open finalist Vondrousova out in Wimbledon first round -
French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova was knocked out in the first round at Wimbledon, losing 6-4 6-4 to American Madison Brengle.
A few days after turning 20, the left-hander struggled to get to grips with her opponent's game as she lost in the first round for the third successive year.
Last month Vondrousova fell just short of becoming the first Czech woman to win the French Open for 38 years when she lost to Australia's Ash Barty in the Roland Garros final.
- Halep goes past Sasnovich -
Simona Halep shook off an injury and won five games in a row in the second set to beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4, 7-5 in the first match on Court One since the installation of a new roof. “It (the injury) could be an issue but I hope not. I need treatment now. I slid a little bit and felt a little bit of pain behind the knee and the foot,” Halep said.
Meanwhile, 17th seed Madison Keys cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum to reach the second round, while Elina Svitolina secured a comfortable 7-5, 6-0 triumph over Australia's Daria Gavrilova.
Earlier in the day, third seed Karolina Pliskova fought off a late comeback from China's Zhu Lin to prevail 6-2, 7-6(4).
- Wozniacki, Azarenka advance -
Caroline Wozniacki cruises into the next round after her opponent, Sara Sorribes Tormo, retires hurt. The Dane was leading 5-4 in the first set. Meanwhile, 29th seed Daria Kasatkina has been ousted 3-6, 1-6 by unseeded Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic.
Victoria Azarenka secures a straight sets 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Alize Cornet.
(With inputs from Reuters)