On Monday at Wimbledon, it was a good day to be an American, with Sloane Stephens and Frances Tiafoe both causing upsets as the grass-court grand slam got underway.
Stephens beat Petra Kvitova, the two-time champion, 6-3 6-4, while Tiafoe beat world No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-4 6-4 6-3.
Around 6,000 spectators packed Court One to watch Tiafoe, the unseeded American, dominate Tsitsipas, who has now lost in the first round of Wimbledon in three of his last four attempts.
Meanwhile, Tiafoe has only advanced to the third round at SW19 before, but he did reach the Australian Open quarterfinals in 2019.
“Definitely one of my best [matches]. From start to finish, it was pretty clean,” Tiafoe, 23, said after the win.
“This is what you train for, this is what it’s all about. I live for these kind of moments.”
Stephens, on the other hand, put in a strong performance to defeat Kvitova.
The 28-year-old, who won the US Open in 2017, has never advanced further than the quarterfinals at the All England Club, but she showed plenty of promise against the Czech 10th seed in what was her first grass match since 2019.
“It’s so special, obviously not playing on grass for two years and then being able to come back, and my first match on grass is on Centre Court here with fans back is really just a dream,” Stephens said after the match.
Tennis fans all over the world are looking forward to Wimbledon this year, especially after the tournament was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
At the moment, the stadium capacity for Centre Court and No. 1 Court is 50%, and the smaller show courts have a capacity of 75%.
As part of the UK government’s pilot scheme, the tournament’s later stages will be played in front of 100% capacity crowds.
It’s the last major tennis tournament before the Olympics, but many of the sport’s biggest names have already withdrawn from competing in Tokyo.
No. 3 in the world Simona Halep is the latest athlete to withdraw from the tournament, citing the need for more time to recover from a calf injury.
Rafa Nadal, Dominic Thiem, and Serena Williams are among the players who have withdrawn from the tournament.
“Nothing brings me more pride than representing Romania, but sadly the recovery from my calf injury requires more time and I have made the decision to withdraw from the Olympic Games this summer,” Halep wrote on Twitter.
“After the disappointment of missing the French Open and Wimbledon, having to skip the Olympics is incredibly tough to digest, but I am determined to come back stronger.”