Samantha Stosur opened her 14th Wimbledon campaign with a straight-sets win over Polish baseliner Magda Linette on Monday night (AEST).
Australia’s top-ranked player safely progressed to the second round with a relatively comfortable 7-5 6-3 win at the All England Club.
Stosur now faces a showdown Wednesday with former finalist Sabine Lisicki, who looked ominous in dispatching rising American Shelby Rogers 6-1 6-3 in less than an hour.
Seeded 14th after her run to this month’s French Open semifinals, Stosur offset four aces with six double-faults but dropped serve just once in the 77-minute match.
The former US Open champion was playing her first Grand Slam match under new coach Andrew Roberts, the Tasmanian helping Stosur during the grass court season following her split from long-time mentor David Taylor.
Roberts would have been impressed with Stosur’s confident start as she held her opening two service games to love before breaking Linette to charge ahead 3-1.
But as the errors began to creep in, Stosur dropped serve and appeared to be heading to a tiebreaker until breaking the world No.92 for a second time to nab the opening set after 44 minutes.
Stosur cruised through the second set without facing a break point and clinched victory with an ace.
Nick Kyrgios opens his much vaunted campaign on the mens’ side Tuesday night (AEST) against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek, and if all goes to plan, he will meet second-seed and 2013 champion Andy Murray in the fourth round.
Seeded 15th at this year’s tournament, Kyrgios has his best chance of a Grand Slam victory to date and senior tennis figures are hoping he can avoid the controversies that dogged his 2015 Wimbledon campaign.
The 21-year-old was embroiled in a series of angry exchanges with umpires and officials during his run to the fourth round at the All England Club last year, and Australian tennis great Ken Rosewall says he hopes he’s learnt from the experience.
“There hasn’t been much written about him lately so I guess he must be improving,” Rosewell told AAP on Monday.
“And let’s hope so, because he’s too good a player with too much talent to really have a lot of other stress on his shoulders when you’ve got to perform well every time you play,” the eight-time Grand Slam champion added.
Rosewell said he thinks Kyrgios has the talent to beat any of the game’s leading players.
“His game has that power and all he needs is a little bit more consistency and to keep control of himself.”
Defending champion and top-ranked Novak Djokovic also believes Kyrgios is a genuine contender at Wimbledon this year and that the men’s draw is wide open.
Djokovic has won both the Australian Open and French Open this year as he hunts the calendar year Grand Slam for the second time.
“Kyrgios is definitely one of the players that can go far,” the Serb said during a press conference on Monday.
“I think it’s pretty much an open field.
“But I think the beauty of all the grand slams and of this sport is that you always start from scratch and you always start from the same starting position as everybody else, fighting for the trophy equally as everybody else.”
Bernard Tomic, seeded 19th, faces a big test first up against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, also on Tuesday night.
– with AAP