London, Jun 29 (EFE).- Second-seeded Estonian Anett Kontaveit and 2017 champion Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain were both eliminated from Wimbledon in surprisingly lopsided losses on Wednesday.
Kontaveit missed all of the grass-court events leading up to Wimbledon due to a bout with Covid-19, and that lack of match practice on tennis’ trickiest surface was apparent in a 6-4, 6-0 second-round loss to 22-year-old German Jule Niemeier on Court 1.
The 97th-ranked Niemeier was playing in just her second Grand Slam but showed no nerves in dominating the proceedings against an out-of-sorts Kontaveit, who finished the match with just seven winners and a whopping 24 unforced errors.
The German used a combination of big serving and a wide variety of shot to dismantle her opponent in less than an hour.
“I love to play on grass. It fits my game. I love to play slice, drop shots, going to the net,” Niemeier said afterward. “If I’m serving well, it’s tough to break.”
Muguruza, a former world No. 1 who is currently ranked 10th, also fell by the identical score of 6-4, 6-0 in a first-round match against 88th-ranked Belgian Grett Minnen that had begun on Tuesday but was suspended due to darkness and resumed on Wednesday.
The Spaniard appeared riddled with doubts throughout that Court 2 match and the stats reflected that. For the contest, the two-time Grand Slam champion struck only nine winners and committed 33 unforced errors.
Solid play by Minnen, who kept her unforced errors to a respectable 14, was all that was necessary to earn the easy victory, her first over a top-10 player.
Tenth-seeded Emma Raducanu, the top British hope in the women’s draw, also was eliminated on Wednesday, falling to France’s Carolina Garcia 6-3, 6-3 in second-round play on Centre Court.
But fifth-seeded Greek star Maria Sakkari; German No. 15 seed Angelique Kerber, the 2018 champion and a semifinalist last year; Czech No. 6 seed Karolina Pliskova, the 2021 runner-up; and in-form third-seeded Tunisian Ons Jabeur all advanced to the round of 32 without dropping a set.
Jabeur, who reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year and is having a career-best season that has catapulted her to No. 2 in the WTA rankings, lost three straight games to fall behind 3-2 in the first set against Poland’s Katarzyna Kawa.
But she finished off the match in style to win 6-4, 6-0 and has the look of a serious contender at the All England Club.
Jabeur played her second-round match on Court 12 but is now the second-highest seed left in the women’s singles draw (after Polish world No. 1 Iga Swiatek) and figures to be featured on the show courts from now on.
Jabeur and Kerber may square off in a can’t-miss, round-of-16 showdown on Sunday if the Tunisian defeats France’s Diane Parry and the German gets past either Belgian No. 24 seed Elise Mertens or Hungary’s Panna Udvardy. EFE