Wimbledon 2022: Emma Raducanu wins Center Court debut as Andy Murray starts with victory
Day four of Wimbledon sees the return of Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek following the crushing losses to both home favorites on Wednesday when Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu suffered second-round exits on Center Court.
Nadal will hope to bolster his bid for a third crowd at the All England Club, following a tough first-round victory over Francisco Cerundolo, with Novak Djokovic already hitting top form against Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round. It’s Ričardas Berankis on Center Court for the Spaniard today. While Swiatek is looking to break through on grass in the Grand Slams, having added a second French Open title only this month. The dominant Pole faces Dutch player Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove on Court One in the second round after dominating Jana Fett last time out.
While British interest is diminishing, Katie Boulter looks to extend her hot streak, but she faces a difficult task against sixth seed Karolina Pliskova first up on Center Court. While Coco Gauff’s star shines bright at SW19 and the American teenager will hope to negotiate her second-round match against Mihaela Buzărnescu. Day Four also sees contend Stefano Tsitsipas, up against Aussie Jordan Thompson, while more British interest comes late on Court One when Jack Draper takes on another Australian and 19th seed Alex De Minaur. Interest in the doubles picks up here too, with Nick Kyrgios and Kokkinakis summarizing their Special K partnership after glory at the Australian Open, they take on Aljaz Bedene and Kwon Soon-Woo, another Djokovic opponent this year. Follow all the action from day two live, including the latest results, reaction and analysis from the All England Club
Emma Raducanu knocked out of Wimbledon and overpowered by France’s Caroline Garcia
Before the final game, Emma Raducanu stood on the baseline in the evening sun as Center Court gave one last prolonged howl of encouragement. It was offered without expectation – Caroline Garcia had already proven her dominance de ella and her 6-3, 6-3 victory was sealed a few moments later – but was a welcome expression of support for a young player visibly struggling with her game.
A year on since her surge from anonymity to Wimbledon’s fourth round, with a US Open title in between, this second-round exit could easily be interpreted as Raducanu regression. Her serve de ella was about the only part of her game de ella flowing as the forehand chose unpredictable trajectories and her usually pinpoint backhand was no more consistent. The glimpses of magic, reaching impossible balls and returning them with feeling, roused a partisan crowd but were too floating to reverse the momentum. Service holds had to be hard earned, and when points descended into baseline slugfests Garcia’s superior power won out.
But it should be no surprise that the 19-year-old is still finding her feet in the professional ranks despite her achievements – or in spite of them given the added scrutiny she carries. Just appearing here at Wimbledon was something of a surprise given the side strain which forced her to withdraw from Nottingham earlier this month and then miss Eastbourne, where she had hoped to hone her grass game. There would have been no shortage of pressure, not least commercially, to appear in Wimbledon white this week even if it meant coming in cold – though Raducanu dismissed pressure itself as an excuse for her defeat of her.
jack ratbornJune 30, 2022 08:43
Andy Murray knocked out of Wimbledon by relentless John Isner
This time, the heroic comeback would be cut short. Andy Murray contorted through all the roars and grimaces, the angry monologues and chest-beating he’s made so torturously iconic, but there would be no glory to make good of the pain. The 35-year-old’s spirit was as indomitable as ever, rallying from two sets down against John Isner as the light faded and the roof closed over Center Court, but the American harnessed the hostile atmosphere and weathered a momentous fightback to close out a 6 -4 7-6 6-7 6-4 victory that lasted almost three and a half hours.
This was a different and perhaps a more depressing kind of defeat than what Murray endured last year. Then, it was the fearless youth and aggression of Denis Shapovalov that put into sharp relief the years and strength lost to injury. But Isner is an old foe, one who Murray had found a way to subdue and defeat in all of their eight previous meetings, a record stretching back as far as 2010. It felt almost assured that Murray’s variety, invention and iron would eventually outlast a player who can throw a ball up to the gods and return Thor’s Hammer like no other.
Isner’s impenetrable serve will always be best remembered for his 11-hour marathon match here against Nicolas Mahut, but it was hard to recall a time when it has been quite so relentlessly precise as this. He gave up just two break points throughout the entire match and summoned a remarkable 36 aces, puncturing the atmosphere whenever pressure swelled, but it would be unfair to reduce his efforts from him to just one dimension. The 37-year-old’s volleying was exquisite, 81 winners were testament to his aggression from him and whether it was that inspired masterclass or the fine margins Murray has lost to age, another miracle was not forthcoming.
jack ratbornJune 30, 2022 08:38