Tennis: Kerber, Barty ease through, Federer and Nadal set to play

Tennis: Kerber, Barty ease through, Federer and Nadal set to play

Kerber in Wimbledon
Germany's Angelique Kerber plays a return to Germany's Tatjana Maria in a Women's singles match during day two of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London on Jul 2, 2019. (Photo: AP/Ben Curtis)

LONDON: World number one Ashleigh Barty and defending champion Angelique Kerber eased into the second round of Wimbledon on Tuesday (Jul 2).

Unlike second seed Naomi Osaka on Monday, who exited in straight sets, both Barty and Kerber disposed of their opponents with relative ease.

Barty beat China's Zheng Saisai 6-4, 6-2 while Kerber, the fourth seed, beat fellow German Tatjana Maria 6-4, 6-3.

Barty did not have it all her own way in the first set being pegged back to 4-4 after leading 3-0.

Barty finally took the set in breaking Zheng on her serve at 5-4.

The Australian made the break on Zheng's first service game in the second set and was rarely troubled after that.

"The first rond is always very tough and it took a little time to get used to the court," said Barty.

"It definitely took some time to adjust."

Barty, who is bidding to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season, said the weight of being number one did not affect her particularly.

"It is a bizarre feeling to be honest but I try and go about my business as usual," she said.

Barty plays tricky Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, who knocked out then defending champion Garbine Muguruza last year in the second round, for a place in the last 32.

"It will be an exceptional challenge and it will be important for me to be strong on my serve," she said.

Kerber, who came into the tournament on the back of being the beaten finalist at Eastbourne last Saturday, looked to be cruising to victory when she broke Maria in the first game of the second set.

However, her compatriot fought back to break her in the next game after a long tussle which saw Kerber get increasingly annoyed by her errors.

Kerber, though, again broke in the following game a sweeping forehand crosscourt provoking her to a double fist shake and a yell of delight.

There were further breaks of serve but in the end Kerber came through safely.

The men will come to the fore later on Tuesday with eight-time champion Roger Federer playing Wimbledon debutant Lloyd Harris of South Africa.

His fan club were there on Centre Court in force with red sweaters emblazoned with 'Roger the greatest of all time'.

Federer's great rival Rafael Nadal will also play his first match of this year's championships, the two-time champion facinf Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita.

If Nadal comes through, he will renew his bitter rivalry with Nick Kyrgios after the combustible Australian claimed a 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 7-6 (12/10), 0-6, 6-1 win over countryman Jordan Thompson.

Kyrgios, who stunned Nadal as a 144-ranked wildcard on his tournament debut in 2014, put in a typically raucous and charismatic display on Court 3 where he fired 23 aces and 63 winners.

Meanwhile, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, left the plush confines of the Royal Box at Wimbledon to watch a British wildcard competing on the lowly outside courts.

In a rare move for a member of the royal family visiting the All England Club, Kate took her place in among the 318 regular seats on Court 14 to watch Harriet Dart take on Christina McHale.

Source: AFP/ec

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