Wimbledon: Tiafoe stuns Tsitsipas; Stephens ousts Kvitova

Frances Tiafoe
Frances Tiafoe celebrates his win. Photo: Reuters

London: American Frances Tiafoe caused the first big upset of the Wimbledon men's singles tournament by beating third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 on Monday.

Tsitsipas, playing his first match since his French Open final defeat by Novak Djokovic on June 13, was on the backfoot from the beginning against a 57th-ranked opponent who took the game to him.

The Greek also went out in the opening round on his last previous appearance at the grasscourt tournament in 2019, when he was seventh seed. Wimbledon was not played last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas greets Frances Tiafoe after the match. Photo: Reuters

"It sounds pretty damn good," Tiafoe told the cheering 6,000 strong Court One crowd, sheltered by a roof from the drizzle outside, as the result was read out.

"Definitely one of my best (matches). From start to finish it was pretty clean.

"This is what you train for, this is what it's all about. I live for these kind of moments. If you'd seen me on the sidecourts you might have seen a different performance today but I love this... got to make something good happen."

Tiafoe broke serve in the opening game and it set the tone for a match in which Tsitsipas, who had said at the weekend that he was feeling more confident on grass, showed only occasional flashes of brilliance.

He failed to convert any of his six break points.

Tiafoe went 5-4 up in the second set, after Tsitsipas saved two break points, and held his nerve when the Greek had three chances to break back.

The American broke serve again at the start of the third set, saved two break points and then had three match points on Tsitsipas' serve to wrap things up in just over two hours. He did it on the third as Tsitsipas netted a backhand.

"I've made a ton of changes and I'm trying to just move the right way. Obviously I'm not even close to where I want to be," said the 23-year-old Tiafoe of his performances to date. "I haven't even scratched the surface.

"Today was big. I definitely needed that. That guy's special, he's going to do a lot of great things... but not today."

Tsitsipas still has the doubles to play with his younger brother Petros.

Tiafoe's next opponent will be Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena or Canadian Vasek Pospisil.

 Kivitova & Stephens
Petra Kivitova congratulates Sloane Stephens. Photo: Reuters

American Sloane Stephens won the battle of Grand Slam winners against twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Monday, ousting the Czech 10th seed from the All England Club with a 6-3, 6-4 victory.

The 2017 US Open champion came into the match on Centre Court with a 2-1 head-to-head lead against Kvitova, who lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish in 2011 and 2014, but all their previous meetings had been on hard courts.

Former world No. 3 Stephens, who has slipped down the rankings to 73rd, arrived in London without playing a lead-up event on grass but showed no signs of rust as she broke Kvitova's serve twice to take the opening set.

In the second set the 28-year-old picked up the crucial break in the seventh game and converted her first match point with her 11th winner to set up a clash with either fellow American lucky loser Kristie Ahn or Britain's Heather Watson.

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