2021 Wimbledon Update:
DMV Star Frances Tiafoe Shocks World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas in Stunning First Round Upset
2015 Citi Open Champ Sloane Stephens & JTCC Alum Denis Kudla Advance
Defending Citi Open Champ Nick Kyrgios & Citi Open Star Coco Gauff Headline Packed Schedule at All England Club Today
College Park native Frances Tiafoe scores the upset of his career over world No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round of the
2021 Wimbledon Men's Singles Championship on Monday. (Getty Images/Pool)
Score another big win for DC sports!
In front of a raucous crowd that was heavily in his corner inside Court No. 1 at the All England Club yesterday, DC’s own Frances Tiafoe stunned two-time Citi Open semifinalist and current world No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, and television viewers around the globe, on opening day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships.
The College Park native, Washington Kastles star, and former Australian Open quarterfinalist dismantled the recent French Open finalist and hottest player on tour in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, scoring the upset of his career, in just over two hours, to advance to the second round of the men's singles tournament.
"This is what you train for, this is what it's all about,” said Tiafoe in his post-match interview from the legendary show court. "It’s definitely one of my best matches. From start to finish, it was pretty clean. I live for these kind of moments. If you'd seen me on the side-courts, you might have seen a different performance today, but I love this...Got to make something good happen."
Tsitsipas was the overwhelming favorite going into the match. The Athens native won their sole prior meeting in straight sets at the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals, in Milan, and still leads the tour in wins this season with a remarkable 39-10 record. But this was the pair’s first Grand Slam encounter, and having won Nottingham and reaching the quarterfinals at Queen’s Club earlier this month, Tiafoe was in good grass court form.
Tiafoe took control of the match early, breaking Tsitsipas in the opening game, and held his nerve in the pivotal points that followed, reminding players and fans, alike, of his promising potential to be a serious contender at the majors.
The DC star denied all seven breakpoints he faced and broke the No. 4 on his third chance in the final game of the match to score his first-ever top-five victory.
"I've made a ton of changes and I'm trying to just move the right way,” said the 23-year-old JTCC alum, about his game heading into the Championships.
“Obviously, I'm not even close to where I want to be. I haven't even scratched the surface. But today was big. I definitely needed that. That guy's special. He's going to do a lot of great things, but not today."
Up next, Tiafoe faces 2019 Kastles alum Vasek Pospisil of Canada on Wednesday.
In the same section of the draw, fellow JTCC and Washington Kastles alum Denis Kudla also churned out a winning performance at the All England Club in his first main round match. The Arlington, Virginia native fought back after dropping the opening two sets to defeat No. 30 seed and recent French Open quarterfinalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 5-7, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3, in a remarkable three-hour thriller.
It was Kudla's fourth victory at the Championships this year. He previously won three qualifying matches to set up the marathon encounter. Next up, he plays Italian Andreas Seppi for a spot in the third round. Seppi won their one and only prior meeting, in straight sets, in the second round of the 2016 Australian Open, but Kudla is comfortable on grass.
Kudla's best Grand Slam result came at Wimbledon, in 2015, when he upset two-time Citi Open champion Alexander Zverev on his way to reaching the Round of 16, where he lost to former US Open champ Marin Cilic.
Elsewhere in men's singles, No. 13 seed and 2016 Citi Open champion Gael Monfils is currently tied with Aussie qualifier Christopher O'Connell in their opening round match. The pair split sets to start and reached a tiebreak in the third, before play was suspended, due to inclement weather, at 4-6, 6-2, 6-6. Play is scheduled to resume on Court 12, around 8 a.m. EST.
On the women’s side, former world No. 3 Sloane Stephens showed signs of the form that won the 2015 Citi Open and 2017 US Open yesterday. The 28-year-old Florida native ousted No. 10 seed and two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova, of Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the second round of Ladies Singles.
The win is a promising development for the American champ, who has struggled to make headway since the re-start. Unseeded at this year’s tournament, Stephens shook off a string of inconsistent results to take the lead in their head-to-head, 3-2, on her most challenging surface.
In addition to winning the US Open, in 2017, Stephens reached the final of Roland Garros, in 2018, and the semis of the Australian Open, in 2013, but has failed to advance beyond the quarters at the All England Club.
"Obviously playing against Petra, you have to bring your A game," said Stephens after the match. "I thought I played really well today. I'm just trying to keep the momentum going, trying to find that, like, good, consistent level again."
Next up, Stephens plays compatriot Kristie Ahn, who knocked out British favorite Heather Watson, 2-6, 7-6(3), 8-6, for a spot in the third round.
In other tennis news, 2015 Kastles Finals MVP and Dover, Delaware native Madison Brengle is locked in an epic All-Kastles alum opener against Christina McHale. The Americans split sets and Brengle was up, 7-6, in the deciding set, when play was postponed. Play is scheduled to resume on Court 16 around 8 a.m. EST.
Kyrgios, Gauff, Williams, Pegula & More Headline Action-Packed Day Two
Reigning Citi Open champion Nick Kyrgios will look to make the most of the limited crowds when play resumes at the All England Club. (Peter Staples)
Today, defending Citi Open champion Nick Kyrgios and reigning Citi Open doubles champion Coco Gauff will headline a busy day at the All England Club, after rain suspended play on Monday.
Kyrgios will begin his 2021 Wimbledon bid against recent Halle champion and No. 21 seed Ugo Humbert of France, third up on Court No. 12, around 9 a.m. EST. Gauff plays British wildcard Francesca Jones in her opening match, third on Court No. 2, also around 9 a.m. EST.
Six-time Wimbledon champion and Washington Kastles superstar Venus Williams leads off on Court No. 3 against Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu, around 6 a.m. EST, while world No. 2 and 2019 Citi Open finalist Daniil Medvedev will take on Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff in the last match on Court No. 1, around 11:30 a.m. EST.
Also in action today, reigning Citi Open champion Jessica Pegula (2019) plays world No. 74 Caroline Garcia, of France, second up on Court No. 6, around 8 a.m. EST. And 2019 Kastles sensation Marta Kostyuk takes on 2018 quarterfinalist and No. 17 seed Kiki Bertens, third up on Court 18, around 8:30 a.m. EST.
2015 Citi Open champ Kei Nishikori, three-time Citi Open finalist and former American No. 1 John Isner, Kastles alum Yoshi Nishioka, and Washington Kastles star Tommy Paul, meanwhile, currently await their revised match times.
Wimbledon Doubles Preview
Reigning CIti Open doubles champions Coco Gauff and Caty McNally aim to win maiden Slam at the All England Club. (Mike Lawrence)
Doubles competition is scheduled to get underway later this week and there are some exciting teams to follow at this year's tournament.
Reigning Citi Open doubles champions Coco Gauff and Caty McNally, a.k.a. "McCoco," aim to win their maiden Grand Slam title at the All England Club this summer. Seeded No. 12 in the top half of the draw, the American duo will face Daria Kasatkina and Ellen Perez in the first round of women's doubles.
Seeded No. 4 in the same half of the draw, Kastles alum and 2018 doubles finalist Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs play Romanian duo Andreea Mitu and Monica Niculescu in their opener.
In the bottom half, Jessica Pegula and Asia Muhammad are the No. 14 seeds. They face Lauren Davis and Ankita Raina in their first-round match. Also in their section, Marta Kostyuk and Jelena Ostapenko play Sofia Kenin and Belinda Bencic, while Madison Brengle teams up with Zhu Lin against Anna Blinkova and Anna-Lena Friedsam.
On the men's side, world No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas may have lost his first-round singles match, but he’s not leaving London just yet. The 22-year-old Greek star is partnering with his younger brother Petros Tsitsipas in men’s doubles. Positioned in the bottom half of the draw, the Tsitsipas wildcards face Cameron Norrie and Jaume Munar in their opening match.
Also in their section, former Kastles star and six-time Grand Slam doubles champion Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray are the No. 7 seeds. They take on Kastles alums Nicholas Monroe and Vasek Pospisil in their opener.
Meanwhile, in the top half of the draw, 2019 Kastles alum Yoshihito Nishioka and Egor Gerasimov play Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic in their first doubles match.