US Open Champion Sloane Stephens Loses In 1st Round Of Wimbledon

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jul 03, 2018 10:07 AM EDT
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Unseeded Donna Vekic posted the biggest upset so far at Wimbledon as she defeated No. 4 seed Sloane Stephens, 6-1, 6-3, in their opening round match on Monday.

Vekic, who ranked 55th in the world, lost all of her previous five matches against top 5 opponents. However, Vekic snapped her losing streak by handing Stephens her second straight first-round exit at the All England Club.

"I finally got through a match like that!" Vekic says after clinching her third career Top 10 win. The 22-year-old player added that the win boosted her confidence to face top players in her favorite surface, where she won her first WTA title in Nottingham in 2017. Vekic will next face either Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia or Rebecca Peterson of Sweden.

Stephens Was Expected To Contend for Wimbledon Crown

Stephens was expected to contend for the crown at Wimbledon after winning the US Open and reaching the finals at Roland Garros. However, she struggled against the in-form Vekic, who won 20 of 23 points with her first serve.

After losing to Simona Halep in the finals of the French Open, Stephens decided to skip several warm-up events prior to Wimbledon. However, the American denies that it was the reason behind her early exit.

"I had a good training block after the French," said Stephens, who committed 26 unforced errors in the match. "I did more than I would normally do. I came in here feeling not too bad."

The 25-year-old Stephens admitted that she had a bit of confidence after making it to the finals of the French Open. Stephens called her loss as unfortunate and described Vekic as a good player on grass.

Venus Williams Avoids Upset

Five-time Wimbledon champion and No. 9 seed Venus Williams lost in the first set but avoided the upset axe after a 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-1 win over Johanna Larsson.

With the victory, Williams avoided her first third career first-round exit at the All-England Club, advancing to the next round against Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania. Dulgheru defeated Kristyna Pliskova, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, in her opening match.

"I really haven't played her before. She played well," Williams says of Larsson. "There were moments where I could have played better, and was just playing better in those moments in the last two sets."

Second seed Caroline Wozniacki joined Williams in the second round as she cruised past Varvara Lepchenko, 6-0, 6-3. American Madison Keys, seeded 10th in the event, defeated Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia, 6-4, 6-2.

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