Petra Kvitova reaches second round at Wimbledon
Defending champion Petra Kvitova eased her way into the women's singles second round of Wimbledon by beating World No.108 Kiki Bertens here on Tuesday
London: Defending champion Petra Kvitova took just 35 minutes to reach the Wimbledon second round on Tuesday as the tournament sweltered in near record-breaking heat. Second seed Kvitova raced to a 6-1, 6-0 win over Kiki Bertens, the world number 138 from the Netherlands, on Centre Court. Kvitova, also the 2011 champion, dropped just one point on serve and next meets Kurumi Nara of Japan for a place in the last 32.
Petra Kvitova. Pic/AFP
"It's great to be back on Centre Court and unbelievable to see all the people clapping," said the Czech, who had been laid low by illness in the week before the tournament. Kvitova's only dropped point on serve came on a double fault in the final game of the match. The powerful 25-year-old left-hander would have been relieved to have enjoyed a brief first round outing as temperatures rocketed to around 30 degrees Celsius.
Wednesday is expected to see a Wimbledon record high of around 35 degrees which would require the heat index, where matches are briefly suspended, to be introduced. Organisers say the heat rule, which allows for a 10-minute break between the second and third sets of women's matches, can be used when temperatures rise above 30.1 degrees Celsius.
However, the rule which has been adopted by Wimbledon after lobbying from the WTA, does not apply to men even though they have to slug it out over the best of five sets. The highest-ever temperature recorded at Wimbledon was 34C in 1976. Joining Kvitova in the second round was 10th seeded German Angelique Kerber who handed compatriot Carina Witthoeft a 6-0, 6-0 drubbing.
Kerber, a semi-finalist in 2012 and who won the Birmingham tournament on grass in the run-up to Wimbledon, took just 45 minutes to clinch victory, firing 21 winners past the world number 53. It was the third so-called "double bagel" result of the women's first round. Later Tuesday, former champions Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray get their 2015 campaigns under way.
Second seed Federer, the seven-time champion, faces Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia, who he beat at the French Open this year; 2013 winner Murray takes on Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan, while Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, plays Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci. Federer, bidding for his 18th major, says he is in the perfect condition to win Wimbledon for a record eighth time as the Swiss great bids to avenge last year's painful defeat in the final.
Federer's last appearance at the All England Club 12 months ago ended in the despair of a five-set loss against Novak Djokovic that left him shedding tears. "If I look at last year, I see more the positives than actually the heart-breaking loss in the final," said Federer, fresh from his eighth Halle grasscourt title last week. "It goes to show that last year, I wasn't playing great and I made the finals. Whereas now I feel my game is better. I can really aim for Wimbledon this year.
I feel like I see a big picture more now." World number 87 Dzumhur is the first Bosnian man to play in the Wimbledon main draw. The 23-year-old from Sarajevo had two of the biggest wins in his career -- over former top 10 players Mikhail Youzhny and Marcos Baghdatis -- to reach the third round at the French Open where he lost to Federer in straight sets. Murray takes a 2-0 career lead over world number 58 Kukushkin into their opener on Centre Court.
Like Murray, Kukushkin is coached by a woman -- his wife Anastasia. Murray beat his rival twice in 2012 at Brisbane and then at the Australian Open in the fourth round. That remains Kukushkin's best run at a major although he did reach the third round at Wimbledon in 2014 where he lost to Nadal. Nadal is seeded at a lowly 10 this year but has a 4-0 career lead over 27-year-old Bellucci, the Brazilian he also beat in the Wimbledon first round in 2012.