Not only does Kvitova have tremendous history at Wimbledon, lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish in 2011 and 2014, but she also came into this year’s tournament as one of the hottest players in the sport, winning more WTA titles (five) and more matches (38) than any other player this year.
“I just didn’t feel well obviously,” Kvitova said after the match. “The nerves were there again. I don’t know. I just tried to kind of fight with myself. It was probably the biggest opponent I had today."
But Sasnovich—who walked onto No. 1 Court having lost her last five matches on grass—matched Kvitova’s power from the baseline, particularly on the backhand side. After splitting the first two sets, the Belarusian played a practically flawless decider, hitting just two unforced errors to close out a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 stunner in two hours and 14 minutes.
Match Point: Sasnovich d. Kvitova
Sasnovich won 11 of the last 12 points of the match, including back-to-back aces to finish it off.
“It maybe surprised me that she could play this well on the grass,” Kvitova said. “Of course, I let her play her game, and I couldn’t really push her as much as I wish I could’ve. The conditions were pretty tight as well, with a lot of wind. I just didn’t put pressure on her—she could do whatever she wanted.”
The No. 8-seeded Kvitova wasn’t the first Top 8 women’s seed to bow out in the opening round. On Monday, No. 4 seed and reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens lost to Donna Vekic, and No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina fell to Tatjana Maria. Then, shortly after Kvitova's loss, No. 6 seed Caroline Garcia was beaten by Belinda Bencic.
Incredibly, half of the presumed quarterfinalists—by seed—were gone before the first round had wrapped up.
Match Point: Vekic d. Stephens
The upsets haven’t been limited to the women’s draw, either. Among the first round casualties in the men’s draw are No. 6 seed Grigor Dimitrov, who lost to Stan Wawrinka; No.7 seed Dominic Thiem, who retired against Marcos Baghdatis; and No.10 seed David Goffin, who fell to Matthew Ebden.
Match Point: Wawrinka d. Dimitrov
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