Every player has a story, only most first-round losers at Grand Slam events often don’t get to tell it. It’s because the first two rounds are so hectic, so loaded, that it’s easy to lose track. Hence this casualty report, which may even keep some of you from asking, a week or two hence, “Hey, how did (so-and-so) do at Wimbledon?”
Yesterday was once again a tough day to be Brit—Great Britain’s players went 2-6—or American (they went a slightly better 2-5). So let’s say a few words over the brackets of some of those who are no longer with us. This selection is representative, not comprehensive:
Sloane Stephens, ranked and seeded No. 18 at Wimbledon, was beaten by No. 109 Maria Kirilenko, who was ranked No. 10 in the world just a year ago. Plagued by shoulder and knee injuries, Kirilenko is on the comeback trail now—apparently with a vengeance.
“She's done well here in the past. I knew it was going to be tricky, but that's like every other Grand Slam first-round match,” Stephens said of the 6-2, 7-6 (6) loss.
Stephens fans might have been distressed by how philosophically she took this blow, but she’ll be the one who ultimately pays the price. This loss could drop her out of the Top 20 by the end of Wimbledon.
Kirilenko hit 27 winners to 25 by Stephens, and she made four fewer unforced errors (14 to 18) while putting 85 percent of her first serves into play. She moves on to play Peng Shuai.