Ash Barty wins first Wimbledon match as world No. 1

Australia's Ashleigh Barty returns against China's Zheng Saisai during their women's singles first round match on the second day of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 2, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 02 July 2019

Ash Barty wins first Wimbledon match as world No. 1

  • Defending champion Angelique Kerber also advanced, beating Tatjana Maria 6-4, 6-3 on Centre Court

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND: Ash Barty played her first match as the No. 1 player in the world on No. 1 Court at Wimbledon, and she won.
The top-seeded Australian, who followed her victory at the French Open by winning a grass-court warm-up tournament in Birmingham, advanced to the second round at the All England Club on Tuesday by winning her 13th straight match. She beat Zheng Saisai 6-4, 6-2.
"It feels incredible," Barty said about playing at Wimbledon as the top-ranked woman. "It's a little bit of a bizarre feeling, to be honest. But I just try and go about my business the exact same way.
"This hallowed turf that we do get to play on is sacred, it's beautiful. And you have to enjoy every minute."
Defending champion Angelique Kerber also advanced, beating Tatjana Maria 6-4, 6-3 on Centre Court.
"I was really nervous, to be honest, because of course to (go) out there as the defending champion, it was really special," Kerber said. "Walking on the Centre Court, playing there again, I mean, a lot of emotions, a lot of memories."
Both Barty and Kerber are in the same quarter of the women's draw, which means they could meet in the quarterfinals. Seven-time champion Serena Williams is also in that same quarter, and she also won, beating Giulia Gatto-Monticone of Italy 6-2, 7-5.
Garbine Muguruza, the 2017 Wimbledon champion who was also placed in that same tough quarter of the draw, didn't make it through her first match. And neither did Maria Sharapova, the champion in 2004.
Muguruza, seeded 26th, lost to Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4, 6-4. Sharapova, who served for the match while leading 5-3 in the second, retired from her match with a left wrist injury while trailing Pauline Parmentier of France 4-6, 7-6 (4), 5-0.
The combative and combustible Nick Kyrgios advanced to the second round despite winning only five points in the fourth set. The unseeded Australian beat Jordan Thompson 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (10), 0-6, 6-1.
Kyrgios took a medical timeout after the second set and a trainer came on court to examine his left side. He then won the third set in a tiebreaker — a set which took 1 hour, 16 minutes to complete.
The fourth set, however, lasted only 18 minutes as Thompson won 24 points while Kyrgios took only five.
"The medical timeout was to loosen up my hamstring a little bit. It was a physical match." Kyrgios said. "Especially on the grass, it was a little bit slower this year. There were a lot more rallies."
Kyrgios will face two-time champion Rafael Nadal in the next round. The Spaniard beat Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.
Eight-time champion Roger Federer lost the opening set of his opening match on Centre Court, but he quickly recovered and beat Lloyd Harris of South Africa 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
Federer, who is seeded second at the All England Club, reached the second round at Wimbledon for the 17th consecutive year.
However, fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem, who lost to Nadal in the French Open final, was eliminated after losing to Sam Querrey 6-7 (4), 7-6 (1), 6-3, 6-0.
Thiem follows a pair of other top seeds out of the tournament in the first round. No. 6 Alexander Zverev and No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas lost on Monday.
"I was mentally prepared for this kind of game," said Thiem, who has had much more success on the slower clay surface. "Just broke down a little bit after he converted his first break chance, and that was it basically."


VAR denies Manchester City again in latest wild Premier League match with Tottenham

Updated 17 August 2019

VAR denies Manchester City again in latest wild Premier League match with Tottenham

  • Gabriel Jesus thought he scored the winner in the second minute of injury time
  • VAR — new to the league this season — ruled the ball reached Jesus off the arm of Aymeric Laporte

LONDON: Four months later, Manchester City was denied another crucial late goal against Tottenham by an intervention from the video assistant referee.
Gabriel Jesus thought he scored the winner in the second minute of injury time in a wild English Premier League match at Etihad Stadium on Saturday when he curled home a finish after the ball landed at his feet following a corner. The Brazil striker waved and danced in front of City’s jubilant fans, unaware the on-field referee had been told the goal was under review.
VAR — new to the league this season — ruled the ball reached Jesus off the arm of Aymeric Laporte as the City defender stretched to head it. Newly implemented rules say a foul should be awarded if a goal is scored from an accidental handball.
The goal was disallowed, much to the anger of Jesus and City’s frustrated fans, and the match finished 2-2. The final whistle was greeted with loud boos inside the stadium as the English champions dropped points in the second match of their title defense.
Back in April, almost the exact same thing happened to City when Spurs visited for a Champions League match. On that occasion, Raheem Sterling had a goal disallowed for offside by VAR in the third minute of injury time, denying City a place in the semifinals.
City manager Pep Guardiola didn’t drop to his knees and look as crestfallen like he did in April. Instead he engaged in conversation with Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino in the technical area as confusion reigned around him.
“I thought we left that situation against Tottenham in the Champions League last season. But it is the same,” Guardiola said. “The referee and VAR disallow it. It’s the second time, it’s tough. It’s honestly tough.”
Guardiola will wonder how his team didn’t win.
Twice taking the lead in the first half, through Sterling and then Sergio Aguero, City was twice pegged back by Tottenham, first by Erik Lamela and then by Lucas Moura 14 seconds after he entered the field as a substitute.
The diminutive Brazil winger ran straight toward the penalty area to line up for his team’s corner and rose highest — somewhat improbably — to send a glancing header looping into the net in the 56th.
Aguero was substituted soon after that goal and exchanged some strong words on the sideline with Guardiola as he sat down. The pair was seen embracing near the end of the match, however, suggesting they patched up their differences.
The result leaves City two points behind Liverpool, the team expected again to be its biggest rival for the title.
Liverpool beat Southampton 2-1 earlier.
ADRIAN’S CRAZY WEEK
In the space of nine days, Spanish goalkeeper Adrian has made his Liverpool debut as an injury substitute, saved the decisive penalty to win the club the UEFA Super Cup, got injured by a pitch-invading fan, and made an embarrassing error in a Premier League game.
To say it has been a roller-coaster start to life at Anfield would be an understatement.
Adrian, an offseason signing filling in for the injured Alisson Becker, was a doubt for Liverpool’s match at Southampton after a fan slid into the goalkeeper’s ankle while the team celebrated his crucial penalty stop in a shootout win over Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday. He was declared fit on the morning of the match and made some good saves before Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino put Liverpool 2-0 up at St. Mary’s.
Adrian ensured there was a nervy finish when he kicked a clearance straight at Southampton striker Danny Ings and saw the ball rebound into the net in the 83rd.
Liverpool hung on, though, for a second straight win after beating Norwich.
PUKKI PEAKING
Teemu Pukki scored a division-high 29 goals to proper Norwich to the second-tier League Championship title last season.
He cannot stop scoring in the Premier League, either.
After his consolation goal at Anfield on the opening weekend, the Finland striker added another three in dismantling sorry Newcastle as top-flight soccer returned to Carrow Road.
“The guys are creating chances — I could have scored more,” Pukki said.
Newcastle has lost both of its opening games under new manager Steve Bruce.
AUBAMEYANG AGAIN
Another striker to have started the season strongly is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has grabbed winning goals in each of Arsenal’s first two games.
A week after scoring the only goal at Newcastle, Aubameyang led Arsenal to a 2-1 win over Burnley with a shot inside the near post from the edge of the area. He was tied as the top scorer last season with Liverpool attackers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
The standout player for Arsenal, though, was Dani Ceballos, who is on a season-long loan from Real Madrid. He set up both goals — the first was scored by Alexandre Lacazette — and showed the touch and vision Arsenal has been missing since the departure of another Spanish playmaker, Santi Cazorla.
WINS FOR EVERTON, BOURNEMOUTH
Everton and Bournemouth got their first wins after opening the season with draws.
Brazilian winger Bernard scored in the first half to secure a 1-0 victory for Everton against Watford, while Bournemouth built on a second-minute penalty from Josh King and beat Aston Villa 2-1.
Jack Grealish, the Villa captain, has lost a record 20 straight Premier League games, stretching back to when the team was last in the top flight in 2015-16.
Brighton and West Ham drew 1-1 in the other match.