Saudi Arabia’s first full marathon officially launched

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), announces the launch of the Riyadh Marathon 2022. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), announces the launch of the Riyadh Marathon 2022. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), announces the launch of the Riyadh Marathon 2022. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), announces the launch of the Riyadh Marathon 2022. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
The Riyadh Marathon takes place on March 5, 2022, and registration opens on Dec. 2. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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The Riyadh Marathon takes place on March 5, 2022, and registration opens on Dec. 2. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
On offer will be a half marathon for regular runners, a 10-kilometer race for those aged 17 and above, and a 4-kilometer race for beginners and children. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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On offer will be a half marathon for regular runners, a 10-kilometer race for those aged 17 and above, and a 4-kilometer race for beginners and children. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), announces the launch of the Riyadh Marathon 2022. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), announces the launch of the Riyadh Marathon 2022. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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Updated 17 November 2021

Saudi Arabia’s first full marathon officially launched

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), announces the launch of the Riyadh Marathon 2022. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
  • 10,000 participants are expected to take part in the capital's big race

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s first full marathon was officially launched on Wednesday, as part of ongoing efforts to promote wellbeing and physical activity levels across the population.

The Riyadh Marathon takes place on March 5, 2022, and registration opens on Dec. 2. Everyone will be encouraged to join in, race organizers of the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) said. 

“We just inaugurated the marathon for March 5, 2022, and we’re expecting 10,000 international and local participants,” Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, SFA president, told Arab News. “The Riyadh Marathon is a path for people of all ages and abilities across the country, and the globe, to take part in a world-class sporting event. We can't wait to welcome everyone at the marathon start line in March next year.”

The marathon will see runners take on the challenge of a 42-kilometer course that starts in King Saud University and continues through the city, with top finishers receiving monetary prizes of more than SR1 million ($266,666).

There will be other races to allow people of all ages and athletic abilities to participate.


One of the ongoing campaigns for the big race that can be found on the official Twitter page for the Riyadh Marathon account. (SFA)

One of the campaigns for the big race that can be found on the official Twitter account for the Riyadh Marathon. (SFA)

On offer will be a half marathon for regular runners, a 10-kilometer race for those aged 17 and above, and a 4-kilometer race for beginners and children.

People are encouraged to register on www.riyadhmarathon.org. 

The SFA is offering training programs and digital resources to help participants toward their fitness goals and to get them ready for the big race.

“We’re launching the website in the next few days, there will be a number of templates for training and preparation and meal plans for the marathon runners, half-marathon runners as well as the 10 and 4-kilometer races,” Alwaleed said. “Previously we created a program called CSG, the community sports groups, and another called RFS, request for support, if any private citizen wanted to create their own football league for example, we can help facilitate acquiring permission.”  

The Riyadh Marathon weekend will also offer food, entertainment and recreational activities at a dedicated village, while Twitter campaigns for the race have been taking place since October.

Under the Quality of Life program — part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 — the SFA has held events, programs and initiatives to help fulfill its mandate of increasing physical activity levels to 40 percent by 2030. That goal was achieved ahead of its target date.

“Alhamdulillah we achieved that figure last year in 2020 and we’re looking to sustain that momentum. What does active mean? Active means to be physically active 150 minutes a week.”

There will be a half marathon on Nov. 27 in Khobar with plans to hold a full marathon in Jeddah down the line, Alwaleed added.

The SFA, which was established in 2018, works to drive community sports in the Kingdom.

“There needed to be a body that would encompass all people, instead of just elites and the only way you can get elites is by engaging people to be active. That’s why the SFA was established with the Ministry of Sport.”

A five-year national strategy created by the SFA in 2020 targets children, young adults, adults and senior citizens.

One of its most high-profile initiatives was the “Step Together” program, a series of virtual walk-run challenges that attracted thousands of people.

The SFA hosted the Riyadh Half Marathon in 2018, which drew more than 11,000 participants from different nationalities, ages and abilities. 

There was an 8-kilometer race for amateurs and para athletes, and a 4-kilometer fun run for families.


How COVID-19 brought cricketers’ mental health issues to the fore

How COVID-19 brought cricketers’ mental health issues to the fore
Updated 24 sec ago

How COVID-19 brought cricketers’ mental health issues to the fore

How COVID-19 brought cricketers’ mental health issues to the fore
  • The sport has long had a reticence to confront these concerns, and despite being better remunerated, players face greater pressure than ever before

On Friday, England will host India at Edgbaston, Birmingham, in a Test match which was initially scheduled to start last year, Sept. 10, at Old Trafford, Manchester, but had been delayed over COVID-19 concerns.

That game did not take place because of an overnight decision by the Indian party, fearful about COVID-19 spreading through its camp, to declare this had a significant impact on their ability to field a team. This was despite none of the players testing positive the day before the game. It was members of support staff who had done so, resulting in players isolating in their hotel rooms. Minutes before the gates were due to open at 9 a.m., news of the cancellation seeped out, to the dismay, disbelief and disappointment of all those involved, except the Indians, it seemed.

They left England over the following two days to fly to the UAE, where the Indian Premier League was due to resume on Sept. 19, having been curtailed halfway through in early-May because of COVID-19 concerns in India. The Indian team’s decision in Manchester split the cricketing world. One view was that, coming on top of months of isolation during the pandemic, the new isolation had been the straw which broke the camel’s back in terms of players having the mental ability to cope with the fatigue from yet another bio-bubble.

An alternative view, vigorously denied, was that the fear of catching the virus, so close to the resumption of the IPL, would mean that the players would not have been able to take their places in their team bubbles until after quarantine requirements had been satisfied in the UAE. The Board of Control for Cricket in India specified six days of quarantine. Thus, leaving England between Sept. 11 and 12 gave them just enough time to play in the IPL on Sept. 19, whereas leaving on Sept. 14 and 15 would not have allowed this. There were also issues over whether the cancellation, over COVID-19 concerns, would be covered by insurance; or if the game had to be declared forfeited.

Feelings ran high in both camps. It was not until Oct. 22, 2021, that a resolution was announced under which the match would be played between July 1 and 5, 2022 but at a different venue, Birmingham, rather than the original one in Manchester. The official reason was that, because of other events, there would be insufficient time to prepare a pitch at Manchester. The move also took out of the equation the possibility of any residual ill-will existing there. Nevertheless, it is scant consolation for ticketholders of the original match, who are not able to watch the rearranged one, nor local traders who lost business. Manchester will host South Africa in August.

There has been almost no public commentary on the substance of the negotiations between the Indian and English cricket boards, the implications of the agreement for insurance claims, and also the conditions under which India agreed to play. The match will complete the four-match series, with India holding a 2-1 advantage. Since September 2021, the two teams have undergone shifting fortunes. Both have different captains and coaches. After desperately poor performances in Australia and the West Indies, England have been re-energized by new management, having beaten New Zealand 3-0 in a Test series, which ended last Monday.

India was beaten 2-1 by South Africa in a three match Test series in December 2021/January 2022, after which its highly successful captain, Virat Kohli, resigned, following tensions with the BCCI. Under his successor, Rohit Sharma, India beat Sri Lanka in a two match Test series in February 2022. It is ironic that he has tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the upcoming Test and, with the appointed vice-captain ruled out by injury, the Indians have appointed a pace bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, as captain, in an unusual move.

What is clear is that COVID-19 continues to impact not only this series but cricket, in general. The mental health and well-being issues cited by the Indian camp last September have also applied to other cricketers during the pandemic. The new England captain, Ben Stokes, took a break from the game in July 2021 to deal with his own issues, thus missing the series against India. It is another quirk of fate that he joins the series for the final match.

By its very nature, cricket has long had an uneasy relationship with mental health and a reticence to confront it. Cricketers spend much time alone, both on and off the pitch, with ample opportunities for reflection and rumination. Worries about form, technique and injury can generate self-doubt, which can be preyed upon by opponents. This scope for introspection has received impetus from experiences generated by the pandemic. These have created abnormal relations with families, friends, teammates, spectators, opponents and media. They have been superimposed upon the normal issues which confront cricketers performing as individuals within a team environment.

Cricket has also attracted attention as a sport which, since the early 20th Century, has allegedly suffered a higher-than-average proportion of suicides by professional players. Studies of these cases have sought to uncover the role that cricket may have played. The evidence is inconclusive, because of small sample sizes, a lack of rigorous data collection and a lack of clarity about causes of death. The only linkages seem to be that the individuals had either depressive histories and/or health/financial problems in their post-playing days that brought them to their ultimate decision.

Cricketers are now better remunerated but the pressures to perform seem greater. Some former professional cricketers have talked openly about this subject, yet reluctance to reach out for help still appears to exist, despite increasing avenues of support becoming available. Although the extent that mental health issues contributed to the decision at Manchester last September remains opaque, a new awareness of their impact has been created. Acknowledgement should not be regarded as weakness. Cricket has a fresh opportunity to systemically address them across its realm.


Saudi Arabia bowling team win bronze at IBF U-21 World Championship

Saudi Arabia bowling team win bronze at IBF U-21 World Championship
Updated 30 June 2022

Saudi Arabia bowling team win bronze at IBF U-21 World Championship

Saudi Arabia bowling team win bronze at IBF U-21 World Championship
  • First medal for the Kingdom in this age group

The Saudi Arabian youth bowling squad have claimed bronze in the team category of the IBF U-21 World Championship 2022 in Sweden.

The tournament took place from June 20 to 29 at Helsingborg’s Olympia Bowl. This is the country’s first ever team medal at this age group, following the individual bronze that Abdulrahman Al-Khelaiwi won in the 2017 edition of the competition.

Representing the team were Bandar Al-Yaba, Ahmed Abu Al-Rish, Muhammad Abu Al-Rish, and Ziad Al-Tuwairib.

Despite losing to their Czech counterparts in their last-four match of the team competition, the young Saudis still made the podium as joint third place finishers along with Australia.

The rules of the tournament state that both losing semifinalists be awarded bronze medals.


Saudi clubs gear up for next season, new coach already at Al-Nassr

Saudi clubs gear up for next season, new coach already at Al-Nassr
Updated 30 June 2022

Saudi clubs gear up for next season, new coach already at Al-Nassr

Saudi clubs gear up for next season, new coach already at Al-Nassr
  • Champions Al-Hilal extends Jang Hyun-soo’s contract, with defender Ali Al-Bulaihi and keeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf likely to stay
  • New management at runners-up Al-Ittihad possible after disastrous title bid

On Monday evening, Al-Hilal became champions of Saudi Arabia for the 18th time, defeating Al-Faisaly to finish first above Al-Ittihad, but the next day, rivals were already on the move, making plans for next season.

There is not much time for rest and preparation. The just-finished campaign lasted for 10-and-a-half months due to international breaks, continental club commitments, the AFC U-23 Asian Cup (which Saudi Arabia won earlier this month) and the postponement in May due to the death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Those that start early will get the advantage and Al-Nassr, for one, are wasting no time. Head coach Miguel Angel Rosso was always going to be on his way at the end of the season, though the Argentine boss did manage to get the Yellows to third, just four points behind Al-Ittihad and six behind the champions. Bosses at the club had their eyes on another coach for some time, and on Tuesday announced that they had finally got their man.

Rudi Garcia is preparing to leave France and head to Saudi Arabia on a two-year contract.

“The first step to prepare for the next season is to contract with the coach,” Musalli Al-Muammar, CEO of Al-Nassr, said. “The negotiations were long and arduous but we got through the obstacles and difficulties. Garcia will be in Riyadh next week, to complete preparations and study the situation of the team.”

The Frenchman has a fine resume. He was linked in November to the interim Manchester United head coach position that eventually was filled by Ralf Rangnick. The 58-year-old was in charge of Lyon in 2020 when they knocked Juventus and Manchester City out of the UEFA Champions League and went all the way to the semifinals where they were eliminated by Bayern Munich. He took Roma to successive second-place finishes behind the dominant Juventus and now has a two-year contract to take Al-Nassr back to the top of Saudi football for the first time since 2019, when they won their ninth title.

First order of business for Garcia will be to keep Talisca, the Brazilian who scored 20 goals last season. There have been reports that he may be heading back to Europe, though recent comments from the man himself suggest that he may stay. Meanwhile, Vincent Aboubakar, looks to be heading to Qatar. The Cameroonian striker scored eight goals though was not quite as impressive after returning from the African Cup of Nations earlier this year as top scorer. Uruguayan forward Jonathan Rodriguez has already left. Argentine defender Ramon Mori is also likely to be surplus to requirements along with Brazilian midfielder Anselmo.

One benefit of getting a coach with recent experience at the top of the European game is the players he can bring in. Already French media is reporting that Al-Nassr are about to beat Lyon to sign Ghislain Konan, the Ivory Coast international left-back. He has been one of the most highly rated defenders in the French league and would be a fine addition to the SPL.

David Ospina has also been strongly linked with Riyadh. The former Arsenal goalkeeper has been released by Napoli and it was thought that he could be heading to Lazio but that was before Garcia took the job in Riyadh. It remains to be seen if one or both of those stars follow Garcia from Europe to Saudi Arabia but it is certain that there will be more talent to arrive at Al-Nassr in the coming weeks.

Like true champions Al-Hilal have not been standing still either and have already announced the extension of Jang Hyun-soo’s contract and it is likely that central defensive partner Ali Al-Bulaihi and goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf will get the same treatment.

And what of Al-Ittihad? The Tigers, who led the SPL table so long but then let a 16-point advantage over Al-Hilal become a two-point deficit when it mattered, are licking their wounds. The pain will be there for some time to come but preparations for next season can’t wait. They are going to go ahead without Cosmin Contra. For much of the season it was questionable whether the Romanian boss needed to win the title to keep his job but the way it ended, with Al-Ittihad throwing it away and dropping 13 points from the last eight games, means that there will be a new coaching team in place. Club officials are hoping it is sooner rather than later.

There is plenty of talent in Jeddah with the prolific Romarinho in attack, the talented Igor Coronado and the commanding Ahmed Hegazi in defense. Winger Fahad Al-Muwallad is set to appeal the 18-month ban he received in May for testing positive for a banned substance, and his return would be a big boost. It may be harder to keep Moroccan striker Abderrazak Hamdallah who has been linked with a move to Europe. Most importantly however is getting the right coach in quickly.

Football never stops and last season is already history. There is a lot of work for title hopefuls if they are going to give themselves the best chance of stopping Al-Hilal making it four in a row. Al-Nassr are making the early running but all need to get their preparations in gear.


NBA free agency opens Thursday, starting deal-making season

NBA free agency opens Thursday, starting deal-making season
A person familiar with the situation said James Harden chose not to exercise his $47.4 million option for next season. (AP)
Updated 30 June 2022

NBA free agency opens Thursday, starting deal-making season

NBA free agency opens Thursday, starting deal-making season
  • The largest deal, in terms of actual dollars, coming in the next few days almost certainly won’t have anything to do with a free agent: All signs point to two-time reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic being offered a supermax extension in the $260 million range

NEW YORK: Let the talking begin. The trading, too, and eventually the signing.

Free agency officially opens Thursday in the NBA, with teams able to begin negotiating at 6 p.m. Eastern with players who are not under contract — although, in reality, free agency and the slew of offseason movement is already off and running.

James Harden declined his $47 million option for next season with Philadelphia on Wednesday and became a free agent — but told the team he intends to stay on a new deal that will allow the 76ers the flexibility they need to sign other players this summer, according to a person with direct knowledge of that situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither Harden nor the 76ers confirmed those plans publicly.

And Harden’s decision came almost simultaneously Wednesday with another massive move — the San Antonio Spurs are trading All-Star guard Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks for Danilo Gallinari and three first-round picks, according to another person with direct knowledge of the terms of that deal who spoke to AP with anonymity because the trade had not been announced by either side. ESPN first reported the completion of that deal, which pairs Murray with another All-Star in Trae Young in the Hawks’ backcourt.

Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook have already made their decisions; both could have been free agents this summer and found a combined 84 million reasons not to hit the open market — $47 million for Westbrook to opt-in for the last year of his deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, and nearly $37 million for Irving to do the same with the Brooklyn Nets.

Jalen Brunson will be in demand early, with the expectation that he’ll quickly agree to leave Dallas and become the new point guard in New York. And there will be players who might decide to look elsewhere, or accept huge $200-million-plus deals with their current teams — opportunities that are presenting themselves to Zach LaVine with Chicago and Bradley Beal with Washington.

The largest deal, in terms of actual dollars, coming in the next few days almost certainly won’t have anything to do with a free agent: All signs point to two-time reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic being offered a supermax extension in the $260 million range by the Denver Nuggets. The only question there will be how quickly he finds a pen to put to that paper.

Minnesota can give Karl-Anthony Towns a supermax of about $210 million this summer, as can Phoenix with Devin Booker.

Other players are restricted free agents, meaning their current teams will have the right to match offers from other clubs. The most notable name on that list is Deandre Ayton, the Phoenix center who was the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft but watched others in his draft class get their first extensions last summer.

Some players will be free agents in name only. John Wall, for example, will get $41 million in a buyout from the Houston Rockets, and has already decided that he wants to play for the Los Angeles Clippers next season. The Clippers are expected to use a $6.4 million exception to sign Wall, and that figure matches the money that Wall gave back to make the buyout of what would have been the final year of his contract happen.

“We’ll see what happens as free agency opens up and everything else,” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said. “I think the sky’s the limit for our team. The sky is the limit. ... And of course, you’ve got to have a little bit of luck to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy, which is what we’d really like.”

That will be everyone’s goal come 6 p.m. Thursday, to find ways to get closer to the Larry O’Brien, whether that’s in 2023 or beyond.

Such thinking even applies to the champion Golden State Warriors, who have a slew of rotation players — Kevon Looney, Otto Porter, Gary Payton II among them — who just last week were enjoying a parade through San Francisco and are now free to go elsewhere if the opportunities and dollars are right.

“We still do need to surround the team with vets and that’s the plan in free agency,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said. “It’s easier to get some of the older players, we think, in free agency than young players. Young players are probably the most in-demand in free agency.”

True, and that’s another element of this time of year: Young players, and not grabbing them in free agency this year, but keeping them out of free agency in future years.

Ja Morant will surely be offered a max rookie extension by Memphis, one that will kick in with the 2023-24 season. The Zion Williamson situation in New Orleans will be interesting, as the Pelicans decide how much to offer to — or safely structure a deal for — a No. 1 pick who has missed the majority of his first three NBA seasons because of injury issues. Miami is planning to offer sixth man of the year Tyler Herro an extension, though the Heat will have to determine what number makes the most sense for them going forward.

And, of course, there is a LeBron James angle: The Los Angeles Lakers were a disaster last season and will aim to revamp their roster, plus can give James a two-year extension in August worth nearly $100 million. But before he signs, they have far more pressing concerns.

Officially, it all starts Thursday. A new season is already here.


Djokovic breezes through to third round as Murray exits Wimbledon

Djokovic breezes through to third round as Murray exits Wimbledon
Updated 30 June 2022

Djokovic breezes through to third round as Murray exits Wimbledon

Djokovic breezes through to third round as Murray exits Wimbledon
  • Top seed Djokovic brushed aside 79th-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia and will face Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic for a last-16 place
  • Former world No. 1 Murray, the 2013 and 2016 champion, went down to big-serving John Isner in his second-round clash

LONDON: Defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon third round for the 16th time on Wednesday as career-long rival Andy Murray suffered his earliest-ever exit from the All England Club.

Top seed Djokovic brushed aside 79th-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 and will face Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic for a last-16 place.

“I’m very happy with my performance. I started very well, solid from the back of the court,” said Djokovic, who is looking to join Pete Sampras as a seven-time Wimbledon champion.

“I made him work for every point and worked him around the court,” added the 20-time major winner.

Kokkinakis had likened Djokovic to a “brick wall” before the match.

“It was one-way traffic. I got chopped today,” said the 26-year-old Australian after his Center Court torment.

Former world No. 1 Murray, the 2013 and 2016 champion, went down 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (3/7), 6-4 to big-serving John Isner in his second-round clash.

Murray, now 52 in the rankings, failed to break serve once against 2018 semifinalist Isner, who unleashed 36 aces and 82 winners in total.

“He didn’t give me lots of chances,” said Murray, whose previous earliest exits came in the third round in 2005 and 2021.

“My game was in a good place. I felt good on the court, just couldn’t get the win.”

Isner, 37, was gracious in the aftermath of his first win in nine meetings against the Briton.

“I am most definitely not a better tennis player than Andy Murray. I might have been a little bit better than him today,” said the American.

Isner also took his career aces total to 13,724 to sit just four behind the record held by Ivo Karlovic.

Third seed and French Open runner-up Casper Ruud, who was scheduled to face Djokovic in the semifinals, was knocked out by 112th-ranked Ugo Humbert, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.

But Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz stayed on course to meet the six-time champion in the last eight by reaching the third round for the first time.

Alcaraz, just 19, triumphed over Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands, 6-4, 7-6 (7/0), 6-3.

The flamboyant Spanish shotmaker goes on to face Germany’s Oscar Otte for a place in the last 16.

Otte needed just 15 minutes to reach the third round when American opponent Christian Harrison retired injured at 3-1 down in their second-round tie.

Alcaraz’s compatriot Alejandro Davidovich Fokina suffered a controversial exit at the hands of Jiri Vesely.

At match point down in the final set tiebreak, Davidovich Fokina hit a ball out of the court, was penalized a point and lost the tie.

“I don’t agree with it. That’s crazy... what a lousy way to end it,” US tennis great John McEnroe told ESPN.

In the women’s tournament, second seed Anett Kontaveit, ninth seed and former champion Garbine Muguruza as well as 10th-seeded US Open winner Emma Raducanu all exited.

Kontaveit lost 6-4, 6-0 to Germany’s Julie Niemeier as the Estonian endured another Grand Slam to forget.

Kontaveit has made the quarterfinals of a major just once in 29 attempts.

Muguruza, the 2017 champion, lost her delayed first-round clash 6-4, 6-0 to Belgium’s Greet Minnen.

Raducanu, bidding to become Britain’s first female champion at the All England Club in 45 years, was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by France’s 55th-ranked Caroline Garcia.

“I really enjoyed playing on Center Court, it was my first time and very special,” said Garcia, who fired 25 winners past the British teenager.

There were no such dramas for third seed Ons Jabeur or fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari, who went through to the last 32 in straight sets.

Lesia Tsurenko came out on top in three sets over Ukrainian compatriot Anhelina Kalinina to make the third round for the second time.

Tsurenko, ranked at 101, proudly wore a ribbon in the colors of Ukraine on her shirt.

“It was a big court. Two Ukrainian players but a lot of people were watching us. We felt amazing support,” said Tsurenko after her 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.

“Today on the way from hotel to the club, we got a driver,” she added. “She has taken two people from Ukraine into her house.

“I think it’s amazing when people help Ukrainians so much.”