Ashleigh Barty pushed, Serena retires on Day 2 at Wimbledon

Jun 29, 2021; London, United Kingdom; Ashleigh Barty (AUS) in action Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) in first round ladies singles on centre court at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Mandatory Credit: Peter Van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty was pushed to three sets by the 138th-ranked player in the world and Serena Williams was forced to retire in first-round Wimbledon action Tuesday at the All England Club in London.

Barty needed one hour, 44 minutes to dispatch Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-7 (1), 6-1. It was just the second match for Suarez Navarro since she declared herself cancer free in April after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma one year ago.

“It was incredible to be able to share this experience with Carla,” Barty said. “She’s a fighter, an incredible competitor, a lovely person and genuinely you won’t find one bad word about her. I wish both of us could have won. She’ll be very sorely missed.”

But the stunning result of the day involved the sixth-seeded Williams, who slipped on the grass in the first set of her match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

The injury occurred with Williams serving at 3-1. She lost her footing near the baseline on a forehand. She took an injury timeout after dropping the game and returned to action but retired at 3-3 after 34 minutes.

The seven-time Wimbledon champ was reduced to tears waving to the crowd as she left the court.

“Of course I’m so sad for Serena; she’s a great champion,” Sasnovich said. “It happens sometimes in tennis, but all the best for her and her recovery.”

Meanwhile, American and No. 20 seed Coco Gauff opened her second Wimbledon appearance with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Great Britain’s Francesca Jones, playing in just her second career Grand Slam.

Eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic defeated Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek 7-5, 6-4 in one hour, 17 minutes.

Belgium’s Elise Mertens, the No. 13 seed, downed Great Britain’s Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-3. The 14th-seeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic also was a straight-sets winner over Denmark’s Clara Tauson. Greece’s Maria Sakkari, the 15 seed, defeated Arantxa Rus in straight sets.

Germany’s Angelique Kerber, the 25th seed and 2018 champ, defeated Nina Stojanovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-3.

American Venus Williams advanced to the second round with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu in two hours, 37 minutes.

Sweden’s Marta Kostyuk upset No. 17 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and the Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova topped 28th-seeded American Alison Riske in three sets.

Other winners Tuesday included No. 26 Petra Martic, No. 21 Ons Jabeur, Anna Blinkova, Jessica Pegula, Donna Vekic, Vera Zvonareva, Lin Zhu, Nadia Podoroska, Elena Vesnina, Liudmila Samsonova, Claire Liu, Shelby Rogers, Madison Brengle and Andrea Petkovic.

–Field Level Media