Former junior Grand Slam champions Daria Snigur and Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva were both impressive winners in the first round of Wimbledon qualifying.
No.7 seed Snigur was the girls’ winner at SW19 in 2019, and has continued to hit milestones on grass this year. The No.130-ranked Ukrainian qualified for her WTA main draw debut in Nottingham two weeks ago, and defeated Suzan Lamens 7-5, 6-1 in Roehampton to reach the second qualifying round.
Snigur got off to a slow start, falling behind 5-2 in the first set against the Dutchwoman. But once her flat strokes started finding the lines, the 20-year-old motored, saving a set pointand roaring through 11 of the next 12 games.
No.31 seed Jimenez Kasintseva, the 2020 Australian Open junior titlist, was an efficient 6-3, 6-3 winner in 78 minutes over Barbara Haas. Playing the first professional grass-court match of her career, the 16-year-old Andorran evinced little trouble in adapting her thumping groundstrokes to the surface.
Additionally, No.21 seed Nastasja Schunk, last year’s junior Wimbledon runner-up, progressed 6-1, 6-4 over Miriam Kolodziejova. The 18-year-old German made her Grand Slam main draw debut last month as a lucky loser at Roland Garros, where she took Simona Halep to three sets in the first round.
Podoroska, Wickmayer win on return to major stage
Former Roland Garros semifinalist Nadia Podoroska was victorious in her first match in 10 months, taking out No.19 seed Asia Muhammad 6-3, 6-3 in 1 hour and 29 minutes. The Argentine has been battling multiple injuries that have sidelined her since last year’s US Open, and her ranking has fallen to No.177 from a career high of No.36 last September.
Also making her return to the Grand Slam stage was former US Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer, who defeated No.13 seed Julia Grabher 6-4, 7-6(4). The Belgian returned from maternity leave this February, having given birth to daughter Luana last April. Wickmayer, 32, is playing her first major qualifying competition since Roland Garros 2020, and is ranked No.603 after reaching the Netanya ITF W25 final last month.
Andrianjafitrimo, Vandeweghe, Bjorklund come through super-tiebreaks
The longest match of Day 1 was won by No.12 seed Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, who held off 17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 in exactly 3 hours. Both players were making their Wimbledon qualifying debuts, but it was the Frenchwoman who dominated proceedings with her forehand and touch.
Two of the Top 3 seeds also required super-tiebreaks to advance. No.2 CoCo Vandeweghe, a two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist in 2015 and 2017, only just pulled through 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 against unranked 16-year-old wildcard Ella McDonald. Vandeweghe saved one match point serving at 4-5 in the third set; and in the super-tiebreak, the British teenager saved six match points in a row from 9-2 down before sending a volley long on the seventh.
In the last match of the day to finish, No.3 Mirjam Bjorklund ended Sara Errani’s career-best grass-court run 6-4, 6-7(7), 7-6. Former World No.5 Errani had reached her first grass-court final last week at the Gaiba WTA 125 event and saved two match points in the second-set tiebreak, but Bjorklund proved more resilient at the end.
Also holding off comebacks were No.16 seed Fiona Ferro, who missed five match points in the second set but ultimately closed out Japanese 20-year-old Moyuka Uchijima 7-5, 6-7(5), 7-5 in 2 hours and 35 minutes. Ferro ultimately sealed her 10th match point.
Elsewhere, Katarina Zavatska progressed 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-5 over 17-year-old British wildcard Ranah Stoiber despite losing a 5-2 lead in the second set. Home fans were given something to cheer about from another wildcard, No.296-ranked Sarah Beth Grey, though. Grey overturned a 5-3 second-set deficit to upset No.27 seed Olivia Gadecki 5-7, 7-5, 7-6.