LONDON – Angelique Kerber and Ashleigh Barty started Wimbledon with victories over Tatjana Maria and Saisai Zheng respectively on Tuesday, while Garbiñe Muguruza had another setback.
Kerber, 2019 Eastbourne runner-up on Saturday, managed to recover her form at the London-based Grand Slam last season when the German prevailed over American star Serena Williams in the final to lift the 2018 trophy.
Regaining her form from last year helped the fifth-ranked German player to top her countrywoman Maria, 65th-ranked, in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday, after an hour and 21 minutes of play.
The former world number one is the player with the most number of victories over the three most recent tournaments at Wimbledon, with 17 encounters and two defeats in the past three years.
In the next round, Kerber will take on Lauren Davis, of the United States, who defeated Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova 6-3, 6-2.
At her first Grand Slam as a top-seeded player, Barty stamped her authority over Zheng, world number 43, with a 6-4, 6-2 win after 76 minutes of play.
It was her fourth victory over the Chinese player in their head-to-head clashes.
Barty also managed to extend her singles winning streak since the 2019 Roland Garros to 13 matches, as she was crowned the champion of the clay-court French Open Grand Slam and the grass-court Birmingham tournament.
The Australian is set to play Alison Van Uytvanck in the second round after the Belgian battled for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win over Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Barty, 23, won the 2011 junior Grand Slam title at Wimbledon at the age of 15.
If she wins this year’s tournament, she will be the first player to win the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double since Martina Navratilova in 1984.
Muguruza, 2017 champion and 2015 runner-up, was knocked out of the first round with a shocking 6-4, 6-4 defeat to the promising Brazilian player Beatriz Haddad Maia after an hour and a half.
It was her first defeat in the first round of Wimbledon since 2014.
Her compatriot Carla Suarez prevailed over Australian Samantha Stosur with a 6-2, 7-5 win, setting a second-round clash against French Pauline Parmentier.
Elise Mertens of Belgium made the second round after her easy 6-2, 6-0 win over Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro.
She will play Monica Niculescu of Romania, who earned a hard-fought 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 win over Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.