LONDON: Defending champion Angelique Kerber was dumped out of Wimbledon yesterday as she suffered a stunning 2-6 6-2 6-1 second-round defeat by American world number 95 Lauren Davis.
German Kerber, a three-times Grand Slam champion, raced through the first set before the match turned wildly on its head and Davis, who needed a lucky-loser spot to play in the tournament, lost only three more games.
After taking the second set, the 25-year-old Davis turned the screw on Court Two and wrapped up victory in an hour and 55 minutes when fifth seed Kerber netted.
The American had previously been a top-30 player but had fallen to 252 in the world by the end of 2018, before beginning a rapid rise back up the rankings.
Davis was the more aggressive, outhitting Kerber with 45 winners to 13, and broke the German’s serve eight times in the match to set up a third-round meeting with number 30 seed Carla Suarez Navarro.
Seven-time champion Serena Williams survived a scare to come through and reach the third round, beating Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
The 37-year-old American – bidding to join Margaret Court with a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title – struggled to impose herself on an opponent ranked 133 in the world.
Williams made countless errors – netting normally easy volleys and loose forehands – allowing Juvan to keep her hopes alive even when she drew level at one set all.
The American, whose season has been affected by a knee problem, looked to be in control serving for the match having broken the 18-year-old twice.
However, the Slovenian, who beat star American teenager Coco Gauff to qualify for the French Open this year, fought mightily to break her.
Williams made no errors at the second opportunity serving for the match winning it to love.
Petra Kvitova’s decision to give her shoes an almighty whack with her racket turned out to be a masterstroke as the Czech’s legs finally started to move more freely, and she eked out a 7-5 6-2 win over Kristina Mladenovic.
The sixth seed did not exactly enjoy the most promising of starts – she was broken in the opening game and fell 5-3 behind when she squandered three break points in the eighth game.
She took out her frustrations on her personalised shoes, giving one of them such a powerful blow with her racket frame that it briefly left her grimacing – and that proved to be Frenchwoman Mladenovic’s undoing.
Two games later, Kvitova saved three set points to level for 5-5 and it was a setback Mladenovic could not recover from.
Meanwhile, Ashleigh Barty’s bid to become the first woman since Williams in 2015 to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year stayed on track with a 6-1, 6-3 second round victory over Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck.