With the global coronavirus pandemic ending any hopes of Wimbledon taking place last year, tennis fans around the world had been starved of the sport’s finest grass tournament for two years.
Of course, the good news is the Championships are back this year, and are currently underway in SW19, where five-time champion Novak Djokovic is tipped to retain his title — according to the latest odds for Wimbledon 2021.
A sixth victory for the Serb would mean he has won all three of the sport’s Grand Slams this year to date, whilst also drawing level with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on a record-equalling 20 Slams.
So, as we gear up for the latter stages of Wimbledon and what seems like an inevitable victory for Djokovic, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest shocks so far — from both the men’s and women’s singles. Read on to find out more!
Round 1 – Sloane Stephens beats 10th-seed Petra Kvitova
Sloane Stephens may be a Grand Slam winner, having won the US Open in 2017. However, that seems like a lifetime ago, and the 28-year-old has since dropped down to 73rd in the WTA World Rankings. Hench why two-time Wimbledon champion and World No. 10 Petra Kvitova was the heavy odds-on favourite ahead of their Centre Court showdown. But Stephens provided one of the first shocks of the tournament, as she beat the Czech professional in straight sets (6-3, 6-4).
“Obviously, seeing the first round, I was like, ‘Oh boy, this is going to be a difficult task’. But knowing that I’ll probably play on a big court and feeling good, I was excited to play against Petra,” Stephens saidafterwards.
Round 1 – Frances Tiafoe stuns 2nd-seed Tsitsipas
Youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas is tipped to be one of tennis’ future stars, and you wouldn’t bet against him becoming a multiple Grand Slam champion by the time he hangs up his racket. However, the last couple of weeks will have been a massive learning curve for the 22-year-old. He blew a two-set lead to concede the French Open final to Djokovic, and if that wasn’t a bitter pill to swallow, his opening rounddefeat at Wimbledon to World No. 57 Frances Tiafoe certainly would have been.
The American was yet to defeat a member of the top five in 11 outings, but against Tsitipas on No.1 Court, the 23-year-old finally put that drought to bed, defeating the World No. 3 in straight sets (6-4, 6-4, 6-3).
“That sounds pretty damn good!” Tiafoe said. “This is definitely one of my best performances. From start to finish it was pretty clean. If you want to play against the best in the world, in the best atmosphere in the world, this is what you train for and what it’s all about.”
Round 2 – Cirstea shocks 12th-seed Azarenka
There were some thrilling matches in the women’s singles on day four of the Championships as the second round of matches drew to a conclusion, none more so than Sorana Cirstea vs Victoria Azarenka.
Cirstea, ranked 45th in the world, was expected to have her Wimbledon campaign cut short by World No. 14 Azarenka on No.1 Court. And, with the match poised one-set each, she looked down and out when trailing her Belarusian opponent by three games in one in the final set. However, she put on an amazing comeback to win the final set 6-4 and the match.
“I’ve been a professional since I was 16 years old but this has been the best atmosphere I have ever seen on a court,” Cirstea said.“It was the best match of the year for me and the first time I’ve beaten Vika. The people today helped me so much and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a match like this.