On the first day of action at Wimbledon, Djokovic opened play under the roof of center court in a bid to win his fourth consecutive SW19 title and his first Grand Slam of the year.
The top seed’s win over Kwon may not have been as routine as some expected. First it came from a breakdown in the first set, then Kwon tied the game by taking the second.
Djokovic began to find his rhythm towards the end of the third set and took the win after earning a break midway through the fourth – shortly after saving three break points on his own serve.
The victory made it 22 Wimbledon wins in a row for Djokovic – a run that dates back to the 2017 quarter-finals – as well as his 80th at the tournament.
“Thanks to Kwon for playing very high quality tennis, he deserves applause,” Djokovic said. “If he had broken me in the third set, this match could have gone differently.”
Kwon came out shooting in Monday’s first-round match and hit a big insidehand forehand to break early in the first set.
The slim lead was short-lived as Djokovic fought back with a double break to wrap up the set, but his Korean opponent continued to apply the pressure in the second with a mix of powerful groundstrokes and tricky throws.
Kwon took a 3-1 lead in the second set, then saved three break points the following game to prevent Djokovic from getting a break himself – an advantage that allowed him to take the set and level the game. match.
The sounds of rain hitting the roof and the occasional rumble of thunder could be heard from inside center court early in the third set, drowning out the crowd’s cheers and the sound of the racquet against the ball.
The pair traded service games before Djokovic showed his experience to take the game. The Serb’s first serve became more consistent and his groundstrokes more accurate as he broke for a 5-3 lead. A series of big serves – including two aces – helped him win the next match and the third set.
In the fourth, Djokovic saved three break points at 2-2 before securing his own break at 3-2. From there, Kwon couldn’t find a way back and Djokovic launched his quest for a 21st Grand Slam title, with Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis on hold in the second round.
With this victory, he also marked a small piece of tennis history as the first player to win at least 80 matches at each of the four Grand Slam tournaments.
Raducanu “happy to stay one more day”
The skies cleared and the roof was opened for the second match of the day on center court – a first appearance on the main Wimbledon court for US Open champion and home favorite Emma Raducanu.
Carried by the shouts and screams of a crowded center court, Raducanu broke Van Uytvanck at 5-4 and won the first set, but was herself broken at the start of the second.
Undaunted, the 10th seed responded with a break, then grabbed another at 4-4. The following game, a backhand volley into an open court with Van Uytvanck scrambling sealed the win.
“Coming to play here is extremely special,” said Raducanu, who will next face Caroline Garcia. “This club itself, it’s just amazing to walk on this pitch and on these courts. I’m so happy to stay one more day.”
Raducanu made his Wimbledon debut last year as the world’s No. 338 ranked wild card. She then reached the fourth round weeks before making history as the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title at the US Open.