Wimbledon 2023 is in full swing, and defending champion Elena Rybakina managed to avoid an early exit against American Shelby Rogers in the first round.
Rybakina faced challenges leading up to the tournament due to illness, which affected her energy levels in the early stages of the match against the 49th-ranked player in the world.
However, a remarkable turnaround in momentum allowed Rybakina to avoid becoming the first women’s defending champion since 1994 to be eliminated at this stage.
Nearly three decades ago, Steffi Graf suffered a similar fate, losing to American Lori McNeil. After a shaky first set, it seemed like Rybakina might follow in Graf’s footsteps and make history for the wrong reasons.
But with the eyes of both tennis and actual royalty upon her, including Roger Federer and the Princess of Wales in the Centre Court’s Royal Box, the 24-year-old displayed determination and resolve to extend her reign.
Rybakina initially struggled, losing her serve in the opening game and committing two double faults in her first two service games. As a composed Rogers claimed the first set with an ace, the Kazakh found it difficult to regain her composure.
However, the tide quickly turned in Rybakina’s favor. She delivered an impressive performance in the second set, firing five aces and racing through it in just 29 minutes while rain poured down on the court’s closed roof.
In the third set, Rybakina seized an early advantage by breaking Rogers’ serve in the opening game, aided by a successful Hawk-Eye challenge that confirmed an initially-called wide forehand as in. She maintained her lead and sealed the victory when Rogers netted a return.
Reflecting on her challenging match, Rybakina admitted her nerves, saying in her on-court interview, “It was really tough for me today. I was really nervous, and the double fault at the beginning of the match said it all.”
In the second round, Rybakina will face either France’s Alize Cornet or Japan’s Nao Hibino as she aims to emulate Serena Williams’ feat in 2016 by defending the women’s singles title at Wimbledon.
Later on Tuesday, Australian Open champion and second seed Aryna Sabalenka is set to begin her campaign against Hungary’s Panna Udvardy, while last year’s Tunisian runner-up Ons Jabeur will take on Poland’s Magdalena Frech.
Inclement weather has caused disruptions to the schedule on the outside courts, including the anticipated match featuring two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.
For live scores, results, and the order of play, as well as coverage times on BBC TV, iPlayer, online, and radio, fans can stay informed. Additionally, tennis enthusiasts can sign up for alerts to receive the latest news directly to their phones.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Wimbledon 2023
What was the final score of the match between Elena Rybakina and Shelby Rogers at Wimbledon 2023?
The final score of the match was 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in favor of Elena Rybakina.
Who is Elena Rybakina?
Elena Rybakina is a tennis player from Kazakhstan who won the Wimbledon women’s singles title in 2022 and was defending her title in 2023.
Who did Elena Rybakina face in the first round of Wimbledon 2023?
Elena Rybakina faced Shelby Rogers, an American tennis player, in the first round of Wimbledon 2023.
Has a defending women’s champion ever been eliminated in the first round of Wimbledon?
No, since 1994, Elena Rybakina’s victory made her avoid becoming the first women’s defending champion to be eliminated in the first round of Wimbledon.
Who was the last defending women’s champion to be eliminated in the first round of Wimbledon?
Steffi Graf was the last defending women’s champion to be eliminated in the first round of Wimbledon in 1994 when she was defeated by Lori McNeil.
Who watched Elena Rybakina’s match from the Royal Box?
Both tennis royalty, Roger Federer, and actual royalty, the Princess of Wales, watched Elena Rybakina’s match from the Royal Box at Centre Court.
Who will Elena Rybakina face in the second round of Wimbledon 2023?
In the second round of Wimbledon 2023, Elena Rybakina will face either Alize Cornet from France or Nao Hibino from Japan.
Who are some other notable players mentioned in the text?
Aryna Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion and Wimbledon second seed, and Ons Jabeur, the Tunisian runner-up from the previous year, are some other notable players mentioned in the text.
Did rain affect the matches at Wimbledon 2023?
Yes, rain caused disruptions to the schedule, particularly on the outside courts, during Wimbledon 2023.
How can I stay updated on the Wimbledon matches and coverage?
You can stay updated on the Wimbledon matches and coverage by accessing live scores, results, and the order of play through various sources such as BBC TV, iPlayer, online platforms, and radio. You can also sign up for alerts to receive tennis news directly to your phone.