Marketa Vondrousova is the first defending women's Wimbledon champ out in the first round since 1994


LONDON — Marketa Vondrousova became the first defending women’s champion at Wimbledon to lose in the first round the next year since 1994, eliminated 6-4, 6-2 by Jessica Bouzas Maneiro at Centre Court on Tuesday.

Vondrousova was a surprise title winner at the All England Club 12 months ago, the first unseeded woman to claim the trophy at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.

Now she enters the books in another — and less-wanted — historic way. The only other time in the sport‘s Open era, which dates to 1968, that a woman went from a championship at Wimbledon to an immediate exit a year later was when Steffi Graf was defeated by Lori McNeil 30 years ago.

Vondrousova was seeded No. 6 this time, but the left-hander, who also was the runner-up at the 2019 French Open and a silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics three years ago, was never at her best on Tuesday. She appeared to still be suffering after-effects from a fall during a tuneup tournament on grass in Berlin last month that hurt her hip.

“This is one of the most important moments in my life, in my career, here in this sport. This is amazing,” said Bouzas Maneiro, a 21-year-old from Spain who is ranked 83rd this week, equaling her career high.

“I was like, ‘I have no pressure, just enjoy the moment, enjoy the tournament.’ Just trying to be free playing, and I did it, so I’m happy for that,” she said.

The initial signs of trouble for Vondrousova on Tuesday came right away: She double-faulted three times in the very first game and got broken to trail 1-0.

She would wind up with seven double-faults, part of her total of 28 unforced errors, twice as many as Bouzas Maneiro in the 66-minute match.

How big a deal was this for Bouzas Maneiro?

She is competing in a Grand Slam tournament for only the third time and came into the day with an 0-2 record at those events. Bouzas Maneiro also had never won a match at a tour-level grass tournament and never beaten an opponent ranked in the top 10.

“I’m surprised with myself, honestly. At the beginning, I was a little bit nervous, but then … the atmosphere was so nice,” Bouzas Maneiro said. I was comfortable here playing, and I was like at home. I don’t know why.”

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis



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