Three Canadian get through first round at Wimbledon
LONDON — As seeded players, Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard are expected to make a lengthy run at Wimbledon.
Frank Dancevic wasn’t even supposed to make the main draw. Instead, the 107th-ranked player on the ATP Tour is joining his heralded fellow Canadians in the second round at the All England Club.
Dancevic, the 29-year-old veteran from Niagara Falls, Ont., upset hard-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 7-6(5), 7-6(4) Tuesday to pick up his first win at the ATP level in almost a year.
It took Dancevic two hours to overcome the 29th-seeded Karlovic, who fired 32 aces in the loss. But Dancevic never faced a break point and broke the Croatian once.
“I had to serve really well, it was my main focus,” Dancevic said. “But returning was a lottery, I was just guessing.
“From the first point I had to pick sides. I returned amazing, from the first ten serves in a row I got ten returns back. It was basically a guessing game, when I got into the point, I had the advantage. It came down to a coin toss, I returned a little bit better on the key points.”
Dancevic entered the tournament as a lucky loser. He was defeated in his qualifying final, but was chosen in a lottery to take one of four spots vacated by players who withdrew from Wimbledon once the qualifying tournament began.
He’s made good on his second chance so far, winning his first ATP match since a U.S. Open first-round victory over Robin Haase last August.
“It feels great, I haven’t been on this grass in a while,” Dancevic said. “I felt motivated by the whole atmosphere and being given a chance to be alive here at Wimbledon. I tried to play relaxed and go for my shots.
“I’m really, really happy I got through.”
Raonic, the No. 8 seed from Thornhill, Ont., also showed off a big serve Tuesday. He fired 30 aces — compared to two for his opponent — in a comfortable 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win over Australia’s Matthew Ebden that took little more than 90 minutes.
The men were later joined by women’s 13th seed Bouchard of Westmount, Que., who advanced with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Daniela Hantuchova.
Toronto’s Sharon Fichman fell shot of a Canadian sweep, losing 6-1, 6-3 to Swiss Timea Bacsinszky.
Raonic, who lost his only grass tuneup match this month at Halle, Germany, is into the Wimbledon second round for the fourth consecutive year, but hopes to go farther after never winning two matches in a row at the event.
The 23-year-old was never in trouble from Ebden, with the Canadian claiming the first two sets and breaking for a lead in the third.
Raonic sent over a service winner for three match points, but needed only one as he put a volley into the far corner out of Ebden’s reach.
“I feel really good about this win, I played a lot better than I expected to,” said Raonic. “I showed that I can adjust my game on this surface,” said the right-hander with a 10-10 career record on grass.
“I did what was necessary to win. I think my Roland Garros quarter-final gave me confidence and showed me that I know what I need to do to win in these situations and eventually get into the second week of slams.”
Bouchard had a tougher first match, coming from 3-1 down in the first set, which she won on a correct line call challenge.
“I expected a tough match, and it was a tough one,” said Bouchard, who advanced to the semifinals of the season’s previous two Grand Slams. “I definitely feel like I didn’t play my best most of the match, but competed when it counted, raised my level at some big points.
“I felt like I was a bit inconsistent. I didn’t take the ball as early as I would have liked to. I felt myself more on defence more often than I’d like to be. The first match of a tournament, especially a Grand Slam, is always a bit nervy. I think there was a bit of nervous tennis out there.”
Meanwhile, the 85th-ranked Fichman admitted she was outplayed.
“I’m starting to like the grass,” said the 23-year-old, who was making her main draw debut at the All England Club. “Unfortunately I didn’t plays as well as I could have.
“It didn’t help that my opponent was playing very well, It’s disappointing. I felt like I didn’t bring a good enough level for most of the match and she did. It was pretty straightforward — she played well and went for it, I tried and it just didn’t work for me today.”