London, July 4 (BNA): Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic and women’s top seed Iga Swiatek started their campaigns at Wimbledon in ominous fashion on Monday as rain temporarily halted outdoor play, but they predicted the climate protests would fail.
Djokovic, 36, has lost only twice at Wimbledon in a decade and kicked off the center court program with a 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(4) win over Argentine Pedro Cashin after a 70-minute delay despite the roof being closed. Reuters reported that workers on the ground struggled to dry the grass.
The Serb jokingly wiped the lawn with a towel during a frustrating break in play before the grounds staff deployed leaf blowers to get the job done and allow Djokovic to claim his eighth Wimbledon title.
French Open champion Swiatek put a mark on her least favorite surface when she edged past China’s Zhu Lin 6-1 6-3, ending the contest under the Court One roof due to rain.
World number one Swiatek, who last month won her third Roland Garros title in four years and is eyeing her fifth Grand Slam title, will meet Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo.
There were mixed fortunes for the two highly rated Americans on the first day. Fourth seed Jessica Pegula advanced with a solid 6-2 6-7(8) 6-3 victory over fellow American Lauren Davis.
But 19-year-old seventh seed Coco Gauff’s hopes were dashed when she lost 6-4 4-6 6-2 to compatriot and former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, who qualified through qualifying.
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