World number three Stan Wawrinka became the first big name casualty of Wimbledon 2017, losing in four sets to 21-year-old Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Familiar Wimbledon fortunes for Wawrinka
Wawrinka, who was seeded fifth at this year’s Championships, has never made it past the quarter-finals at SW19 and he rarely looked comfortable on the verdant grass, going down 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-1 in 2 hours and 12 minutes.
The burly Swiss appeared to be hampered by a knee injury, as he faded quickly in the fourth set.
However, that should not overshadow a brilliant performance from the young Russian, who outplayed the three-time grand slam champion on Centre Court.
Medvedev, the world number 49, was always likely to be a dangerous opponent for one of the top players, following impressive runs to the last eight at Queen’s Club and semi-finals at Eastbourne.
The lanky Russian has a powerful serve and crisp groundstrokes, which repeatedly exposed Wawrinka’s cumbersome movement on the lush surface. He will now meet Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans in round two.
Impressive Medvedev earns breakthrough win
After saving a break point in the second game of the match, Medvedev broke Wawrinka’s serve for the first time to lead 4-2, following a miscued forehand from the Swiss.
It proved decisive, as the Russian continued to take good care of his own serve and managed to close out the opening set in 38 minutes.
Wawrinka, whose usually-potent groundstrokes misfired in the first set, managed to hurl his way back into the contest, taking advantage of a lapse in concentration from his opponent to take a 3-0 lead in the second.
However, the three-time major winner continued to mistime his returns, and a couple of loose errors at 4-5 in the third set allowed Medvedev to take a two-sets-to-one lead.
The Russian was gifted another break at the start of the fourth and quickly raced to a 5-1 lead, before serving out the biggest win of his career.
Nadal looking back to his best
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, fourth seed Rafael Nadal looked in imperious form as he brushed aside Australia’s John Millman for the loss of just six games.
Nadal, who has not been beyond the fourth round at SW19 since 2011, won 6-1 6-3 6-2 in one hour and 46 minutes. He will now meet American Donald Young in the second round.
Seventh seed Marin Cilic and twelfth seed Jo-Wilfred Tsonga also progressed comfortably, beating German Philipp Kohlschreiber and British wildcard Cameron Norrie respectively.
Bedene and Watson make it through
There were also wins for Japan’s Kei Nishikori and American Sam Querrey, while Britain’s Aljaž Bedene prevailed in a marathon match against the giant 21st seed Ivo Karlović.
In a contest which lasted four hours and 24 minutes and produced just one break of serve, the Brit finally triumphed 6-7(5) 7-6(6) 6-7(7) 7-6(7) 8-6.
There was more British success in the women’s draw, as Heather Watson joined compatriot Johanna Konta in the second round with a straight-sets win over Belgium’s Maryna Zanevska.
Elsewhere, world number two Simona Halep, 10th seed Venus Williams and 2014 champion Petra Kvitova also made it through.