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Garbine Muguruza begins Wimbledon title defense in style

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LONDON – After losing just one set on her way to the Wimbledon title a year ago, Garbine Muguruza picked up exactly where she left off at the All England Club.

The No. 3-seeded Muguruza was hardly troubled in beating British wild card Naomi Broady 6-2, 7-5 on Tuesday.

Muguruza saved the only break point she faced and could have ended the encounter more swiftly had she been more clinical with her own chances.

“I’m pretty happy with my serve and controlling the emotions,” Muguruza said. “You know, to be back in a Grand Slam is always difficult, so I’m excited with the way I’m playing.”

The usual adulation afforded to the reigning champion fulfilling the honor of opening proceedings on Centre Court on Day 2 of the tournament was tempered by the nationality of Muguruza’s opponent. Muguruza was duly honored but the British crowd backed Broady.

However, the 2016 French Open champion quickly dispelled any thoughts of an upset by breaking Broady’s opening service game, and did it again to take the first set 6-2.

Broady saved six break points in the second set before succumbing to Muguruza’s constant pressure in the 12th game.

Muguruza had no complaints. “I found the crowd very fair, with both of us,” she said.

The Spaniard failed to build upon her dominant display at last year’s Wimbledon as she exited the U.S. Open in the second round and this year’s Australian Open in the fourth.

However, her best tennis – and both of her Grand Slam titles – have come during the European summer, and a run to the French Open semifinals last month suggests that may be the case once more.

Only an inspired performance from eventual champion Simona Halep knocked her out at Roland Garros, and with grass being better suited to Muguruza, she is a major contender at Wimbledon.

“The fact that it’s different surfaces, it helps,” Muguruza said.

Her next opponent will be unseeded Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.

The top-seeded Halep begins her campaign later against Kurumi Nara on Centre Court.

Johanna Konta, who knocked out Halep en route to the semifinals a year ago, made it through to the second round by defeating Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia 7-5, 7-6 (7).

Australian trio Daria Gavrilova, Ashleigh Barty, and Samantha Stosur all advanced with straightforward wins.

The 26th-seeded Gavrilova cruised past U.S. lucky loser Caroline Dolehide 6-2, 6-3. She will face Stosur in the next round, after the 2011 U.S. Open champion defeated Shuai Peng of China 6-4, 7-5.

Meanwhile, the 17th-seeded Barty defeated Swiss opponent Stefanie Voegele 7-5, 6-3 to claim her first main-draw singles victory at the All England Club. She will next face British wild card Gabriella Taylor or 2014 runner-up Eugenie Bouchard.

On the men’s side, Juan Martin del Potro maintained his record of never losing in the first round at Wimbledon with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win over Peter Gojowczyk of Germany.

The fifth-seeded Argentine will next face Feliciano Lopez, who broke Roger Federer’s record by appearing in a 66th consecutive Grand Slam singles tournament as he defeated Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev was also through after defeating James Duckworth of Australia 7-5, 6-2, 6-0.

Kvitova to decide this week whether to play at Wimbledon

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PRAGUE — Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova says she will decide later this week if she’s ready to play at the All England Club.

The 29-year-old Czech player injured her left forearm during training in Paris ahead of the French Open and has not played since. The injury prevented her from defending her title at the Birmingham Classic this week.

Kvitova wrote on Twitter that she was “Happy to tell you that my arm is improving and I just hit some balls on the beautiful grass for the first time.

The sixth-ranked Kvitova, who won the Wimbledon title in 2011 and 2014, reached the Australian Open final and won tournaments in Sydney and Stuttgart this year.

Anna Tatishvili appeals $50,000 French Open fine

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LONDON — American tennis player Anna Tatishvili has appealed her fine of about $50,000 for what the Grand Slam Board ruled was a violation of its first-round performance rule at the French Open last month.

Tatishvili was docked a first-round loser’s full prize money after losing to 29th-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-0, 6-1 in Paris.

It was Tatishvili’s first competition since October 2017 because of an ankle injury. She has been ranked as high as 50th and is currently outside the top 700 because of her long absence from the tour, but used a special ranking to make the field at Roland Garros.

The Grand Slam Board introduced the performance rule before the 2018 season. The aim is to deter players who enter tournaments while injured from retiring during first-round matches to collect prize money. Players can be fined their first-round check if they do not “perform to a professional standard.”

Injured players who withdraw before the tournament – allowing someone who lost in qualifying to get into the draw – receive half the first-round prize money.