Stephens wins All-American battle
WIMBLEDON, England -- While the only two American men playing Monday were winners -- a dish of strawberries and cream for you, John Isner and Rajeev Ram -- their female counterparts did not fare nearly as well.
In fact, the two U.S. victors, Sloane Stephens and Christina McHale, both beat Americans to advance to the second round. In a battle of French Open fourth-rounders, the 17th-seeded Stephens beat 25th seed Jamie Hampton 6-3, 6-3. McHale handled Alexa Glatch 6-4, 6-4.Stephens and Hampton are the highest-ranked American women after No. 1 Serena Williams.
"It's tough, but we said at least someone from the U.S. will be in the second round," Stephens said. "All of us, we want each other to do well. Jamie's one of my favorites."
Stephens was asked what she wanted to do next. Head up the hill, she said, to the Rajdoot restaurant in Wimbledon Village. She went on to provide an impressive and clinical description of the menu. Her favorite: chicken tikka masala -- two nights running and, quite possibly, a third.
Next up for Stephens: Andrea Petkovic, a former top-10 player who is coming back after serious back and ankle injuries.
Hampton, who won seven matches (including qualifying) to reach the final last week at Eastbourne, wasn't quite prepared for the grass here at the All England Club.
"I've had a lot of the matches on the grass," Hampton said. "I didn't have too much time to prepare for this tournament. I played in Eastbourne but came here and the court is a little bit different. Didn't have too much time to recover."
Coco Vandeweghe, an energetic 21-year-old Californian, came quite close to knocking off the 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. But after a lengthy injury timeout, Kvitova rallied to win 6-1, 5-7, 6-4.
Four other American women fell in first-round action: Eva Birnerova def. Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 4-6, 6-4; Lucie Safarova def. Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-0; Alize Cornet def. Vania King 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; and Michelle Larcher De Brito def. Melanie Oudin 7-6 (7), 1-6, 6-4.
Murray passes Perry
He dispatched Germany's Benjamin Becker with surprising speed, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, considering they played a tight match a week ago at Queen's Club.
Murray -- who is only 26 -- becomes the most successful British man in Grand Slam history with his 107th major match win. Fred Perry had 106 wins. This was his 12th straight win on grass, going back to last year's gold-medal victory at the London Olympics.
This week's commemoration of the WTA's 40-year anniversary prompted some discussion about the greatest women's players ever.
Maria Sharapova was somewhat reluctant to dive in, saying she could "only speak of the generation that I was part of." But she elaborated.
"I never played Steffi Graf. I never played Chris Evert. Never played Navratilova," she said. "So those are considered incredible champions. So I think on many levels, they all deserve a tremendous amount of respect. And I don't think one should be called greater than the other. There's no real reason than that."
Asked if she could play against any of the greats, Sharapova picked Graf. And how does she think she would fare against one of the fastest players, coolest demeanors and best forehands in the game?
"I think she'd chop me up," said Sharapova.
The first day of a Grand Slam is usually hectic, but it was more chaotic than the usual Monday at Wimbledon Park.
Despite a recent ruling from the local Merton Council that prevented spectators from lining up in the famed Wimbledon queue more than 24 hours before match time, more than 2,000 fans camped out across the street in hopes of securing one of the 1,500 tickets made available daily for the three show courts.
Club officials say that, despite the ruling, the number of tents in place exceeded recent years.
Sara Errani of Italy was the first major casualty here, losing to 19-year-old Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, 6-3, 6-2. The No. 5 seed made the French Open final a year ago, but she struggled with her serve against Puig, who is ranked a career-high No. 65.
In her Grand Slam debut last month at Roland Garros, Puig became the first woman representing Puerto Rico to reach the third round of a major. Wimbledon is the first grass-court event of her professional career.
During her postmatch news conference, she was asked if she was a national hero.
"Yeah, basically," Puig said. "The big sports over there are basically boxing, baseball and basketball. Now that I've been doing well, tennis is starting to become bigger as well."
Lukas Rosol, who a year ago stunned Nadal here in the second round, was eliminated in the opening round. Julian Reister took Rosol down in five sets in a match that went 3 hours, 30 minutes. … No. 14 seed Janko Tipsarevic lost in straight sets to fellow Serb Viktor Troicki. … No. 6 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat David Goffin in straight sets.