With play resuming for the year at the world’s oldest tennis tournament, a handful of the game’s rising stars are beginning their grass court careers at The All England Club. In the gentlemen’s draw, America’s Ryan Harrison, Australia’s Marinko Matosevic and Britain’s Oliver Golding headlined up-and-coming entrants in first day’s action.
Harrison, 20, started his second main draw at Wimbledon against Yen-Hsun Lu with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win. In front of a full crowd on court 12, the young American looked strong as his opponent’s fitness began to falter late in the fourth set. Serving at 4-2 up, Harrison punctuated his athletic game with powerful serves over 120mph, while Lu looked out of steam.
After breaking his opponent on a failed Lu volley, Harrison served big to edge 15-0 ahead at 5-2. Showing little sign of nerves, the American followed up with a passing shot that clipped the line by a stunned Lu. On his first match point, Harrison blasted another winner for which the Taipei-native did not even attempt to run down.
A semi-finalist at Eastbourne last week, Harrison seems to have found his form on grass in time for The Championships. In the final four, he succumbed to the steady baseline game of Italy’s Andreas Seppi on a day impeded by blustery conditions.
Last year, the young American made his best Grand Slam showing yet at The Championships when he advanced to the second round. After battling his way through Qualifying at the Roehampton courts, Harrison defeated the No. 37 Ivan Dodig of Croatia in straight sets. He then lost to the No. 7 seed David Ferrer, of Spain, 7-6(8), 1-6, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6.
Next for Harrison is defending champion and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. The Serb played a sharp match in his opening round on Centre Court against Juan Carlos Ferrero, winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-1. Djokovic won their only meeting in straight sets at the Cincinnati Masters event last year.
Although Harrison competed and advanced, Australian Marinko Matosevic was not so lucky. He lost to in-form Belgian veteran Xavier Malisse, a recent s-Hertogenboshi semi-finalist and Queen’s Club quarter-finalist. Despite bowing out in his first appearance at The Championships 6-2, 6-2, 7-5, the Aussie is currently enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 72.
Notably, Matosevic is ranked second after fellow Aussie Bernard Tomic, the No. 20 seed and another rising player in the gentlemen’s draw.
The youngest entrant in the Gentlemen’s Singles, 18-year old Oliver Golding showed promise in his four-set defeat at the hands of the more experienced Igor Andreev. He lost in front of a packed No.2 Court, 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(7), 7-5 in his main draw debut.
The Brit, ranked a career-high No.491, was previously a finalist at last year’s Junior Wimbledon Championships.