London: Andy Murray and Serena Williams will launch Wimbledon’s new dream team against Chilean Alex Guarachi and Germany’s Andreas Mies in the first round of the mixed doubles.
Briton Murray and American Williams, who have won nine Wimbledon singles titles between them, confirmed they would play mixed together.
Williams, 37, is bidding for an eighth singles title at the All England Club while the 32-year-old Murray is concentrating on doubles as he continues his comeback from hip surgery.
One thing is certain, their opponents will have never encountered anything like the attention the first-round clash will receive with the match almost certain to be played on one of the major courts.
Guarachi is ranked 478th in the WTA singles rankings although she is 64th in doubles. Mies is ranked 24th in doubles.
It is Murray’s first foray into mixed doubles at Wimbledon although his brother Jamie has twice won the title.
Williams has won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles but has not played mixed doubles at a major since partnering fellow American Bob Bryan at the 2012 French Open.
She won the 1998 mixed title at Wimbledon with Max Mirnyi.
Murray and Williams are not seeded for the event and will face 14th seeds Fabrice Martin and Raquel Atawo in the next round if they win.
On the court on Wednesday, there were plenty of upsets. Reilly Opelka was the latest to add his name to the list in the second round.
The 6-foot-11 American with the big serve defeated three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 on No. 2 Court.
“At first I had a lot of success serving and volleying, so I kept with that,” Opelka said. “And then as he kind of picked up on what I was doing and started reading my serve a little bit, it was more difficult for me to win points at the net. So I had to play, played a lot of tennis on the baseline today.”
Opelka is making his debut at Wimbledon, and playing in only his fourth Grand Slam tournament. He had never before reached the third round at any major. Wawrinka, who has won each of the other three major titles but has never been past the quarter-finals at the All England Club, also lost in the second round at Wimbledon last year.
On Monday, both No. 6 Alexander Zverev and No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas were eliminated. No. 5 Dominic Thiem, a French Open finalist the past two years, followed them out of the tournament on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old Opelka, who is unseeded, finished the match against Wawrinka with 23 aces, with several serves topping 225km/h. One, at 228km/h, tied with Zverev for the fastest of the tournament so far.
“I had some chance,” Wawrinka said. “I start a little bit slow. I was a bit hesitating, not really moving well enough. ... At the end he went for it. He went bigger than me and he deserved to win.”
Opelka will next face 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic in the third round on Friday. The 15th-seeded Canadian beat Robin Haase 7-6 (1), 7-5, 7-6 (4).
Two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka, third-seeded Karolina Pliskova and eighth-seeded Elina Svitolina all advanced in the women’s draw, but only two of them had an easy time getting to the third round.
Azarenka, who won the Australian Open title in 2012 and 2013, beat Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2, 6-0, while Pliskova defeated Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig 6-0, 6-4.
Svitolina, on the other hand, was two points from losing to Margarita Gasparyan in the second set but eventually won when her opponent retired with an injury at 5-7, 6-5.
Gasparyan was serving at 5-5, 0-15 in the second set when she was injured. She clutched her right thigh after a serve and eventually dropped to the court, lying along the baseline. A trainer attended to Gasparyan, and Svitolina came over to check on her opponent, bringing her a bottle of water.
“I know when there is cramps you need to drink lots of water. Your muscles are contracting. So it’s important just to drink lots of fluids,” Svitolina said. “So that’s why I gave her some water, because no one really did anything. I mean, we were trying to help, but, yeah, it’s tough to react straightaway.”
When play resumed, Svitolina broke to lead 6-5 and served for the second set, but Gasparyan retired from the match while trailing 40-15 in that game.
Former No. 1 Simona Halep also advanced, beating Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
Later, American teenager Coco Gauff will try to follow up her upset win over Venus Williams with another victory in the second round.
The 15-year-old Gauff will face Magdalena Rybarikova on No. 2 Court at the All England Club.
Gauff would break inside the top 200 in the WTA rankings with a victory, having already become the youngest player since 1991 to win a match at Wimbledon.
Also, defending champion Novak Djokovic will face Dennis Kudla of the United States for the first time. Djokovic is seeking a fifth title at Wimbledon and 16th Grand Slam trophy in all.
Men’s Singles (Second Round)
Hubert Hurkacz, Poland, def. Leonardo Mayer, Argentina, 6-7, 6-1, 7-6, 6-3
Daniil Medvedev (11), Russia, def. Alexei Popyrin, Australia, 6-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
David Goffin (21), Belgium, def. Jeremy Chardy, France, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
Thomas Fabbiano, Italy, def. Ivo Karlovic, Croatia, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4
Reilly Opelka, United States, def. Stan Wawrinka (22), Switzerland, 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6
Milos Raonic (15), Canada, def. Robin Haase, Netherlands, 7-6 7-5, 7-6
Roberto Bautista-Agut (23), Spain, def. Steve Darcis, Belgium, 6-3, 6-2, 4-2
Benoit Paire (28), France, def. Miomir Kecmanovic, Serbia, 7-6, 6-4, 0-0
Jiri Vesely, Czech Republic, def. Pablo Cuevas, Uruguay, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4
Women’s Singles (Second Round)
Elina Svitolina (8), Ukraine, def. Margarita Gasparyan, Russia, 5-7, 6-5
Maria Sakkari (31), Greece, def. Marie Bouzkova, Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-1
Karolina Muchova, Czech Republic, def. Madison Brengle, United States, 6-3, 6-4
Anett Kontaveit (20), Estonia, def. Heather Watson, Britain, 7-5, 6-1
Su-Wei Hsieh (28), Chinese Taipei, def. Kirsten Flipkens, Belgium, 7-6 (3), 6-3
Karolina Pliskova (3), Czech Republic, def. Monica Puig, Puerto Rico, 6-0, 6-4
Victoria Azarenka, Belarus, def. Ajla Tomljanovic, Australia, 6-2, 6-0
Viktorija Golubic, Switzerland, def. Yulia Putintseva, Kazakhstan, 6-4, 7-6