LONDON (AP) — Sloane Stephens wasn’t about to let the tennis match get in the way of her plans for the evening.
Stephens took only 62 minutes to brush aside fellow American Jamie Hampton 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round at Wimbledon on Monday, then renewed one of her favourite traditions — a trip to a nearby Indian restaurant for dinner.
“We need to speed this up,” Stephens said in her post-match interview. “Normally I get the chicken tikka masala, but the last two nights I’ve got the chicken korma.”
Stephens was a bright spot on an otherwise disappointing day for the American women. Seven of them lost their first-round matches. The only two to advance — Stephens and Christina McHale — were pitted against other Americans, meaning someone from the U.S. had to advance.
The two American men in action on Monday fared better. No. 18 seed John Isner and unseeded Rajeev Ram each won.
In the win over Hampton, Stephens got 73 per cent of her first serves in and was effective with her powerful groundstrokes, especially from the forehand side.
“I just stayed really aggressive the whole time,” said Stephens, who played no grass tuneup tournaments before Wimbledon. “I think that worked well for me.”
The only time Hampton had a lead in the match was when she broke Stephens’ serve in the fourth game of the second set to go ahead 3-1. She didn’t win another game.
“She served well,” Hampton said of her opponent. “She won the big points.”
Last week, as a qualifier, Hampton reached her first career final, losing to Elena Vesnina. En route to the final, she upset fourth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska and ninth-ranked Caroline Wozniacki. Hampton also defeated former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at the French Open.
Stephens, meanwhile, has shown excellent form at the other Grand Slams this season. She upset Serena Williams on her way to the Australian Open semifinals. At the French Open, she advanced to the fourth round.
In the other all-American outing, the 70th-ranked McHale defeated the 147th-ranked Alexa Glatch 6-4, 6-4 to move into the second round.
McHale is still trying to regain her confidence after a bout with mononucleosis took its toll on the second half of last season.
McHale’s best result this season was reaching the third round at the Doha, Qatar tournament. Otherwise, she posted seven first-round losses and six second-round losses.
“I’m excited with this win and I think it was a good match that I played really well on the big points,” McHale said. “It’s just been a tough year because I didn’t get the match play. When it’s 4-all in the third and you haven’t won a lot of matches it’s a matter of confidence.”
Isner served 22 aces during his 6-1, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) win over Evgeny Donskoy of Russia.
The victory was payback for Isner, who lost to Donskoy 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of a tune-up tournament in the Netherlands last week.
The 86th-ranked Ram captured a 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-2 win over Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.
All the other American women in action lost: 26th-seeded Varvara Lepchenko, CoCo Vandeweghe, Melanie Oudin, Vania King and Lauren Davis. All but Davis went three sets.
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