This is the second time in a row that Stephens was knocked out in Wimbledon’s first round, as she lost to Alison Riske of the US in her 2017 opener. World No. 53 Vekic needed only one hour and 11 minutes to get past the reigning US Open champion, earning her first career win over Stephens in their second career match and her first win against a Top 5 player.
Despite struggling on serve – putting only 50 percent on the first delivery in play – Vekic was more decisive in the important points, especially in the opening. The 22-year-old Croatian made the most of two break points in the first set, while she managed to fend off one opportunity. 2018 French Open runner-up Stephens, however, took advantage of Vekic’s struggles on serve, as she broke her serve twice, but conceded her own three times.
Next up for Vekic is Rebecca Peterson of Sweden, world No. 78.
Meanwhile, World No. 8 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on Monday defeated Harriet Dart of the United Kingdom 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-1 in the first round of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Pliskova, 26, advanced to the second round of the grass-court Grand Slam event for the seventh time in her career after playing for two hours and six minutes against her wildcard opponent, ranked World No. 154. Seventh-seeded Pliskova is due to take on World No. 87 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who defeated the World No. 110 Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia. Also heading to the second round is the United States’ Madison Keys, World No. 11, who beat out world No. 65 Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia 6-4, 6-2.