Halep, Bouchard wilt at Wimbledon

Wimbledon third seed Simona Halep and 2014 runner-up Eugenie Bouchard have slumped to defeat at the All England Club.

Halep, a semi-finalist in 2014, became the tournament’s biggest casualty so far on Tuesday when she lost 5-7 6-4 6-3 to Jana Cepelova of Slovakia.

The 22-year-old Cepelova, ranked 106 in the world, had won only one match on the tour all year before Tuesday but had big match experience by beating Serena Williams in Charleston last year.

She goes on to face another Romanian, Monica Niculescu, for a place in the last 32.

Also exiting was the sport’s poster girl Bouchard, with the 21-year-old Canadian losing 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 to Chinese qualifier Duan Ying-Ying, the world No.117 who had never previously defeated a player inside the top 75,

The defeat was 12th seeded Bouchard’s 12th in her last 14 matches and will see her drop out of the world top 20.

However, Bouchard admitted she had played against medical advice having suffered a grade-two tear of the abdomen in Eastbourne last week.

“Probably would have been smart not to play here, but I couldn’t pass on Wimbledon. So I did kind of minimal preparation to save myself for the match,” Bouchard said.

Defending women’s champion Petra Kvitova, the second seed, took just 35 minutes to reach the second round, cruising to a 6-1 6-0 win over Kiki Bertens, the world No.108 from the Netherlands.

Kvitova, also the 2011 champion, dropped just one point on serve and next meets Kurumi Nara of Japan for a place in the last 32. Her win was the fastest in five years on the women’s tour.

Joining Kvitova in the second round was 10th seeded German Angelique Kerber who handed compatriot Carina Witthoeft a 6-0 6-0 drubbing while 13th seeded Pole, Agnieszka Radwanska, the runner-up in 2012, defeated Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-3 6-2.

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