Wimbledon: Aryna Sabalenka breezes past Monica Niculescu in first round

Niculescu might have staged a good attempt to get back into the match in the second set but it was hopelessly one-sided.

Aryna Sabalenka is the defending Madrid Open champion. (Image: Twitter/Wimbledon)

Belarusian tennis star Aryna Sabalenka is off to a winning start at the 2021 Wimbledon as she beat Romania’s Monica Niculescu. The second seed did not have much difficulty sealing the victory despite a brave fightback from the Romanian in the second set. The scoreline at the end of the match read 6-1, 6-4 in Sabalenka’s favour. The positive start to the tournament was very much what the doctor ordered for the world number 4 after a disappointing exit in the quarter-finals of the Eastbourne International. Sabalenka was the top seed in that tournament and was the runaway favorite to win the crown. Her exit shocked many tennis fans, and it must have had a rather negative impact on the player’s mentality. Thus winning the first game of Wimbledon in straight sets was very important for her.

Niculescu might have staged a good attempt to get back into the match in the second set but overall, it was hopelessly one-sided in favour of the Belarusian. Sabalenka prevented Niculescu from scoring a single ace. She herself, on the other hand, managed to score six. She did concede three double faults but as it turned out, that particular stat had no impact on the outcome of the match.

She had a superior win percentage on both the first and second serves. Sabalenka’s win percentage on the first serve was 65%, a lot higher than Niculescu’s 39%. On the second serve, the Belarusian had a win percentage of 75% whereas the Romanian had 63%. The second seed managed to bag five out of 11 break points while Niculescu could only manage two out of three. Sabalenka also won seven service games, four more than the Romanian’s three service game victories.


Sabalenka had to kick off her Wimbledon campaign under a closed roof as persistent rain in England had long delayed play. She played on Court One and she was very aggressive from the get-go. As ridiculous as it may sound, the world number 4 has never managed to get past the second round at Wimbledon in her career yet.

She will be hoping to break that curse as she prepares for the second round. She will face either American tennis player Danielle Lao, or Britain’s Katie Boulter. The latter is considered by many as a wildcard in the tournament. She can cause a few upsets and send the big names home early. Sabalenka will have to deal with the pressure if she is to successfully qualify from the second round of Wimbledon for the first time in her career.

Sportslumo Desk

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