LONDON (REUTERS) - Garbine Muguruza’s Wimbledon title defence was hijacked by Alison van Uytvanck as the little-known Belgian produced a fearless brand of hard-hitting tennis to topple the champion with a 5-7 6-2 6-1 victory in the second round on Thursday (July 5).
Muguruza came from a break down to survive a nervy first set but there was no let off in the next two with the third seed shaking her head in disbelief as van Uytvanck bombarded her with serves that often exceeded 110mph, with the fastest at 115mph.
But it was not just the serve that caused Muguruza problems.
The Spaniard slipped and fell heavily on her shoulder while chasing down a drop shot as the final set ran away from her in the blink of an eye, a netted service return ending her ordeal.
As the evening shadows crept over Court Two, van Uytvanck raised her arms to celebrate the biggest win of her career while Muguruza could scarcely believe she was the sixth top-eight seed to perish within the first four days of the grasscourt major.
The 47th-ranked Belgian won 10 of the last 11 games as Muguruza seemed at a loss to come up with anything that could throw van Uytvanck off her stride.
It was not as if Muguruza played badly, as she only produced 23 unforced errors during the one hour 52 minute contest.
She simply came up against a woman who kept believing – whether it was her serve, her ground strokes or her net play.
Muguruza suffered the earliest exit of a defending women’s champion at the All England Club since German great Steffi Graf was beaten in the first round in 1994.