In her first ever match against a Top 10 player, Jule Niemeier produced a near-flawless performance to upset No 2 seed Anett Kontaveit 6-4, 6-0 in just 58 minutes in the second round of Wimbledon 2022, here on Wednesday.
In each of her previous three matches against Top 20 opposition, the No 97-ranked German had taken the contest to three sets. But on her No 1 Court debut, Niemeier made no mistake in closing out a career-best win, racing through a second-set whitewash.
This time last year, Niemeier arrived at Wimbledon qualifying in hot form, but missed two match points against Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the final round. The 22-year-old had to wait until Roland Garros last month to make her debut in a Grand Slam main draw, and followed that with the biggest title of her career so far at the Makarska WTA 125.
Against Kontaveit, who has been suffering from Covid-19 after-effects over the past two months, Niemeier was able to translate her talent into a big-stage result for the first time. In her first Grand Slam third round, she will face either No.29 seed Anhelina Kalinina or Lesia Tsurenko.
Demonstrating both easy power on the forehand and easy touch on the drop, Niemeier finished with 13 winners to Kontaveit’s seven, and 13 unforced errors to the World No 3’s 24.
In another match of the day, last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova needed just a few minutes on Wednesday to polish off a win. The former World No 1 defeated fellow Czech Tereza Martincova 7-6(1), 7-5 over two days to reach the second round.
No 6 seed Pliskova and World No 61 Martincova went toe-to-toe on Tuesday night with Pliskova squeaking out the first set from an early break down. Nothing separated the pair through 5-5 in the second set, when the match was postponed for lateness.
Returning to Court 1 on Wednesday, Pliskova broke Martincova right away before serving out the win. All told, Pliskova and Martincova had the same number of unforced errors, but Pliskova fired 29 winners, well outpacing Martincova’s 12.