(CNN) — Coco Gauff suffered a shock defeat in the first round of Wimbledon on Monday, whilst there were mixed results for her US compatriots elsewhere at the third grand slam of the year.
World No. 7 Gauff lost in three sets – 6-4 4-6 6-2 – to fellow American Sofia Kenin in a match which continued late into the London evening.
Kenin, who won the Australian Open in 2020 and is a former world No. 4 before injuries hampered her career, delivered the tournament’s first big shock, showing her teeth by breaking early in the first set.
Gauff, 19, did battle back to take a hard-earned second set but was blown away by world No. 128 Kenin in the decider.
“I knew I had to play my best to win,” the 24-year-old Kenin told reporters. “I just took it point by point, not getting anxious or excited. I really battled out there. I’m so happy I was able to finish it before it got dark – I didn’t want to come back tomorrow.”
Gauff, who made her Wimbledon debut at the age of 15, says she will use the defeat as motivation for her career going forward.
“She had nothing to lose,” Gauff said. “I knew, coming in, she would play with a lot of motivation. It was all about how I would play today and how I would take care of my end of the court.
“Defeat makes me want to work even harder. Right now I feel very frustrated and disappointed. I feel like I have been working hard, but clearly it’s not enough.”
Kenin will face 21-year-old Xinyu Wang in the second round.
Gauff and Kenin were two of 19 US players in the women’s draw at Wimbledon.
The highest seeded amongst the American players was Jessica Pegula, who beat compatriot Lauren Davis in a three-set battle.
Pegula, the No. 4 seed, failed to convert three match points in the second set tie-break as both players dealt with windy conditions.
Eventually, Pegula, who has never made it past the third round of Wimbledon, was able to eke out a tight final set and advance to the second round with a 6-2 6-7(8) 6-3 victory. She will now face Spain’s Cristina Bucșa.
Elsewhere, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams was beaten in straight sets – 6-4 6-3 – by Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.
Williams looked to have suffered a nasty injury in the opening set when she slipped and fell, grabbing her knee in pain. However, after having treatment, Williams was able to continue.
But the 43-year-old, playing in just her third tournament of the year, was unable to overcome her fellow wildcard Svitolina.
“Grass is inherently going to be slippery, Williams said afterwards. “You’re going to fall at some point.
It was just bad luck for me. I started the match perfectly. I was literally killing it, then I got killed by the grass.
“It’s not fun right now. I felt like I was in great form coming into this tournament, and great form in the match.
It’s all very shocking at the moment. This is sports. I’m hitting the ball well. Hopefully I can just figure out what’s happening with me and move forward.
“I think what makes this one hard to process is I’ve had so many injuries. I’ve been missing from tour for quite a while. This is not what I want for myself. This kind of fall, I didn’t do anything wrong.
“I just went for the ball. There’s nothing I can really do about it. Those kinds of things are hard to process emotionally, mentally and physically on the court.
“I’ve played through a lot of injuries and won a lot of matches injured. It’s almost a specialty of mine. I just couldn’t figure it out today.”