On the first day of action at Wimbledon, Djokovic opened the game under the roof of Center Court in a bid to win his fourth consecutive SW19 title and first grand slam of the year.
The breakaway win against Kwon may not have been as routine as some might have expected. First coming out of a break down in the opening set, Kwon evened the match by taking the second set.
Djokovic started to find his rhythm towards the end of the third set and took the win after securing a break midway through the fourth – shortly after saving three break points on his own serve.
The win made it 22 wins in a row at Wimbledon for Djokovic – a run stretching back to the quarter-finals of 2017 – as well as his 80th at the tournament.
“Thanks to Kwon for playing very high quality tennis, he deserves a round of applause,” said Djokovic. “If he had broken me in the third set, this match could have taken a different turn.”
Kwon shot out on Monday’s first round and hit a big, inside-out forehand to break into the lead early in the first set.
The slim lead was short lived as Djokovic hit back with a double break to finish the set, but his Korean opponent kept the pressure on in the second with a mix of powerful baseline hits and delicate drop shots.
Kwon took a 3-1 lead in the second set and saved three break points the next game to deny Djokovic a break of his own – an advantage that allowed him to take the set and tie the game.
At the start of the third set, the sounds of rain slamming against the roof and the occasional clap of thunder could be heard from Center Court, muting the crowd’s cheers and the sound of racket against ball.
The duo traded service games before Djokovic showed his experience to get his hands on the match. The Serb’s first serve became more consistent and his bases more accurate as he broke for a 5-3 lead. A series of big serves — including two aces — helped him win the next game and the third set.
In the fourth, Djokovic saved three break points at 2-2 before securing a break of his own at 3-2. From here, Kwon couldn’t find a way back and Djokovic got his chase for a 21st grand slam title on track, while Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis waited in the second round.
With the win, he also wrote a small piece of tennis history as the first player to win at least 80 games at each of the four grand slams.
Raducanu ‘happy to stay another day’
The skies cleared and the roof opened for the second game of the day at Center Court – a first appearance on Wimbledon’s main showcourt for US Open champion and home favorite Emma Raducanu.
Encouraged by the screams and screams of a packed Center Court, Raducanu Van Uytvanck broke 5-4 to take the first set, but was broken himself at the start of the second.
Unshocked, the 10th seed reacted with a break of his own and then took another at 4-4. The next game, a backhand volley in an open field with Van Uytvanck’s scrambling sealed the win.
“To come and play here is very special,” said Raducanu, who then faces Caroline Garcia. “This club itself, it’s just amazing to walk on this ground and these courts. I’m so happy to be able to stay another day.”
Raducanu made her Wimbledon debut last year as a wildcard entry at number 338 in the world. She reached the fourth round weeks before making history as the first qualifier to win a grand slam title at the US Open.