Stephens needed only 62 minutes to brush aside fellow American Jamie Hampton 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round at Wimbledon on Monday, and then renewed one of her favorite traditions — a trip to a nearby Indian restaurant for dinner.
“We need to speed this up,” Stephens said in her post-match interview. “Normally I get the chicken tikka masala, but the last two nights I’ve got the chicken korma.”
Stephens was a bright spot on an otherwise disappointing day for the American women. Seven of them lost their first-round matches. The only two to advance — Stephens and Christina McHale — were pitted against other Americans.
The two American men in action fared better, with No. 18 seed John Isner and unseeded Rajeev Ram each advancing.
In the win over Hampton, who trains at Olde Town Athletic Club in East Cobb, Stephens was successful on 73 percent of her first serves and her powerful groundstrokes were on display, especially from the forehand side.
“I just stayed really aggressive the whole time,” said Stephens, who played no grass tuneup tournaments before Wimbledon. “I think that worked well for me.”
The only time Hampton had a lead in the match was when she broke Stephens’ serve in the fourth game of the second set to go ahead 3-1. She didn’t win another game.
“She served well,” Hampton said. “She won the big points.”
Last week, as a qualifier, Hampton reached her first career final, losing to Elena Vesnina. She upset fourth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska and ninth-ranked Caroline Wozniacki along the way. Hampton also defeated former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at the French Open.
Stephens has enjoyed some Grand Slam success this season. She upset Serena Williams on her way to the Australian Open semifinals. At the French Open, she advanced to the fourth round.
East Cobb’s other player in the field also joined the American struggles.
Melanie Oudin, who advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2009, fell in three sets to Portugal’s Mechelle Larcher de Brito in three sets 7-6, 1-6, 6-4. Oudin, now the 123rd ranked player in the world, hasn’t advanced past the first round in the season’s third major tournament since 2010.
In the other all-American outing, the 70th-ranked McHale defeated No. 147 Alexa Glatch 6-4, 6-4 to move into the second round.
McHale is still trying to regain her confidence after a bout with mononucleosis took its toll in the second half of last season.
McHale’s best result this season is reaching the third round at the Doha tournament. Otherwise, she has posted seven first-round losses and six second-round losses.
“I’m excited with this win and I think it was a good match that I played really well on the big points,” McHale said. “It’s just been a tough year because I didn’t get the match play. When it’s 4-all in the third and you haven’t won a lot of matches it’s a matter of confidence.”
Isner served 22 aces during his 6-1, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) win over Evgeny Donskoy of Russia.
The victory was payback for Isner, who lost to Donskoy 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of a tuneup tournament in the Netherlands last week.
The 86th-ranked Ram captured a 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-2 win over Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.
All the other American women in action lost: 26th-seeded Varvara Lepchenko, CoCo Vandeweghe, Vania King and Lauren Davis. All but Davis went three sets.