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Darcis Wins Qualifying Opener At Wimbledon

Wimbledon, Great Britain

Darcis © Getty ImagesSteve Darcis makes a winning return to the All England Club.

One year after stunning two-time champion Rafael Nadal in the first round of Wimbledon, Belgian Steve Darcis returned to the All England Club and began his qualifying campaign Monday with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Illya Marchenko.

Darcis will look to qualify for his first tour-level event since last year’s Championships when he next plays German Daniel Brands, who closed out a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 win over Grega Zemlja.

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The 363rd-ranked Darcis injured his right shoulder during his upset over the World No. 1, forcing him to withdraw from his second-round match, and underwent surgery late last year. He made his return to  competition two weeks ago and reached the final at a Futures event in Belgium.

The top two seeds in the qualifying draw, Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci and Japan’s Go Soeda, both fell in their first-round matches. Bellucci lost to Australian Luke Saville 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1 and Soeda to Austrian Martin Fischer 6-4, 7-6(10).

Tim Smyczek, the No. 3 seed, led nine Americans - including Ryan Harrison and Rajeev Ram - through the first round of qualifying as he cruised past Belgian Niels Desein 6-3, 6-2.

German Peter Gojowczyk, who last week upset Milos Raonic in Halle, lost to Great Britain’s Oliver Golding 6-4, 6-1. Golding will next play Switzerland’s Marco Chiudinelli, who teamed up with Roger Federer for a runner-up finish in Halle. 

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