WIMBLEDON, England – Until last week, Jamie Hampton of the United States never had hit tennis balls on a grass court, let alone played — or won — a match at Wimbledon.
The 22-year-old Hampton pulled off the biggest victory over her career Monday, beating 27th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-4, 7-6 (1) in the first round at the All England Club.
"I'm kind of liking it right now," a laughing Hampton said about playing on grass.
The 100th-ranked Hampton first practiced on grass when she got to London ahead of Wimbledon. She wasn't sure whether she'd be able to enter the Grand Slam tournament after she quit during her opening match at the French Open last month because of two herniated discs.
"In the back of my mind I'm sure I was worried about whether my back was going to hold up or not," Hampton said after the match. "It's a little stiff but it's all right. It sounds worse than it is."
Hampton, who practices at the U.S. Tennis Association training center in Boca Raton, Fla., will play 103rd-ranked Heather Watson of Britain in the second round.
Hantuchova had her best Wimbledon result when she reached the quarterfinals in 2002. Monday's first-round loss was her earliest exit in 12 trips to Wimbledon.
"I wasn't really focused on her," Hampton said. "I'm just trying to play my game, dictate, push her around a little bit and make her play defense."