Lingering echoes of COVID proved too much for Anett Kontaveit as the Wimbledon second seed was overwhelmed 6-4, 6-0 by Julie Neimeier in Wednesday’s second round.

The German playing only her second time in a Grand Slam, scored the biggest upset of her career in less than an hour.

Kontaveit was unable to enter any grass run-up tournaments due to a case of COVID and was unable to mount an attack against her No. 97 opponent.

“She played a very good match,” the Estonian said. “It was hard for me to control her big shots.

“I haven’t had the opportunity to prepare as well as I would have liked. It was just tough out there.”

Kontaveit, the February St Petersburg champion, explained her battle to return to court in time for the major after coming down with the virus in the spring.

“I tried to play Rome (early May), it was very difficult physically,” she said.

“At the French, I really struggled. I had really big energy dips, and I was tired all the time. It was tough to wake up. I slept a lot all the time

“After Paris I tried to start training again, and it just got worse. I decided to take a complete break for a couple of weeks.

“I only started again 10 days before Wimbledon.”

Neimeier is the lowest ranked female player to win a main draw match at  Wimbledon against a Top 3 opponent since Jana Cepelova in 2016 versus Garbine Muguruza. 

“I played two former Top-10 players before, and I knew that I had the level,” the winner said. “I lost them in three sets.

“Today I was just staying pretty calm the whole match, I would say. I was not too emotional. I was just focusing on my game, what I have to do. 

“And, it worked pretty good.”

She will now play the last Ukrainian standing, Lesia Tursenko, who beat compatriot Anhelina Kalinkina 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Tursenko earned GBP 90,000 for victory and will donate 10 per cent of her prize money to war relief in her country.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu was unable to gain traction as the US Open winner went down 6-3, 6-3 to weekend Bad Homburg grass champion Caroline Garcia to exit her home major.

The teenaged Brit was unable to match the fourth round here last year which set off the original spark of interest in the 338th-ranked Romanian-Chinese player born in Canada.

Against France’s Garcia, ranked 55th after once standing fourth on the WTA, Raducanu was broken five times in the 86-minute Centre Court encounter.

London Wimbledon Championships Day 3 29/06/2022 Emma Raducanu (GBR) loses second round match Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“It’s tough to lose any match, but Caroline played great,” Raducanu said. “I struggled to find a way through her.

“Coming in, I didn’t have many expectations, But playing twice on Centre Court was a positive experience.”

The Briton said she felt no pain from the side strain which limited her training and match time in the run-up. 

“I did play only seven hours of tennis this month, to win even a round is an achievement.”  

Last year’s runner-up Karolina Pliskova needed to finish off two quick games to complete a first-round match delayed by darkness from Tuesday, posting a 7-6(1), 7-5 revenge win over Tereza Martincova.

The winner of the all-Czech matchup will now face Brit Katie Boulter, who beat Pliskova last week on grass in Eastbourne.

Jelena Ostapenka, seeded 12th, advanced past Belgian qualifier Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 6-2, taking just 72 minutes to move into the third round.

2016 Wimbledon winner Muguruza suffered a 6-4, 6-0 defeat as she lost to Belgian Greet Minnen in a brief 61 minutes with the Spaniard committing 33 unforced errors and dropping serve five times. 

But 2018 champion Angelique Kerber would not be denied her third-round spot, beating Magda Linette 6-3, 6-3.