The defending champion Novak Djokovic made a convincing start to the defence of title as he opened up as per tradition on center court on Day 1 with a 6-4,6-4,6-4 win over the 33rd ranked German Phillip Kohlschreiber. He was followed by the man who beat him for the French Open title Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland who brushed aside Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-2,7-5,7-6(3). They were joined by Japan’s Kei Nishikori who took five sets to beat the Italian Simone Bolelli while the Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov who reached the semi-final last year routed the Argentine left hander Frederico Delbinonis on court no. 1 in straight sets.
Sadly on court no. 2, the 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt, playing his last Wimbledon, fought bravely for four hours before loosing 11-9 in the fifth set to Finland’s Jarrko Nieminen. There were wins for Canada’s Milos Raonic, the U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia, Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios and the American John Isner. Also winning were the South African Kevin Anderson, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, Argentine Juan Monaco and Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan who took out the 2013 semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz of Poland.
The local lad Liam Broady beat the Australian Marinko Matosevic in five sets and the young German Alexander Zverev beat the Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 9-7 in the fifth set. The only seeds to fall were the no. 28 seed Pablo Cuevas of Urugyay who lost to the American Dennis Kudla and the 19th seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo who lost in straight sets to the Australian John Millman.
Here is a list of matches to be played on Day 2 in the men’s section involving seeded players with my pick mentioned first :-
Roger Federer (2) v. Damir Dzumhur
Andy Murray (3) v. Mikhail Kukushkin
Tomas Berdych(6) v. Jeremy Chardy
Rafael Nadal (10) v. Thomaz Belluci
Giles Simon (12) v. Nicolas Almagro
Jo Wilfred Tsonga (13) v. Gilles Muller
Feliciano Lopez (13) v. Steve Darcis
Gael Monfils (18) v. Pablo Carreno Busta
Roberto Bautista Agut (20) v. Ruben Bemelmans
Victor Troicki (22) v. Alexander Nedovyesov
Ivo Karlovic (23) v. Elias Ymer
Andreas Seppi (25) v. Brydan Klein
Guillermo Garcia Lopez (29) v. Pablo Andujar
Fabio Fognini (30) v. Tim Smyczek
Jack Sock (31) v. Sam Groth
With such a line-up of stars, there are some promising first round matches which could turn out to be early classics in the tournament. Tsonga and Muller are two accomplished big hitting players on the grass, who will be going toe to toe to impose their games on the match. As the surface rewards their first-strike game plans, we can expect some big serves, huge forehand and frequent forays to the net in this match up.
Another match up that could produce fireworks and serious hitting is the show down between Jack Sock and Sam Groth. Expect some booming serves, backed up by equally wicked forehands and not too many long rallies that are a constant theme in the first half of the year. Though neither of the players have had notable success in the Gentlemen’s Singles, Sock has won the Doubles title last year, along with Pospisil.
There are big questions regarding Rafael Nadal’s form this year and thus far on the grass courts, it has been a case of one step forward and 2 back for the 9 time FO champ. He will be opening his Wimbledon campaign – his first as non-reigning French Open champion – against another lefty Thomaz Bellucci. Nadal will be trying to overcome his early round blues as he tries to make it to the 2nd week of Wimbledon for the first time since 2011.
Among the ladies there were easy wins for former champions Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters Serena and Venus. The French Open finalist Lucie Safarova also progressed as did Ana Ivanovic, Victoria Azarenka, Sam Stosur, Belinda Bencic and Irina Camelia Begu. The seeds to fall were the Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, Flavia Penneta and Barbora Strycova who lost to the promising American Sloane Stephens. The defending champion Petra Kvitova will open the proceedings on Day 2 on Center court as per tradition on Ladies day.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]