Three-time champion Novak Djokovic opened up the defence of his title by beating British wild card James Ward 6-0, 7-6(3), 6-4 in two hours and three minutes as he kicked off the Center Court schedule on Day 1, traditionally reserved for the previous year’s winner. He is now unbeaten in 29 matches at the four majors, tied for an Open Era record with Rod Laver.
Djokovic won the first nine games of the match dropping only 13 points. After holding serve once in the fourth game, the 177th ranked Ward broke serve to 30 in the fifth game. Djokovic saved three break points in the eleventh game before claiming the tie-break 7-3.
He then got the only break of the third set in the third game before winning 6-0, 7-6(3), 6-4. The world number 1 ranked player is halfway to a calendar slam and is attempting to join Don Budge as the second player to win five straight majors. Budge won six successive titles between 1937 Wimbledon and 1938 US Championships.
The South African Kevin Anderson who had blown a two set lead in the round of sixteen last year to Djokovic, once again failed to close out his opponent, as the 20th seed lost to Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-4, 7-6(13), 4-6, 6-7(2), 3-6, this year. The 21st seeded Phillipe Kohlschreiber of Germany was another seed to fall as he lost to the Frenchman Pierre Hughes Herbert 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6.
The young guns Milos Raonic of Canada and Kei Nishikori of Japan were easy straight sets winners over the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta and the Australian Sam Groth respectively. Also winning were the 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia, David Goffin of Belgium and the Spanish veteran David Ferrer.
Other seeded players to advance were the Frenchman Giles Simon, Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, the Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov and the American Sam Querrey. The 28th seeded Querrey came from behind after dropping the first two sets in tie-breaks, to complete a 6-7(6), 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2, 12-10 in three hours and 22 minutes over Lucas Rosol of the Czech Republic. He fired 33 aces and is now 4-10 lifetime in five set matches.
The following is the list of matches involving seeded players on day two.
Andy Murray (2) v. Liam Broady
Benoit Paire (26) v. Franko Skugor
Feliciano Lopez (22) v. Rajeev Ram
Nick Kyrgios (15) v. Radek Stepanek
Jo Wilfred Tsonga (12) v. Inigo Cervantes
John Isner (18) v. Marcos Baghdatis
Victor Troicki (25) v. Tristan Lamasine
Richard Gasquet (7) v. Aljaz Bedene
Stanislas Wawrinka (4) v. Taylor Fritz
Lucas Pouille (32) v. Marcus Copil
Bernard Tomic (19) v. Fernando Verdasco
Roberto Bautista Agut (14) v. Jordan Thompson
Tomas Berdych (10) v. Ivan Dodig
Alexander Zverev (24) v. Paul Henri Mathieu
Joao Sousa (31) v. Dmitry Tursunov
Dominic Thiem (8) v. Florian Mayer
In the last match of the day on Center court the seven time champion Roger Federer was made to fight by the Argentine Guido Pella as he converted on 1 out of 9 break point chances before winning 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 6-3. Federer is now only three short of Martina Navratilova’s record of 306 wins at grand slams. The Frenchman Jeremy Chardy upset compatriot Gael Monfils, seeded seventeen, in five sets.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]