Former champions Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Roger Federer of Switzerland made anticlimactic but winning start to their campaign as their opponents Martin Klizan of Slovakia and Alexandr Dolgopolov retired midway through the second set due to recurrence of injuries they carried into the Championships.
Djokovic, winner in 2011, 2014 and 2015, was on center court for only 40 minutes as Klizan retired with a sore leg with the score at 6-3, 2-0 in favour of the second seed. He was followed by the seven time champion Roger Federer spent just 42 minutes as the Ukrainian nicknamed The Dog for his unique playing style, retired with an ankle injury. Federer, the champion in 2003-2007, 2009 and 2012, was leading 6-3,3-0 and 0-30 on Dolgopolov’s serve. Federer served 10 aces and broke serve twice in the first set, against the Ukrainian who was once ranked as high as no. 13.
Last year’s losing finalist Milos Raonic of Canada served up 20 aces enroute to a 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(4) in his two hour fifteen minute match on court no. 1 against the German Jan-Lennard Struff ranked 53rd in the world. Raonic is seeded to face Federer in the quarter finals which would be a repeat of last years semi-final which the Canadian won in dramatic fashion in five sets.
Another popular winner on Day 2 was the giant Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro who is seeded 29th this year. The 2009 U.S. Open champion won against the Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 in just over three hours on court no. 2. Promising German Alexander Zverev, seeded 10th, swept past the Russian Evgeny Donskoy 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3; while his elder sibling Mischa Zverev was an equally emphatic 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 winner over Australian Bernard Tomic. There were also straight sets wins for the mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils and the Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
In a battle between two ageing stars, Spaniard David Ferrer was an impressive 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 winner over the 22nd seed Richard Gasquet of France. Ferrer, once ranked as high as no. 3, was a quarter finalist in 2012 and 2013 but has slipped to no. 39 in the rankings. Ferrer was off to a quick start as he took the first two sets against the 2007 and 2015 semi-finalist Gasquet who too was ranked as high as 7th in the world.
Other seeded players to advance were the Austrian Dominic Thiem, the 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych, Americans Jack Sock and John Isner and the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. There was another injury casualty as the Queen’s club champion Feliciano Lopez of Spain retired with a foot injury in the fourth set trailing the left handed Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 1-6, 1-6, 3-4. Mannarino was the runner up in the warm up event in Antalya, Turkey last week losing to Japan’s Yuichi Sugita.
Following is the line up of matches in the top half on Day 3 with my pick mentioned first:-
Andy Murray (1) v. Dustin Brown (-)
Jiri Vesley (-) v. Fabio Fognini (28)
Pierre Hugues Herbert (-) v. Benoit Paire (-)
Lucas Pouille (14) v. Jerzy Janowicz (-)
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (12) v. Simone Bolleli (-)
Sam Querrey (24) v. Nikoloz Bashilashvili (-)
Kevin Anderson (-) v. Andreas Seppi (-)
Daniil Medvedev (-) v. Ruben Bemelmans (-)
Rafael Nadal (4) v. Donald Young (-)
Karen Khachanov (30) v. Thiago Monteiro (-)
Damir Dzumhur (-) v. Aljaz Bedene (-)
Gilles Muller (16) v. Lucas Rosol (-)
Kei Nishikori (9) v. Sergiy Stakhovsky (-)
Roberto Bautista Agut (18) v. Peter Gojowczyk (-)
Steve Johnson (26) v. Radu Albot (-)
Marin Cilic (7) v. Florian Mayer (-)
It was traditionally Ladies Day and in the absence of the defending champion Serena Williams, the top seeded Angelique Kerber opened the proceedings on Day 2. She beat the American Irina Falconi 6-4, 6-4. The 2015 runner up Garbine Muguruza of Spain, Agnieska Radwanska of Poland, Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland, Katerina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, Kristina Mladenovic of France, American Coco Vandeweghe, the Russian Daria Kasatkina and the former world number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark also advanced on Day 2.
There were a few upsets among the ladies as Sorana Cirstea of Romania upset Kiki Bertens, the 23rd seed from Netherlands, Varvara Lepchenko upset fellow American Lauren Davis, Victorija Golubic of Switzerland beat Shuai Zhang of China, Petra Martic of Croatia beat the Australian Daria Gavrilova 10-8 in the third, Arina Rodionova of Australian took out the Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 9-7 in the decider. In matches that finished late in the evening two time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic advanced to the second round.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]