Eight time champion Roger Federer has got his campaign off to a flying start after a straightforward 6-1,6-4,6-3 win over the Serbian Dusan Lajovic in 79 minutes on Opening Day at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. The top seeded Swiss, who had worn Nike for his entire professional career, has a new look, sporting Uniqlo apparel, never faced break point against the same player he faced in the opening round last year.
Federer got early breaks of serve in all three sets against the 58th ranked Serb who confidentally held serve in the opening game on what is traditionally called the Gentleman’s Day when the defending champion plays the first match on the hallowed Center Court. The Swiss maestro then reeled off nine consecutive games to race to a 6-1,3-1 lead in only 32 minutes.
Lajovic then lost serve to open the third set and the Swiss held his own serve for the remainder of the match. Federer is now 17-3 in opening round matches in his 20th straight appearance, and is 67-6 in first round matches at Grand Slams. Federer who is bidding to become the first man in Open Era to win five Grand Slam trophies after turning 30, has not lost in the opening round of a major since losing to Luis Horna at Roland Garros in 2003, the year he won his first of eight Wimbledon titles.
Marin Cilic of Croatia, the man who Federer beat in last year’s final, fired 21 aces against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1,6-4,6-4 reaching the second round at Wimbledon for the seventh consecutive year. Cillic, who won his second title at Queen’s Club beating three time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic is seeded to meet Federer in the Semi-finals which could be their third consecutive meeting at Wimbledon. Federer saved two match points after rallying from a two set deficit in the quarter finals in 2016 to win in five sets and then beat the Croat in last year’s final in straight sets.
Borna Coric of Croatia, who is the only man to have beaten Federer on grass this year in the final of the Gerry Weber Open and was drawn in a possible rematch in the fourth round, was bundled out 6-7(6),2-6,2-6 by another GenNext star Daniil Medvedev of Russia. Coric squandered one set point in the first set and seemed hampered by foot injury as Medvedev raced through the next two sets. Milos Raonic, the 2016 finalist defeated home favourite Liam Broady 7-5,6-0,6-1 in only 91 minutes to advance to the second round for the seventh consecutive year. His projected third round opponent Lucas Pouille of France, beat the in-form American Denis Kudla 6-3,6-3,2-6,6-3 in two hours and seven minutes.
Four of the biggest servers in the men’s game also advanced as eighth seeded Kevin Anderson beat Norbert Gombos, s qualifier from the Slovak Republic, 6-3,6-4,6-4, ninth seeded John Isner beat the German qualifier Yannick Maden 6-2,7-6(4),7-5, while last year’s semi-finalist, eleventh seeded Sam Querrey beat the Australian Jordan Thompson 6-2,6-4,6-3. Meanwhile the 38 year old Ivo Karlovic of Croatia came from a set down to beat the veteran Russian Mikhail Youzhny 4-6,7-5,7-6(7),6-3. The German Phillip Kohlschreiber, seeded 25th, beat the Russian Evgeny Donskoy 6-2,6-4,7-5.
The biggest upset of the day came in the form of sixth seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov who surprisingly lost 6-1,6-7(3),6-7(5),4-6 in the last match of the day on center court to the three time grand slam champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland who has struggled since returning from injury. Wawrinka saved two set points in the third set in which he also came from a break of serve down. The Argentine Leonardo Mayer squandered a two set lead as the German Jan Lennard Struff won 3-6,6-7(5),7-6(5),7-6(5),6-1.
The following is the list of matches involving seeded players to be played on Day 2 with my pick mentioned first:-
Rafael Nadal (2) v. Dudi Sela (-)
Marco Cecchinato (29) v. Alex de Minaur (-)
Fabio Fognini (19) v. Taro Daniel (-)
Diego Schwartzman (14) v. Mirza Basic (-)
David Goffin (10) v. Matthew Ebden (-)
Jack Sock (18) v. Matteo Berrettini (-)
Jeremy Chardy (-) v. Denis Shapovalov (26)
Juan Martin Del Potro (5) v. Peter Gojowczyk (-)
Alexander Zverev (4) v. James Duckworth (-)
Damir Dzumhur (27) v. Maximilian Marterer (-)
Kei Nishikori (24) v. Christian Harrison (-)
Nick Kyrgios (15) v. Denis Istomin (-)
Novak Djokovic (12) v. Tennys Sandgren (-)
Kyle Edmund (21) v. Alex Bolt (-)
Frances Tiafoe (-) v. Fernando Verdasco (30)
Dominic Thiem (7) v. Marcos Baghdatis (-)
In the ladies section of the draw, the U.S. Open champion and Roland Garros finalist American Sloane Stephens was dumped 1-6,3-6 by the unseeded Donna Vekic of Croatia. The Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki beat another American Varvara Lepchenko 6-0,6-3 on center court. There were good wins for the seven time champion Serena Williams who beat Arantxa Rus 7-5,6-3, five time champion Venus Williams, Madison Keys and Madison Brengle. Also winning on opening day were Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, the Italian Camila Giorgi and the former world number one Victoria Azarenka.
In matches that finished late in the evening, former two time semi finalist Richard Gasquet, seeded 23rd suffered a straight sets defeat at the hands of fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-7(6),5-7,4-6. Nicolas Jarry of Chile upset another Serb Filip Krajinovic, seeded 28th, 6-3,3-6,7-6(5),6-4. French left hander Adrian Mannarino beat another Chilean Christian Garin 6-3,1-6,7-6(4),6-2 while Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, seeded 31st beat Gregoire Barrere of France, 6-3,6-4,6-7(3),7-5. The 20th seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta trails 1-3 in the decisive fifth set against Radu Albot of Macedonia.
There were minor upsets in the women’s section as Shuai Zhang of China, Magdalena Rybarikova of Serbia, Coco Vandeweghe of the U.S.A., Anastasia Sevatsova of Latvia were beaten on Day 1. The biggest upset saw the fifth seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina lose to the German Tatjana Maria 6-7(3),6-4,1-6. The seeds to advance were Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania, Kiki Bertens of Belgium, former finalist Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, Barbara Strycova of the Czech Republic and Julia Goerges of Belgium.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]