Monday 26 February 2018

Federer survives early break as normal service is resumed

Roger Federer. Photo: Reuters
Roger Federer. Photo: Reuters

Paul Newman

Dusan Lajovic will always be able to say that he once led Roger Federer on Centre Court but, for this year at least, that will be the extent of the 27-year-old Serb's claim to Wimbledon fame.

While Federer is through to the third round here for the 15th time, Lajovic has never gone that far in his four appearances at the All England Club. He has never won back-to-back matches on grass at tour level and has never beaten a top 10 opponent.

However, the Serb could not have made a better start . After Lajovic had held his own serve in the opening game, Federer went 0-40 down in the second. Although he recovered to deuce, the seven-times Wimbledon champion was broken two points later when he put a lame forehand into the net.

Federer admitted afterwards that he had felt nervous at the start, which was a surprising admission given his status in the game. However, he might also have been feeling short of matchplay time after Alexandr Dolgopolov's retirement early in the second set of their first-round match.

Nevertheless, it did not take long for normal service to be resumed as Federer broke back in the third game as Lajovic missed a forehand on break point. Those were the only breaks of serve in the first set, which went to a tie-break. If much of the opening set had been reasonably close, the tie-break was not as Federer won it 7-0.

Although there was only one break of serve in the second set, Federer looked firmly in control by this stage and two more breaks in the third set eased him through.

It was similarly easy for Novak Djokovic who won in straight sets and immediately hit back at John McEnroe who had expressed concern about the Serb's career "going off the rails".

"He's very well known for his kind of bold comments and not really caring too much about being politically correct but saying whatever is on his mind," said Djokovic after his 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 victory against Adam Pavlasek. "He has his right to say the things he wants to say. I don't necessarily need to agree with that."

One former Grand Slam champion was beaten, however, as Juan Martin del Potro was stunned in straight sets by the charismatic Ernests Gulbis, the former world No 10 who has since tumbled outside of the top 500. Del Potro, the 29th seed, had no answer to Gulbis's power from the baseline in a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 victory. (© Independent News Service)

  • Wimbledon, Live, BBC / eir Sport, 11.30

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