x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Federer too good for Lu

Roger Federer began the quest for his sixth Wimbledon title with a rusty victory on Centre Court.

Roger Federer won a tricky first-round tie against Taiwan's Yen-Hsun Lu on Centre Court.
Roger Federer won a tricky first-round tie against Taiwan's Yen-Hsun Lu on Centre Court.

Roger Federer began the quest for his sixth Wimbledon title with a rusty victory on Centre Court. But the former world No 1, who had not played competitively since winning the French Open, still managed to dispatch a tricky first round opponent in Taipei's Yen-Hsun Lu 7-5 6-3 6-2 in one hour and 44 minutes. And afterwards Federer, who kicked off the tournament on Centre Court in the absence of the injured Rafael Nadal, admitted: "I feel very privileged that they gave me the chance to do it again. There's less pressure going into Wimbledon not being the defending champion. "I played really well and my opponent was good. I could see why he had beaten so many good opponents." By the end Federer was moving serenely and playing with the aggression and elegance we have come to expect from the man who many believe to be the greatest tennis player of all time. He was made to work hard, however, especially in the first set when he failed to convert four break points in the fourth game and then lost his own serve in the next. He needed the aid of a freakish net cord to claw back the break before being handed the gift of a drop-shot dumped into the net by Lu which settled the set. The trademark confidence was back in the Federer step as he began the second set in superb style, timing the ball better and breaking Lu's serve in the second game. The serve, too, was heavy but it was the winning backhand pass down the line on the run in the fourth game which announced Federer has arrived at this tournament in a mood of freedom after equalling Pete Sampras' record of 14 grand slams. Lu had two break points in the seventh game but could not convert them and Federer eventually took the set in fine style with a thunderous ace. The third set again saw Lu make a crucial mistake, dumping an easy volley into the net to hand Federer another break in the third game. There was one scary moment at 30-15 in the fourth game when Federer took a tumble and seemed to turn his right ankle. Happily, he was uninjured and rose to finish off the set in routine style to signal his determination to make yet more history in SW19.

* PA Sport