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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Wimbledon 2017: Federer, Djokovic and Kerber have it easy in first round

Swiss Federer and Serb Djokovic reach Round 2 after opponents retire, while German Kerber beats American qualifier Falconi.

Roger Federer in action during his first round match against Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov. Matthew Childs / Reuters
Roger Federer in action during his first round match against Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov. Matthew Childs / Reuters

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer found it all too easy as they stumbled upon a pair of retiring types at Wimbledon.

Many spectators on Centre Court who felt they had hit the jackpot with back-to-back first-round matches involving the multiple champions were instead left feeling short-changed by the experience.

Three-time champion Djokovic was 6-3, 2-0 ahead of Martin Klizan when the Slovakian decided he had seen enough of the main show court. Klizan has been troubled recently by a left calf problem.

Federer was one game further on, 6-3, 3-0 clear of Alexandr Dolgopolov when the Ukrainian pulled out of the challenge of taking down the seven-time title winner.

It meant the crowd saw less than an hour and a half of action across the two matches, and Djokovic even suggested he and Federer briefly considered playing an exhibition set for the unlucky fans. Instead, an extra women's singles match featuring Caroline Wozniacki was added to the Centre Court bill.

Reacting to the peculiar turn of events, Djokovic said: "It's really odd that Roger's result and my result were more or less the same. We had a little joke about it in the locker room, saying we should maybe play a practice set on the Centre Court, have the crowd stay. But they had another match.

"It doesn't happen often really. This tournament has a special place in players' careers. In this sport, there's so much weight behind it and significance about it. The aura of Wimbledon has probably always been the strongest of any other tournament.

"I'm sure that most of the players on the tour, if not all, feel that. Especially if you walk out on the Centre Court, there is a responsibility. I'm sure they tried their best, but it is what it is."

There was a more demanding test posed of Milos Raonic as last year's beaten finalist began his challenge.

The Canadian had never played Jan-Lennard Struff before but was given a stiff test by the German before edging through 7-6, 6-2, 7-6.

Raonic said: "I did a lot of good things today, especially from the attitude side.

"I was out there. I was pretty imposing. I did those things well, which are important, especially across two weeks here hopefully.

"In the tough moments, that makes the things a little bit easier. Just to have that right attitude, then the rest of the game will follow."

Juan Martin del Potro could face Djokovic in the third round, and the Argentine showed early resilience in fending off Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 on Court 2.

"I think I played a good match, to be my first match on grass after a long time," Del Potro said. "I'm looking forward to playing better in the second round."

Two-time former Wimbledon semi-finalist Richard Gasquet slipped out of the tournament, losing 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in what always looked a tough challenge against Spanish veteran David Ferrer, who is unseeded this year but was ranked third in the world four years ago.

While 22nd seed Gasquet headed home, his French compatriot Gael Monfils set up a second-round clash with Great Britain's Kyle Edmund by winning 6-3 7-5 6-4 against Germany's Daniel Brands.

In the women's draw, world No 1 Angelique Kerber started her quest to return to the Wimbledon final with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over American qualifier Irina Falconi in the first round on Tuesday.

Kerber was beaten by Serena Williams in the All England Club title match last year and is among the favourites to make it back to the final despite a rocky run in 2017.

Karolina Pliskova underlined why she is a contender for the title as the world No 3 crushed Evgeniya Rodina 6-1, 6-4.

Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, the 14th seed, defeated Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-4.

Australian qualifier Arina Rodionova, ranked 166th, saved seven match points before defeating Russian 16th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 9-7.

Former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who has never been past the last 16 at Wimbledon, beat Timea Babos 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

Other results

Men

Mischa Zverev (GER) bt Bernard Tomic (AUS) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

Gael Monfils (FRA) bt Daniel Brands (GER) 6-3, 7-5, 6-4

Women

Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Kiki Bertens (NED) 7-6, 7-5

Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) bt Magda Linette (POL) 1-6, 6-2, 6-3

Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) bt Monica Niculescu (ROM) 6-4, 6-1

Tatjana Malek (GER) bt Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 6-3, 2-2 - retired

CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) bt Mona Barthel (GER) 7-5, 6-2