x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic defeats a former No 1 in opener

Serbian and Roger Federer cruise into next round, David Nalbandian goes out.

David Nalbandian lost his first-round match against the No 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic.
David Nalbandian lost his first-round match against the No 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic.

Novak Djokovic began the defence of his Wimbledon crown with a straightforward victory over the former world No 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero on Centre Court yesterday.

As last year's winner, the Serb had the honour of opening proceedings under sunny skies, and, he was rarely troubled while winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.

Djokovic relaxed as the match went on, moving better and better, and he eased through to a second-round clash with the American youngster Ryan Harrison or Chinese Taipei's Lu Yen-hsun.

Two weeks ago the world No 1 saw his hopes of a fourth consecutive grand slam title ended by Rafael Nadal in the French Open final, but he insisted he was quickly over the disappointment and he began his title defence by winning the first five points.

He wobbled to drop serve in the third game of the match but hit back straight away and from there Ferrero, a two-time quarter-finalist at Wimbledon, struggled to really test the top seed.

Djokovic said of his opponent: "He's a former No 1 of the world. That says enough about his qualities. Obviously, he prefers more slower hard courts and clay courts, but he played quarter-finals here a couple of years ago.

"So, he understands what he needs to do. The grass is not like it used to be. Now it's more about baseline players, which made him more dangerous for me in this match. The first two sets were exciting and close. I was very satisfied with my performance."

Roger Federer, the No 3 seed who is aiming for his seventh Wimbledon title, had an even easier time against Spain's Albert Ramos, racing to a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

Ramos was playing only his second match on grass in his career, the first having been a defeat by Britain's Josh Goodall in qualifying here two years ago, but he could at least savour a big cheer when he prevented Federer securing a love set in the third.

All eyes were on Argentina's David Nalbandian in his first-round match against the No 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic after his disqualification from the final at Queen's Club eight days ago after his kick sent wood flying and injured a line judge.

The 2002 finalist was on his best behaviour on Court One but could not engineer an upset, the Serb Tipsarevic winning 6-4, 7-6, 6-2.

The police launched an investigation after a complaint of alleged assault was made against Nalbandian, and confirmed that a 30-year-old man, understood to be Nalbandian, was interviewed over the injury he caused to Andrew McDougall at Queen's Club.

Nalbandian said: "I think everybody understood it wasn't a good thing that I did, but I was very unlucky as well."

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