TWO OF THE major threats to Andy Murray’s hopes of achieving Wimbledon glory, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, got their campaigns off to winning starts yesterday.
Federer, who skipped his traditional SW19 warm-up event in Halle due to a knee injury, looked rusty in what was his first match since he was beaten in the final of the French Open.
Despite not being at his best the third seed required just 102 minutes to see off Centre Court debutant Mikhail Kukushkin of Khazakhstan 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-2.
“It’s always nerve-wracking playing your first match on Centre Court because you don’t get the chance to practice at the start of the tournament,” said the six-times champion (right). “But it was a matter of playing solid and getting through.”
Federer plays France’s Adrian Mannarino, who battled past Ireland’s Conor Niland in five sets, in round two, while Djokovic, the world No2, will play Kevin Anderson of South Africa or Ukraine’s Illya Marchenko next after he demolished France’s Jeremy Chardy, dropping just six games in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 win.
It represented a timely return to winning ways for the Serb who surrendered his 43 match unbeaten run to Federer in Paris and hadn’t played since, having opted not to play at Queen’s Club.
Andy Roddick, three-times a losing finalist here, and Spaniard David Ferrer, the seventh seed, were also notable winners on day two.
In the women’s draw defending champion Serena Williams followed her older sister Venus into the second round, but she had to overcome a scare in doing so.
The 29-year-old broke down in tears after securing only her second victory – 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 over Aravane Rezai – since last year’s final following a near 12-month lay-off.
“It has been a disaster year but I have been praying, I have my family and I love tennis,” said Williams. “This was the most emotional I’ve gotten after a match.”
Things were far more straightforward for the top seed Caroline Wozniacki who dropped just three games in defeating Arantxa Parra Santonja, while French Open champion Li Na and fifth seed Maria Sharapova progressed in straight sets.
OUTSIDE COURT | WEATHER, GOSSIP AND TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS
Andy Murray’s second round opponent, Germany’s Tobias Kamke, warmed up for today’s clash with an impressive 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-1 win over Blaz Kavcic. The pair, who are due to be the second match on Court One, have never met in an ATP or grand slam event before.
Queen’s semi-finalist James Ward and Dan Cox fell by the wayside, but there were wins for Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong, although the latter’s victory was tempered by the fact she beat compatriot Naomi Broad.
WHAT TO WATCH
Heather Watson, the great hope of British women’s tennis, finally gets her campaign underway against Mathilde Johansson on Court Three.