Federer Escape Act, Four Seeds Fall in Openers at Wimbledon
World No. 1 Roger Federer survived an upset bid, but four other seeds didn’t on Day One at Wimbledon.
The Swiss No. 1, confounded by the lefty service slice and flat hitting of Alejandro Falla, was forced to come back from two sets down to defeat the Colombian 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-0.
“Was it in the third I was down Love-40 in that one game? I’m not sure,” Federer said. “That was the moment I felt was the toughest because if I wouldn’t have come out of that game, I don’t think I would have broken the next one. I had more belief I was going to break him in the fourth. So it was a tough match, you know. He played really well and I struggled early on, but came through, which is most important.”
Failing to survive tough opening-round matches were No. 11 Marin Cilic falling to German Florian Mayer, No. 17 Ivan Ljubicic ousted by Poland’s Michal Przysiezny in straight sets, No. 20 Stan Wawrinka losing to Uzbek Denis Istomin in five sets, and No. 30 Tommy Robredo upset by Aussie Peter Luczak.
Other players surviving close shaves were No. 3 Novak Djokovic edging Belgian Olivier Rochus in five, No. 7 Nikolay Davydenko outlasting South African Kevin Anderson 9-7 in the fifth, and No. 31 seed Victor Hanescu defeating Russian Alex Kuznetsov 7-5 in the fifth.
“As soon as I was starting to play aggressive and well, I was winning in the match,” Djokovic said. “Fourth and fifth set, especially in the fifth set, I showed the real game, the game that I should play. You know, it was great match, of course. Rochus is a very tricky player, especially on grass. He has a very low balance and he rarely gives you free points. You have to work for all the points.”
No. 5 Andy Roddick and No. 15 Lleyton Hewitt were other seeds of note advancing.
Unseeded Americans found success in moving into the second round, led by Mardy Fish who held down the progress of Aussie comer Bernard Tomic in straight sets. Taylor Dent topped Juan Ignacio Chela in four sets to advance, and unheralded Floridian Brendan Evans defeated Dutchman Jesse Huta Galung in straights.
“I didn’t serve as well as I had in the qualifying, coming through the qualifying rounds,” Dent said. “In the qualifying, I was very high percentage of first serves and my accuracy was very good. I was getting a ton of free points, and that wasn’t the case today…In the first set, Chela was kind of rolling the ball around and not really doing too much, and he allowing me to step up and dictate and do everything I wanted to do. Then after that, it was a little bit more touch and go. He was lacing the balls left and right. So it was a solid performance. It was good.”
Tuesday matches of interest on the men’s side include (2) Rafael Nadal vs. Kei Nishikori, (6) Robin Soderling vs. Robby Ginepri, Robert Kendrick vs. (10) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Nicolas Kiefer vs. (9) David Ferrer, (14) Juan Carlos Ferrero vs. Xavier Malisse, pre-Wimbledon tourney warm-up winners Sergiy Stakhovsky vs. (18) Sam Querrey, and Nicolas Mahut vs. (23) John Isner.
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