Roger Federer needed some help to stay in 2021 Wimbledon title hunt on Tuesday. The Swiss found himself in a dogfight with Adrian Mannarino who was up two sets to one until he had to retire late in the fourth after slipping and injuring his right knee.
Federer overcame a shaky start against the Mannarino who was celebrating his 33rd birthday. But the 8-time champ took the first set before Mannarino start getting Federer on the move and holding serve with surprising ease.
Mannarino would grab the second in a breaker then he got up an early break in the third and suddenly Federer was in trouble. Federer would break back but another break all but wrapped up the third for the lefty.
Federer would avoid early peril to start the fourth, and he used that to get ahead. But at 4-2, Mannarino slipped injuring his knee. He continued, received treatment but the injury was too tough to overcome. After Federer served an ace to start the fifth, he retired giving Federer the 6-4, 6-7(3), 3-6, 6-2 first round victory.
“It’s awful,” said Federer of the injury on court. “It shows that one shot can change the outcome of a match, a season, a career. I wish him all the best and I hope he recovers quickly so we see him back on the courts. He could have won the match at the end. Obviously he was the better player, so I definitely got a bit lucky.
“You don’t get many walkovers throughout a career and you try also not to have it happen to yourself. It’s a reminder how quickly it goes. But of course, I’m obviously happy I can get another chance for another match here. I worked very hard and at the end I enjoyed myself out here today. It was great fun until the end, obviously.”
Mannarino said the slippery surface contributed to the injury, similar to one he had years ago.
No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev carried his Mallorca title momentum to Wimbledon in an impressive win over the man who beat him in Halle, Jan-Lennard Struff, 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(3). Medvedev has now won his last five matches.
“I was a bit surprised that I managed to win the first two sets so easy,” said Medvedev. “That’s why Grand Slams are funny. I thought ‘I got it, just stay focused’ and he started showing some unbelievable tennis and the match turned around. There were so many opportunities for both of us. It wasn’t over until the last point. It was a rollercoaster match.”
Struff’s countryman Alexander Zverev had a strong day cruising past Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. Zverev pounded 20 aces and hit 35 winners in the victory.
American 20-year-old Sebastian Korda continued to show promise holding off Alex De Minaur 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(5) just before the rains came. Korda is playing his first Wimbledon while the 15th-seeded De Minaur just won the Eastbourne title.
Denis Shapovalov, Hubert Hurkacz, Diego Schwartzman and Richard Gasquet were also winners on a day when some 30+ matches went unfinished due to the rains.
Nick Kyrgios and Ugo Humbert were locked at 3-all in the fifth on Court 1 when played had to be halted just before 11pm because of the local curfew.
Tomorrow, tournament favorite Novak Djokovic resumes his march to history against Kevin Anderson in a rematch of their 2018 final. Andy Murray is back on in the evening against German qualifier Oscar Otte.
“Of course in the big moments and on the centre courts, he’s been there so many times. He has a lot of confidence and comfort in those situations as well,” said Anderson. “And of course he’s a fighter. I’ve played some matches with him where it’s been really close and he is always not giving anything [away]. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge.”
Matteo Berrettini, Marin Cilic and John Isner are also in action.
WEDNESDAY WIMBLEDON SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT – 1:30PM
1. Novak Djokovic v Kevin Anderson
2. Katie Boulter v Aryna Sabalenka
3. Oscar Otte v Andy Murray
NO.1 COURT – 1:00PM
1. Elina Svitolina v Alison Van Uytvanck
Not Before: 2:30pm
2. Daniel Evans v Dusan Lajovic
3. Ons Jabeur v Venus Williams
NO.2 COURT – 11:00AM
1. Alize Cornet v Bianca Andreescu
Not Before: 12:30pm
2. Lucas Pouille leads Cameron Norrie
3. Felix Auger-Aliassime v Thiago Monteiro
4. Iga Swiatek v Vera Zvonareva
Not Before: 5:00pm
5. Madison Brengle v Sofia Kenin
NO.3 COURT – 11:00AM
1. Matteo Berrettini v Guido Pella
2. Fernando Verdasco v Grigor Dimitrov
3. Belinda Bencic v Kaja Juvan
4. Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove v Garbine Muguruza
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