June 25, 2012
Djokovic, Federer roll in openers
By SPORTS NETWORK
LONDON - Reigning champion Novak Djokovic and six-time titlist Roger Federer were a pair of easy opening-round winners, while 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych was a straight-set loser Monday at The Championships, Wimbledon.
The world No. 1 star Djokovic popped 13 aces and throttled former top-ranked Spaniard and two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 on the famed grass on Centre Court at the All England Club. The 32-year-old Ferrero is also a former French Open champ and two-time Grand Slam runner-up.
The 25-year-old Djokovic is now 28-1 over his last five majors and 40-2 over his last seven Grand Slams.
Djokovic reached his first-ever Wimbledon final and captured his first-ever title here with a victory over Rafael Nadal a year ago. Djokovic and Nadal have met in the last four Grand Slam finals, with the Serb winning three of them. Nadal, however, beat Djokovic in the French Open finale three weeks ago.
Up next for Djokovic will be promising 20-year-old American Ryan Harrison, who defeated Taiwanese Yen-Hsun Lu 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
The third-seeded former No. 1 great Federer dismantled helpless Spaniard Albert Ramos 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in 1 hour, 19 minutes on Court 1.
"I thought I played a pretty good match," a modest Federer said after advancing with the easiest opening-round win he's ever had at Wimbledon.
The 30-year-old Swiss icon is now 60-7 lifetime at Wimbledon, where, in addition to his six titles, he was also the runner-up to Nadal in 2008 in what many considered to be the greatest tennis match of all-time.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion Federer lost in the quarterfinals here the last two years and hasn't captured major title since the 2010 Australian Open.
Federer's second-round opponent will be Italian Fabio Fognini, who beat French lefty Michael Llodra 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.
The sixth-seeded Berdych was out-hit by talented Latvian Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4). Berdych, who lost to Nadal in the Wimbledon final two years ago, had reached at least the third round at Wimbledon the last seven years.
Meanwhile, eighth-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic moved on in surprisingly easy fashion with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 victory over former top-five star and 2002 Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian of Argentina, and Colombian Alejandro Falla ousted 11th-seeded American John Isner 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 7-5.
Monday marked Nalbandian's first match since he was disqualified in a final at London's Queen's Club after kicking an advertising board and injuring a line judge two weeks ago.
"I think everybody understood (it) wasn't a good thing that I did, but (I) was very unlucky, as well," Nalbandian said.
Isner bowed out in 3 hours, 12 minutes despite out-acing Falla 31-4 on Monday. Both players could manage only two breaks.
The disappointing Isner, who's now 4-8 in his career five-set matches, was a second-round loser at the French Open last month.
Thirteenth-seeded Gilles Simon was leading fellow Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 5-4 when the oft-injured Mathieu retired on Day 1, while 15th-seeded Juan Monaco bested fellow Argentine Leonardo Mayer, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5).
In other first-round action involving seeds, No. 17 Spanish left-hander Fernando Verdasco doused Taiwan's Jimmy Wang, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 7-5; No. 18 Frenchman Richard Gasquet drubbed German Tobias Kamke 6-2, 6-2, 6-2; Serbian Viktor Troicki drove out No. 24 Spaniard Marcel Granollers 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 2-6, 8-6; No. 26 Russian Mikhail Youzhny overcame American Donald Young 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3; No. 28 Czech Radek Stepanek got past Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-1, 1-0, retired; No. 29 Frenchman Julien Benneteau topped Luxembourg's Gilles Muller 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4); and No. 31 German Florian Mayer cruised past Russian Dmitry Tursunov 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, 6-3.
Several other men reached the second round, including Americans Michael Russell and Ryan Sweeting, and German Benjamin Becker, who topped fading American James Blake 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 6-0, 6-4.
The opening round is scheduled to conclude here on Tuesday, including matches for a second-seeded Nadal and fourth-seeded British hopeful Andy Murray. Nadal will open up against Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci, while the three-time major runner-up Murray will encounter former top-five Russian star Nikolay Davydenko.
The great Nadal owns 11 Grand Slam titles, including seven French Opens and a pair of Wimbledon championships. The super Spaniard has appeared in the last five major finals, going 2-3.
Also on Tuesday, fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will take on former Wimbledon champion and former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, while seventh-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer, ninth-seeded former U.S. Open winner Juan Martin del Potro, 10th-seeded American Mardy Fish, and 30th-seeded American Andy Roddick will also take to the courts at the AEC. The three-time Wimbledon runner-up and last week's Eastbourne titlist Roddick will meet Brit Jamie Baker.