Djokovic and Federer in cruise control

Mon, Jun 25, 2012, 01:00

Tennis:Novak Djokovic began the defence of his Wimbledon crown with a straightforward victory over former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero on Centre Court this afternoon. As last year’s winner, the Serbian had the honour of opening proceedings under sunny skies, and, a bit of early rustiness aside, he was rarely troubled and won 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 American youngster Ryan Harrison or Chinese Taipei’s Lu Yen-hsun.

Two weeks ago the world number one 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 number one 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.”

Third seed Roger Federer, going 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 eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic after his disqualification from the final at Queen’s Club eight days ago for kicking an advertising hoarding into a line judge. The 2002 finalist was on his best behaviour on Court One but could not engineer an upset, Serbian Tipsarevic winning 6-4 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 to set up a second-round clash with American Ryan Sweeting.

Police launched an investigation after a complaint of alleged assault was made against Nalbandian, and confirmed today that a 30-year-old man, understood to be Nalbandian, was interviewed over the injury he caused to line judge 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.”

French duo Gilles Simon and Richard Gasquet advanced to round two, with 13th seed Simon profiting from the retirement of his countryman Paul-Henri Mathieu when he was 6-3 5-4 ahead. Eighteenth seed Gasquet, meanwhile, had no trouble against Tobias Kamke, seeing off the German 6-2 6-2 6-2, while Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, the 17th seed, defeated qualifier Jimmy Wang 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 7-5.

There was an early exit, though, for 24th seed Marcel Granollers, who fought back from two sets down against Viktor Troicki of Serbia before going down 7-5 7-6 (7/5) 3-6 2-6 8-6 in three hours and 40 minutes.

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