Wimbledon: Roger Federer sparkles to blow Gasquet away

Barty flatters to deceive in Blinkova win while Nick Kyrgios wows Court Three crowd

 Roger Federer celebrates his victory over  Richard Gasquet of France

Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Richard Gasquet of France

 

The sun finally came out at Wimbledon yesterday and eight-time champion Roger Federer got his old sparkle back on Centre Court to eclipse Richard Gasquet and move serenely into round three.

It was not quite vintage Federer, but the 7,500 fans packed around his favourite court did not care as the Swiss gave them plenty to ooh and aah about in a 7-6(1), 6-1, 6-4 victory.

The 39-year-old Swiss took a while to find his timing and needed to save three break points in his first service game. But having been pushed into a tiebreak, the 20-time Grand Slam champion flicked the switch and his game began to flow. After taking the opener the sixth seed moved smoothly through the gears and Gasquet could not live with him as he suffered an 11th successive defeat against Federer.

Next up for the Swiss will be in-form British 29th seed Cameron Norrie who thrashed Australian Alex Bolt.

“It was a wonderful match for me and I’m really happy with my performance,” Federer said on court.

The Nick Kyrgios circus rolled into round three after a straight-sets victory over Italian Gianluca Mager.

Australian maverick Kyrgios wowed the Court Three crowd as he boomed down 29 aces in a 7-6 (7) 6-4 6-4 win. But although the scoreline appeared pretty routine, nothing is entirely straightforward where Kyrgios is concerned.

He began a tight first set with two aces and an underarm serve in a comfortable hold but Mager, a solid if uninspiring opponent, stuck with the 26-year-old until the tie-break. In between time,

Kyrgios received a code violation for swearing, complained that Mager was getting lucky as return after return clipped the line, and moaned that the surface was like “playing at Roland Garros”.

While accepting coaching tips from a vocal female spectator, Kyrgios asked “was that okay?” after a winner, and he responded to a foot-fault call — which he naturally disputed — with a furious second-serve ace.

Kyrgios went over to his impromptu coach and asked where he should serve. He went out wide, Mager went long and the Kyrgios Wimbledon odyssey rumbled on. Having scratched from Roland Garros in the second round after aggravating an old hip injury, Ashleigh Barty could be forgiven for wanting to ease herself into Wimbledon as gently as possible. In that respect at least, her 6-4, 6-3 second-round defeat of Anna Blinkova was mission accomplished for the number one seed, who remains the favourite to claim a first singles title here on Saturday week.

Scratch the surface, though, and this was an unconvincing success for Barty, who handed freebies to her Russian opponent almost from the first point to the last and ended the match with no fewer than 33 unforced errors against her name.

Blinkova, ranked 89 in the world, did not have the quality to make Barty pay, but stronger opponents await her in the second week and they are unlikely to be as generous.

Ashleigh Barty celebrates winning against Russia’s Anna Blinkova. (Photo: Getty Images
Ashleigh Barty celebrates winning against Russia’s Anna Blinkova. (Photo: Getty Images

Barty’s serve was fragile from the start and her only convincing service game in the first set came as she closed it out to love. Her first-serve in the opener was at 56 per cent, while errors included three double-faults in her first service game and two more, including one at game point, in her fourth. Both games were lost, and had Blinkova’s serve not proved every bit as brittle, the outcome could have been very different.

Blinkova was broken again to open the second set and from there, the result was never in much doubt. But there was no sign either that Barty would run away with it, and she handed back the break in the fourth game after going 30-0 up. Two more double faults – one at game point, the next at break point – were added to a total of nine in all.

Barty will face Katerina Siniakova, the world number 64, for a place in the fourth round, and lost another seed from her half of the draw when Elina Svitolina, the number 3 seed and a semi-finalist at Wimbledon two years ago, went out in straight sets to Magda Linette of Poland. Coco Gauff, however, made short work of Elena Vesnina, winning 6-4, 6-3 in 71 minutes on Centre Court, and the 17-year-old remains on course for a possible semi-final against Barty next week. – Guardian and other agencies

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