Federer to face Willis, Djokovic also cruises through Wimbledon opener

Roger Federer kicked off his bid for an eighth Wimbledon title by surviving a commendable effort from Guido Pella 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 6-3 during Wimbledon first-round action on Monday. Federer struck 12 aces without double-faulting and did not face a single break point while advancing in two hours and five minutes.

“I was very happy with the way I played,” the Swiss assured. “If I would have used my chances earlier in the first and second set, maybe things would have been a bit easier. But I think Pella did a good job,” Federer said. “It’s an intense match. It’s the first round. It’s new grass. It’s always going to be a tough match. I’m happy I made it in three straight sets.”

After needing tiebreakers in each of the first two, Federer finally broke the Argentine at 4-3 in the third by capitalizing on his ninth break-point chance of the afternoon. An ensuing love hold finished off the proceedings.

Federer is now in line for an improbable showdown against British upstart Marcus Willis. Ranked 772nd, Willis had to go through pre-qualifying just to get a wild card into the qualifying draw. Against all odds, the 25-year-old successfully punched a ticket to the main draw and then shocked Ricardas Berankis in straight sets.

Said Federer, “I’m super pleased to be here and happy in a different way [for] Marcus. It’s a huge moment for him. For me, I’m still on my way back, so it’s big as well. His story is unbelievable. It just shows the depth of men’s tennis. Rankings only tell so much of a story.”

They are joined in the last 64 by two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic, who took care of another British opponent–James Ward–via a 6-0, 7-6(3), 6-4 scoreline in two hours and four minutes. Djokovic has now won 29 consecutive matches at majors, tied for the third longest streak in the Open Era.

He reeled off the first nine games of the match before Ward got on the scoreboard at long last for 1-3 in the second and soon mounted a charge to force a tiebreaker.
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“I honestly didn’t expect myself to start that well,” the world No. 1 commented. “Nine games in a row; 6‑0, 3‑0. I thought it was just a matter of time when James would win his first game. I knew that the reaction of the crowd, and his own reaction, will be the way it was.

“As a home player, he enjoyed a lot of support today, especially when he won his first game. That’s when the energy kind of shifted on his side. He felt huge relief obviously winning the first game. On the other hand, I maybe dropped the concentration a little bit. The second set was quite close. Credit to him for serving well.

“The first part of the match was almost flawless, so I’m very pleased with the way I started Wimbledon.”

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