Federer clears first hurdle
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:35
But the former world number one, who had not played competitively since winning the French Open, still managed to dispatch a tricky first round opponent in Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu 7-5 6-3 6-2 in one hour and 44 minutes.
And afterwards Federer, who kicked off the tournament on Centre Court in the absence of the injured Rafa Nadal, admitted: “I feel very privileged that they gave me the chance to do it again. There’s less pressure going into Wimbledon not being defending champion.”
He added: “I played really well and my opponent was good. I could see why he had beaten so many good opponents.”
The 14-time grand slam champion was made to work hard especially in the first set when he failed to convert four break points in the fourth game and then lost his own serve in the next.
He needed the aid of a freakish net cord to claw back the break before being handed the gift of a drop shot dumped into the net by Lu which settled the set.
The trademark confidence was back in the Federer step as he began the second set in superb style, timing the ball better and breaking Lu’s serve in the second game.
The serve, too, was heavy but it was the winning backhand pass down the line on the run in the fourth game which announced Federer has arrived at this tournament in a mood of freedom after equalling Pete Sampras’ record of 14 grand slams.
Lu had two break points in the seventh game but could not convert them and Federer eventually took the set in fine style with a thunderous ace.
There was one scary moment in the fourth game when Federer took a tumble and seemed to turn his right ankle. Happily, he was uninjured and rose to finish off the set in routine style to signal his determination to make yet more history in SW19.