Federer through after Dolgopolov retires
Originally published on 04/07/17 00:00
The Swiss maestro was firmly in control and leading 6-3 3-0 when his Ukrainian opponent, who has been struggling for fitness this year, quit with an ankle problem.
Despite the abrupt ending, the seven-time champion will be encouraged by his display and he looks primed and ready to make a charge for the title on his favourite surface once again.
“I was hoping that Alexandr would be feeling better today, but he has had a rough time this year and he has had to pull out a lot matches,” said the 35-year-old after his landmark victory. “You always wish that a player can play his Wimbledon the way he wants to play it, but he wasn’t able to do that today.
“I’m pleased to be back and getting another win here is great news. I’m feeling very healthy myself, so I’m very happy.”
Earlier in the day, Novak Djokovic also spent less time on Centre Court than anticipated as his first round opponent, Martin Klizan, retired in the early stages of the second set.
The No.2 seed was leading 6-3 2-0 when his rival decided he was no longer fit to continue.
“You never like to win a match this way,” admitted the three-time champion after the match. “I heard that Klizan had issues even before walking on to court, so I just tried to focus on what I had to do and execute my gameplan.
“I played well on my service games, not so great on return games but when it mattered I got a break. You could see that he (Klizan) wasn’t moving once the ball was in play. Once the ball was away from him he would let it go, so it’s just unfortunate.”
Juan Martin Del Potro, a possible 3rd round opponent for Djokovic, defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3 3-6 7-6(2) 6-4 to make it through to the second round.
It was far from a vintage display from the powerful Argentinian but he was thrilled to get through and he will play the forgotten man, Ernests Gulbis, next. “I know I could face Novak but first I have to win my second round match," remarked the former US Open winner.
"Everybody knows how good Ernests is on this surface. If he has a good day, he can beat all the guys on tour. I have to be focused on my job and deal with my serve and forehand. If he gives me a little chance to break serve, I will try to take it."
Kyle Edmund scored his first ever win at Wimbledon at the fifth attempt after defeating his compatriot Alexander Ward 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-1
The Yorkshireman looked bereft of confidence in the early stages against his opponent ranked No.869 however a break of serve achieved in the middle of the second set gave the 22-year-old a route back into the match.
It was an outstanding backhand passing-shot that earned Edmund a 4-2 lead and he showed a rare glimpse of emotion as he roared in delight. The Brit, who was on a three match losing streak, finally had momentum on his side and he conceded just four more games as his extra quality came to the fore.
“It’s nice to get my first win at Wimbledon”, said Edmund after his triumph. “The first set was tricky and from the first point he [Ward] came out and attacked me. After I got broken it was very even in the first set but he had the upper hand with the break so I just had to find ways to slowly turn the momentum.
“Once I had momentum it all became a little bit easier for me and I was reading the game well, but really well done to Alex on qualifying. He had a long injury lay-off so it’s good to see nice guys like him do well.”
Elsewhere on the grounds, Bernard Tomic’s woes continued as he lost in straight sets to Mischa Zverev. There was also joy for another Zverev as Alexander defeated Evgeny Donskoy 7-4 7-6(3) 6-3 and his close friend, Dominic Thiem, overcame Vasek Pospisil 6-4 6-4 6-3
David Ferrer showed he is not quite ready for retirement as he defeated Richard Gasquet – who was struggling with a blister on his foot – 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-2 to record just his ninth success of a disappointing season and Mikhail Youzhny prevailed against Nicolas Mahut.
There was a victory for Marcos Baghdatis over James Ward while Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon, Yâichi Sugita and Albert Ramos-Vinolas all recorded convincing wins. They will be joined in the second round by Grigor Dimitrov, Jack Sock, John Isner and Tomas Berdych.