Federer starts strong and past Kukushkin

Six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer opened his quest for a record-tying seventh crown with a 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-2 win against Mikhail Kukushkin Tuesday at the All England Club.

"It feels like if things go well for me, I can go extremely far here; whereas at Roland Garros. I feel it's a bit more on other opponents' racquets," said Federer. "But here I feel it's a bit more on mine. That's why I'll always play with some pressure here at Wimbledon just because of the occasion and what it means to me really. I was nervous going out in today's match really."

After a close first set, the Swiss pulled away from his unseeded opponent, breaking Kukushkin three times in seven opportunities to take the match in one hour and 42 minutes. The World No. 3 was dominant on serve, winning 89 per cent of his first serve points, hitting 11 aces in the process.

"I thought I played a good match," said Federer. "Tough conditions. It was really windy out there. I think he played a good match and made it competitive, which I thought was fun. The first rounds here at Wimbledon on Centre Court are never easy. They're somewhat nerve-wracking because you don't get a chance to practise on the Centre Courts here. So I'm happy I was able to come through in three sets this time around."

Seeded outside the top two for the first time since 2003, when he won his first Wimbledon trophy as the No. 4 seed, Federer is looking to equal Pete Sampras’ Open Era record of seven Wimbledon titles; William Renshaw also claimed seven crowns from 1881-1889. Tuesday’s win sees the 16-time major champion improve his record at the event to 56-6.

The Swiss next faces 55th-ranked Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who came back to defeat qualifier Conor Niland 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-4. Niland, the first Irishman to play in the Wimbledon main draw since 1984, had built a double-break lead in the fifth set before Mannarino roared back to take the final five games.

Date: 21.06.2011, Source: ATP


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