Federer imperious in Wimbledon opener

Roger Federer opened his campaign for an unprecedented eighth Wimbledon title on Monday at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 victory over Romania’s Victor Hanescu.

“I thought overall I played a good match, no hiccups on the serve,” said Federer. “I returned good, sometimes aggressive, sometimes with the chip, the way I usually do it on the grass. Then I was moving pretty well even though I thought it was quite slippery, because it is opening Monday. I think I handled that well. There was just a bit of a breeze and it was cold. I'm happy to get out of there early and quickly. So it was a perfect day.”

He landed 70 per cent of his first serves on target, and 90 per cent of them were winners. He struck 32 winners, against a mere six unforced errors and there were seven aces and no double-faults – statistics of the steam roller. The top-quality winning shots overwhelmed Hanescu like an avalanche, gathering pace and power until the debacle of the third set which lasted just 18 minutes.

Federer reeled off the love games to take the first set in 24 minutes and the second set lasted just three minutes longer. Hanescu briefly delayed things by holding serve with a net cord winner, but a sixth ace from the defending champion closed out that set, too.

Hanescu stuck manfully to his task, even occasionally contriving an eye-catching winner, none better than a glorious lob in the fourth game of the final set. On the principle of anything you can do I can do better, in the next game Federer produced a lob even better – as it needed to  be to clear the reach of such tall opposition.

Just what Hanescu was up against was shown by one of his own statistics. His serving was excellent, with 85 per cent of his first deliveries on target, but he managed to eke out only 14 winners from such a good percentage.

This Swiss is looking to make history on the 10th anniversary of his first Wimbledon win in 2003 (d. Philippoussis), having won a record-equalling seventh crown last year with victory over Andy Murray. He took the first step in what is projected to be a very testing draw, with the possibility of Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, Murray in the semi-finals and top seed Novak Djokovic in the final.

He improved to a 67-7 record at the All England Club and to a perfect 6-0 Head 2 Head mark against the No. 47-ranked Hanescu as he swept through his opener in just 69 minutes.

Federer goes on to face Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, who was the day’s first winner with a 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 victory over Rogerio Dutra Silva. Federer won his one previous meeting with the No. 116-ranked Stakhovsky, two years ago in the Dubai quarter-finals.

Date: 24th June 2013, Source: ATP and Wimbledon


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