Federer, Nadal begin smoothly
Defending women’s champion Petra Kvitova and former men’s winners Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal won their first-round matches at Wimbledon in straight sets and in rapid-fire fashion on Tuesday.
But, late in the day, there were two major casualties in the women’s field. First, Eugenie Bouchard, who was runner-up last year, fell in the opening round, losing 7-6(3), 6-4 to Ying-Ying Duan, a 117th-ranked Chinese qualifier playing her first Wimbledon.
A few minutes after Bouchard’s defeat, No.3 Simona Halep became the highest-seeded player eliminated so far, tumbling 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 to 106th-ranked Jana Cepelova of Slovakia.
Bouchard said she was still hampered by the abdominal injury that forced her to retire from last week’s grass-court tournament in Eastbourne.
“I felt very unprepared for this match,” Bouchard said. “I hadn’t practiced that much. My timing was off… It’s not an excuse because I chose to play.”
In keeping with Wimbledon tradition, Kvitova had the honour of playing the first match on Centre Court on the second day as the reigning women’s champion, and the second-seeded Czech wasted no time in reasserting her dominance on her favourite court, overpowering Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-0 in just 35 minutes.
Kvitova won 28 of 29 points on serve, with the only blemish coming when she double-faulted on the first point of the final game, hitting a 150 kph second serve just wide. She won the next four points, finishing appropriately with a service winner.
While Kvitova was happy to sail through so quickly, she felt bad for her parents, who were guests in the Royal Box and got to see their daughter play for barely more than half an hour.
“I have to say sorry to them,” she said, smiling. “I think they are happy anyway.”
Federer followed Kvitova on Centre Court and also made quick work of his opponent. The second-seeded Swiss needed just 68 minutes to dispatch 88th-ranked Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.
“I was happy I played aggressive,” he said. “I must say I’m very happy, always, to win like that.”
Playing in his 63rd consecutive Major, Federer said: “Somehow, the streak is still alive and I’m also very proud of the fact that I never retired from a match once it started,” he said.
“Those two stats I care about, and hope I can keep them up for the remainder of my career.”
Nadal coasted to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Thomaz Bellucci on Court 1.
Nadal was broken twice and was credited with fewer winners (21) than unforced errors (23) but still was never seriously troubled.
“In general, it was a very positive victory,” the Spaniard said. “Straight sets. Not bad feelings.” — AP