LONDON: Defending champion Novak Djokovic moved confidently into the second round of Wimbledon with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over German Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday.
With no competitive matches in the build-up to the championships after his French Open final loss, Djokovic, on paper at least, had a dangerous opponent in the 33rd-ranked Kohlschreiber.
But the 28-year-old Serbian was clinical on the big points and never looked like becoming the first defending champion to fall in the first round since 2003.
He broke in the 10th game of the opener and squeezed the throttle at the same stage of the second, securing a two-set lead with a backhand winner and a roar of delight.
Top seed Djokovic also cruised through the third set. “This is the cradle of our sport, it doesn’t get any bigger than Wimbledon Centre Court and it’s an honour to be the defending champion,” he told the BBC. “I had a tough opponent, he can be very tricky especially on the grass but I stayed composed.”
Meanwhile, Nick Kyrgios reminded Wimbledon fans of the destructive weapons that shook up the tournament last year by powering into the second round with a straight-sets demolition of Diego Schwartzman.
A year after the towering Australian stunned then world number one Rafa Nadal to become the first man to reach the last-eight on his Wimbledon debut since 2004, he cranked up the firecracker forehand to crush Argentine Schwartzman 6-0, 6-2, 7-6(6).
Serena overcomes early wobble
A pumped-up Serena Williams kicked off her campaign for a sixth Wimbledon singles title with a straight sets victory on Monday.
The world number one, who is also chasing a rare calendar Grand Slam having already won the 2015 Australian and French Opens, began her bid for the third of the four majors with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Russian qualifier Margarita Gasparyan.
Serena has five Wimbledon titles to her name but her last two appearances at the All England Club ended in misery as she crashed out in the fourth and third rounds.
She now faces Hungary’s Timea Babos, the world number 93, in the second round on Wednesday.
“It feels good so far. Just one match but it feels good to be back here at Wimbledon. I’ve done so well here in the past so I’ll always have many good memories here,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2015.
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