LONDON: Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer overcame a first set scare to reach the second round on Tuesday beating South African debutant Lloyd Harris 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
Federer’s great rival Rafael Nadal also went through in easier fashion beating Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 to set up a fascinating tussle with fiery Australian Nick Kyrgios.
Kyrgios — who stunned Nadal as a 144-ranked wildcard on his tournament debut in 2014 — put in a typically raucous and charismatic display to claim a 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 7-6 (12/10), 0-6, 6-1 win over countryman Jordan Thompson.
“Not sure that me and Rafa could go down to the Dog & Fox and have a beer together,” said a typically frank Kyrgios on their relationship.
However, Nadal refused to add fuel to the fire on Tuesday ahead of today’s clash. “I am too old to get into all this stuff,” the 33-year-old said when asked for his view on facing a man who he accused earlier this year of “lacking respect”.
“I believed in what I said but I am not going to get into a fight with anyone.”
Federer admitted it had taken time to get going against a far form over-awed opponent, who was hampered later on with a calf injury.
“I struggled early on, my legs were frozen and the ball was not going where I wanted it to,” said Federer.
“So it took a good effort from me. Lloyd played a good match.”
However, while he progressed, another of the top 10 seeds fell by the wayside — two-time French Open champion Dominic Thiem’s lack of ease on grass being exposed by veteran American serve and volleyer Sam Querrey.
Querrey, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2017, prevailed 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/1), 6-3, 6-0.
“There’s still things which are not easy,” said Thiem.
Women’s world number one Ashleigh Barty and defending champion Angelique Kerber avoided the fate of second seed Naomi Osaka and came through their first round clashes safely.
Barty beat China’s Zheng Saisai 6-4, 6-2 while Kerber, the fourth seed, beat fellow German Tatjana Maria 6-4, 6-3.
Barty, who is bidding to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season, drew on the film The Lion King to describe how she felt leading into the match.
“Kind of came into it thinking kind of like hakuna matata (Swahili for no trouble and a title of a song in the film), just relax and go for it,” said the 23-year-old.
Seven-time champion Serena Williams joined them in the second round, but put in a rather labourious performance before beating Italian qualifier Giulia Gatto-Monticone 6-2, 7-5.
However, the 37-year-old professed herself to be content with her performance as she has bene struggling with a knee injury.
“It is the best I have felt since February,” she said. Williams injury may have healed but for the former glamour girl of the circuit Maria Sharapova it was quite the opposite. – AFP