Wimbledon: New-look Federer off to a fluent start

Serena stretched; Vekic dumps Stephens; Wawrinka outmanoeuvres Dimitrov

July 02, 2018 06:17 pm | Updated July 03, 2018 07:44 am IST - London

Impressive start: Donna Vekic thanks the crowd after scalping US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Impressive start: Donna Vekic thanks the crowd after scalping US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Eight-time champion Roger Federer and seven-time winner Serena Williams shrugged off the heat to breeze into the Wimbledon second round on Monday.

Federer, the defending champion and seeking a 21st Major, marked the start of his 20th successive Wimbledon with a new look and a comfortable 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 win over Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.

Serena, like Federer, 36-years-old but chasing a 24th Slam title, enjoyed a hard-fought 7-5, 6-3 victory over Holland’s Arantxa Rus.

Top seed Federer marched out on Centre Court dressed for the first time in gear designed by Japanese giant Uniqlo in a deal reported to be worth $300 million after a two-decade association with Nike.

But everything else was familiar for the Swiss star who cruised past World No. 57 Lajovic in just 79 minutes.

Yuki ousted

Yuki Bhambri failed to capitalise on a bright start and crashed out, yet again falling prey to Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

Third seed and 2017 runner-up Marin Cilic enjoyed a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.

Three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka stunned Bulgarian sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov 1-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(5), 6-4 in the first round.

Reversing the trend

The Swiss had lost his last four matches against Dimitrov, a semifinalist in 2014.

Serena, seeded 25 this year despite a ranking of 181, had too much power for Rus, the World No. 107 who made the third round in 2012 but failed to get out of qualifying on her last three visits.

US Open champion and fourth seed Sloane Stephens became the first big casualty when she lost 6-1, 6-3 to World No. 55 Donna Vekic.

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