Federer, Davydenko dallies with early exit
Roger Federer averted one of the biggest shocks in Wimbledon history when the defending men's champion recovered from two sets down to beat Colombia's Alejandro Falla in the first round on Monday.
The Swiss top seed seemed woefully out of form as his unfancied
opponent, the world number 60, stunned the crowd by taking the
first two sets in the first match on Centre Court this year.
But the six-time Wimbledon champion recovered to win 5-7, 4-6,
6-4, 7-6 (7/1), 6-0.
Federer, who is chasing a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon
men's title, has only lost once at the All England Club since 2002,
when he lost the 2008 final to Rafael Nadal.
But he avoided becoming only the third ever defending men's
Wimbledon champion to lose in the first round by recovering his
Federer had won all four of his previous encounters with Falla
in straight sets, including both of their last two tournaments -
two weeks ago on the grass at Halle, and in the French Open.
They also met here on Centre Court in the second round in 2004,
during Falla's debut at the All England Club, as the Swiss
defending champion went on to claim his second Wimbledon title.
But despite Federer's previous dominance, the Colombian visibly
grew in confidence in the first set, which went with serve until
Falla then created two break points on Federer's serve and
converted the second with a well-timed volley to stun the Centre
The Swiss then went 0-30 up on his opponent's serve but Falla
dug in and won the set when Federer hit a cross-court forehand out.
In the second set, Falla managed to break again for a 4-3 lead.
At 5-4, Federer had game point, but he hit the net with a return to
take it to deuce.
After a string of deuces, in which the advantage swung both
ways, Falla eventually triumphed with a drop shot over the net to
shock the crowd further by taking a two-set lead.
In a key game at 4-4 in the third set, the Colombian had three
break points, but Federer pulled it back to deuce.
Falla took the advantage but the champion levelled, then held
the advantage after a duel at the net, before serving an ace for a
Federer had a break for set point when Falla hit a shot long,
but the Colombian took it to deuce with a superb shot down the
Federer had the advantage when Falla hit the net, and won the
set with a cross-court forehand winner which landed just inside the
line to start his comeback.
Falla broke on the deuce in the first game of the fourth set to
give himself an excellent chance of finishing off his opponent.
Federer had a break point at 4-3 down but wasted it, Falla
taking the game when Federer sent another mistimed shot looping
out. The Swiss held serve to leave the Colombian serving for the
match at 5-4 up.
Federer took two break points and levelled at 5-5 as Falla fired
long, and the Swiss made it 6-5 with an excellent slice over the
net - the kind of skilful execution that had hitherto been so badly
lacking from his game.
In the tie break, Federer broke early and never looked back,
taking it 7/1.
Federer broke in the first and third games of the fifth set, and
finally began to dominate his opponent, eventually showing the form
that has made him an all-time Wimbledon great as he at last exerted
his superior skill.
Russian seventh seed Nikolay Davydenko fought back to beat South
Africa's Kevin Anderson 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 9-7 in the
Davydenko has never played with much conviction on the lush
lawns of south-west London and he seemed set for another early exit
as Anderson surged into a two-set lead on Court One.
But the 29-year-old's pedigree is undeniable, as he proved by
winning the ATP World Tour finals on his last visit to London in
December, and he eventually managed to subdue the 6ft 8in
big-server from Johannesburg.
Davydenko, a former French and US Open semifinalist, had failed
to make it past the first round on five of his previous eight
visits to Wimbledon, but he could surpass his best effort, reaching
the fourth round in 2007, if he continues to play with such
Anderson took the first set impressively and then swept
Davydenko aside in the second set tie-break.
With Davydenko looking completely out of sorts, it was no
surprise to see Anderson break in the third set and take a 4-2
But Anderson was unable to serve out the match and this time
Davydenko took control of the tie-break to pull a set back.
It proved the turning point. Davydenko was starting to get into
his rhythm and took the fourth set as well after breaking at 6-5.
The final set was a gruelling affair but it was Davydenko who
held his nerve to clinch a dramatic win.
Three-time Wimbledon runner-up Andy Roddick cruised into the
second round at the All England Club with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over
fellow American Rajeev Ram.
Roddick, the fifth seed, was back in action at Wimbledon for the
first time since his 16-14 last set defeat to Roger Federer in last
That was Roddick's third failure to get the better of Federer in
the Wimbledon final after previous defeats in 2004 and 2005.
A disappointing recent run of results, including an early exit
from the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event at Queen's Club -
traditionally the venue for some of Roddick's best tennis, had led
some to question his ability to mount another challenge for the
title this year.
But the former US Open champion remains convinced he has the
attributes needed to win Wimbledon and he displayed all his
grass-courts skills in a brutal destruction of Ram, the world
The 27-year-old's gracious and emotional speech in the immediate
aftermath of that loss against Federer 12 months ago only served to
cement Roddick in the affections of the Wimbledon public.
And he gave the Court One crowd exactly what they wanted as he
bludgeoned Ram into submission with his powerful serves and a
series of well-constructed winners from the back of the court.
If the first set was comfortable enough for Roddick, the second
was a complete walkover as Ram found it impossible to make any
impact on his opponent's serve.
When Roddick broke for a 3-2 lead in the third set, the last
trace of Ram's resolve crumbled and the American was soon closing
out the win.
CILIC BROUGHT DOWN
Croatian 11th seed Marin Cilic was the first big casualty in the men's draw after a straight sets loss in the first round to German Florian Mayer.
Cilic, 21, reached the Australian Open semis in January and claimed some notable victims during the claycourt season but he won just one match at Queen's and succumbed to a disappointing 6-2 6-4 7-6 defeat against the world number 59.
Mayer, who reached the quarterfinals on debut in 2004 here before injury halted his rise up the rankings, prevailed in a minute over two hours.
The German will play Queen's runner-up Mardy Fish of the US for a place in the third round.
TAIWAN'S LU CRUISES
Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun made it safely through to the second round with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 win over Horacio Zeballos of Argentina.
Lu's win, his first opening round victory here since 2005, added
to the victory of compatriot Chan Yung-Jan, who reached the second
round of the women's singles for the first time in her career after
a 6-0, 6-2 win over Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder.
Lu, 26, served 18 aces as he put away the Argentinian, in their
first ever meeting, in exactly two hours to earn a second round tie
against Poland's Michal Przysiezny.
Zeballos and Lu were tied at 5-5 in the first set when the
Argentine handed his opponent a crucial advantage by
double-faulting at break point.
World number 82 Lu held his serve comfortably throughout against
a man ranked 38 places above him and Zeballos did not earn a single
break point throughout the three sets.
Lu broke Zeballos in the opening game of the second set and in
the seventh and ninth games of the third set to reach the second
round of a Grand Slam tournament for only the sixth time in his
He has made the third round just once - at the Australian Open
DJOKOVIC OVERCOMES ROCHUS
Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic recovered from an early onslaught by Olivier Rochus and a mid-match closing of the Centre Court roof to book his place in the Wimbledon second round on Monday.
Djokovic, who trailed 3-1 in career meetings against the feisty 5-ft-5 Belgian, looked set for an early exit after Rochus's crisp groundstrokes and shrewd shot placement gave him a two sets to one lead.
But Djokovic seemed reinvigorated once fading light prompted the closure of the roof after the third set and clinched the fourth before going on to seal a 4-6 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-2 triumph.
The Serb will play American Taylor Dent in the second round.