American Sam Querrey celebrates his win over Austria’s Dominic Thiem on Tuesday. REUTERS
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 Thursday’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”. Federer admitted it had taken time to get going against a far from over-awed opponent, who was hampered later on with a calf injury.
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 semifinalist in 2017, prevailed 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/1), 6-3, 6-0.
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.
Seven-time champion Serena Williams joined them in the second round, but put in a rather laborious performance before beating Italian qualifier Giulia Gatto-Monticone 6-2, 7-5.
Serena injury may have healed but for the former glamour girl of the circuit Maria Sharapova it was quite the opposite.
The 2004 champion had to retire from her match with Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier due to an arm injury and at 32 the chances of ever returning to being a genuine Grand Slam contender must be slim.
Sharapova was trailing 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 5-0 when she called it quits.