Ireland's Niland crumbles with Federer in sight

Well, there are limits. They have already shown the English how to play cricket this year, after all. Yesterday, as though in atonement, an Irishman came to Wimbledon and produced a performance straight out of the English manual of plucky failure.

The pity of it was that Conor Niland – a qualifier with superior claims to many of the British favoured with a wild card – had seemed to show all the fortitude and ambition that elude so many home players when they come here. In a marathon slugfest with Adrian Mannarino, the first Irishman to play here in 31 years stood on the brink of a second-round tie with none other than Roger Federer. Having broken the Frenchman's serve for a second time in the fifth set, his destiny was in his own hands at 4-1. But he promptly contrived to lose five consecutive games. From looking forward to the biggest match of his career, he was suddenly looking back at the biggest match of his career – and a scoreline of 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.

Making his Grand Slam debut at 29, however, he had certainly done himself proud over the past four hours. Certainly there will be no better atmosphere here this week than was generated by his compatriots squeezed around Court 17. Half of Co Limerick appeared to be there, and every ebb and flow in his fortunes was raucously amplified. His opponent, a rather soulful Frenchman, obligingly played the villain, arguing with the umpire and remorselessly spraying groundstrokes to the corners. How they roared, then, whenever their man rose to a crisis – never more so, perhaps, when he gave himself two set points in the third by flinging himself full length to stun one dead over the net. But Mannarino salvaged the game, won the tie-break, and showed terrific spirit to withstand the unsparingly partisan uproar that greeted his every error. Even his finest flourishes barely drew even the most perfunctory applause.

Federer, meanwhile, will note that Mannarino mustered just four aces over the afternoon. Overall there has so far been precious little sign of any man rocking the boat, and Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick and Juan Martin del Potro all briskly dismissed their first opponents in straight sets.

Djokovic continues in the form of his life, making ruthlessly short work of Jérémy Chardy, requiring just 80 minutes to win 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. "It's great to be back on Centre Court, the most famous in the world," the Serbian said. "It's my first grass-court match of the season and I'm extremely happy with how I played. Roger and Rafa have been so successful on grass, and they deserve to be favourites here, but I'm one of the players waiting behind for his chance."

Roddick set the tone by smashing four consecutive aces in the very first game before seeing off Andreas Beck, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3. Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, was meanwhile able to break Flavio Cipolla's serve three times in a slick 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 success. The No 15 seed, Gilles Simon, had a tougher passage against his French compatriot, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine